Cool. After all, he is clearly the best top-tier Pro-rights candidate. This is a major score for his campaign, since FL has always been a gun-friendly state. This move will put his message in front of tens of thousands of people who are already skeptical of Giuliani, et. al.
The Conservatives Against Fred Thompson volunteers have compiled a list of proposals supported by Fred Dalton Thompson in the senate that include Gun Bans, confiscations and limitations to the free speech of Gun Rights Advocates. Dates and bill numbers are provided so this information can be easily verified. Summary:
1. Anti-gun terror bill (S. 735 )
On June 7, 1995, the Senate passed an anti-gun terror bill (S. 735) by a vote of 91-8. This version of the terror bill included: a BATF pay increase of $100 million; a provision authorizing “roving wiretaps” allowing government officials to wiretap one’s home if a person under investigation visits the home — even if one had no knowledge the person was a suspect; a weakening of the Posse Commitatus law to give the military more authority to get involved in law enforcement in certain circumstances; a grant of power to the FBI to conduct “fishing expeditions” and secure one’s financial and travel records in certain circumstances without any evidence one has committed a crime; and finally, the “Randy Weaver entrapment provision” which extends the statute of limitations for violations under the National Firearms Act of 1934 from three to five years. Thompson voted in favor of the bill.
2. Anti-gun terror bill — final passage
On April 17, 1996, the Senate passed the conference version of the anti-terrorism bill by a vote of 91-8. The final version of the bill (S. 735) contained several problems, including ones that will: order an “anti-hunter” rifle and ammo study; authorize a $40 million pay increase for the BATF (through the Treasury Department); potentially punish gun dealers (and individuals) for selling ammunition to someone they should have known would commit a violent crime; federalize many state crimes, thus tremendously increasing the scope and jurisdiction of the BATF; restrict the right of habeas corpus in such a way as to severely damage the ability of the courts to rescue honest gun owners who are unjustly incarcerated; allow the government to use “secret evidence” against certain individuals; remove protections against wiretapping wireless data; and require banks to freeze the assets of domestic groups in certain situations. Thompson once again voted in favor of the bill.
3. Taggants in gunpowder
On September 12, 1996, the Senate voted (57-42) to keep an anti-gun amendment off of the Treasury-Postal appropriations bill (H.R. 3756). The Kerry amendment — which Thompson voted for– would have made funds available for a study of tagging explosive materials, including black and smokeless powders (thus setting the stage for registering ammunition). The amendment also sought to further demonize firearms by selectively examining the misuse of firearms by criminals. The study would not examine the number of times firearms are used to save the lives of decent citizens.
4. Lautenberg Domestic Confiscation gun ban
On September 12, 1996, the Senate passed the Lautenberg gun ban as an amendment to the Treasury-Postal appropriations bill (H.R. 3756). The Lautenberg Domestic Confiscation Gun Ban disarms gun owners for small (misdemeanor) offenses in the home — “offenses” as slight as spanking a child or grabbing a spouse. This lifetime ban, in certain cases, can even be imposed without a trial by jury. It is also retroactive, so it does not matter if the offense occurred 20 years ago. Thompson voted in favor of the amendment.
5. Free Speech restrictions
On October 7, 1997, the Senate defeated an “Incumbent Protection Bill” (S. 25) which would have resulted in the government regulation of GOA’s newsletters and other communications with its members, while expanding the relative political power of the liberal media and other anti-gun forces. Senators failed in their effort, 53 to 47, to shut down a filibuster of the bill that was ostensibly aimed at reforming campaign finance laws.
6. Smith “Anti-Brady” Amendment
On July 21, 1998, pro-gun Senator Bob Smith (R-NH) introduced an “Anti-Brady” amendment that passed by a vote of 69-31. The Smith amendment would prohibit the FBI from using Brady background checks to tax or register gun owners. Further, the amendment requires the “immediate destruction of all [gun buyer] information, in any form whatsoever.” Finally, if the FBI disregards this latter provision, the Smith language will allow private citizens to sue the agency and collect monetary damages, including attorney’s fees. Thompson, in keeping with his tendency to usually vote for expanded federal police power, voted against this limitation of FBI registration of gun owners.
7. Anti-gun Clinton judge appointment
On February 11, 1998, the Senate voted 67-28 to confirm Margaret Morrow to the Federal bench. GOA vigorously opposed this Clinton-appointed judge, as she has not only taken strident anti-gun positions, she has showed herself to be a gun control activist.
8. Anti-gun Surgeon General
Having nominated anti-gun David Satcher for Surgeon General, President Bill Clinton was forced to wait several months as debate raged over his controversial pick. But on February 10, 1998, the President finally realized victory. By a vote of 75-23, anti-gun Republicans teamed up with the Democrats to kill the filibuster over the Satcher nomination. Mr. Satcher was later confirmed by a vote of 63-35. Since the key vote was to end the filibuster, that is the one that was rated by GOA.
9. Ending the filibuster of a major anti-gun crime bill
On July 28, 1999, the Senate ended a filibuster led by Senator Bob Smith (I-NH) — a filibuster intended to keep anti-gun crime legislation from progressing any further. After the 77-22 vote, the Senate moved to send the language of the anti-gun Senate crime bill (S. 254) to a House-Senate conference committee. Thompson voted to break the pro-gun filibuster.
10. Young adult gun ban
The young adult gun ban could severely punish parents who allow their kids to even touch a so-called semi-automatic “assault weapon.” While the amendment allows for certain exemptions, there are some imponderable questions which NO senator could answer, but which a parent would have to answer in order to avoid incarceration. For example: What is a “semiautomatic assault weapon”? The definition, plus exemptions, takes up six pages of fine print in the U.S. Code. Second, a child can handle a banned semi-auto if he is in the “immediate and supervisory presence” of a parent or if he possess a written permission slip from the parent. But what happens when, during a target practice session, the parent walks to the car to retrieve his lunch and the juvenile is no longer in the parents “immediate” presence and does not have a permission slip? A parent can receive jail time for this infraction. The provision passed the Senate on May 13, 1999, with Thompson voting in the majority.
11. Adopting the “Gun Control Lite” strategy
On May 13, 1999, a majority of Senators — including Thompson — defeated a motion to table (or kill) an anti-gun amendment introduced by Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Larry Craig (R-WY). This amendment was offered as an alternative to gun control proposals being pushed by Sen. Frank Lautenberg.
12. McCain’s Incumbent Protection (2000 version)
By 59 to 41, the Senate passed S. 27, to amend the Federal Election Campaign Act to include Incumbent Protection provisions. The bill severely curtails the ability of outside groups such as GOA to communicate the actions of incumbent politicians to members and supporters prior to an election.
13. Incumbent Protection (2002 failed filibuster)
This was the key vote in the Senate regarding the odious Incumbent Protection bill in 2002 (H.R. 2356). The legislation finally became law that year. As he had on previous occasions, Thompson voted in favor of the bill.
I've read that too Nick... I posted the link a while back. Most of that is bogus... i.e. it had no effects what-so-ever on gun ownership. Granted, most of the laws are crap, but everyone knows that in politics you have to give some to get what you want. Not everyone can be as damn stubborn about that as Ron Paul. Most of the time, these laws have riders or non-related crap that screws it up for anyone who wants to pass a good law, or not pass a bad law. That's just the name of the game.
Don't believe everything you read... at least not without a grain of salt. All political candidates will be attacked for the provisions they claim to support or not support. With most candidates, they make their platforms so nebulous SOLELY to make themselves harder to attack. At least Fred is straight-forward.
The reason I like Fred on Second Amendment issues is because he does not waffle around with half-truths and political-speak. He says its a right. Period. In addition, he's the only candidate with a shred of a chance at getting elected. Sure, Ron Paul would do everything in his power to abolish gun laws, but that is precisely why he won't get elected. On the other hand, Fred is making an issue out of gun control, which scares the CRAP out of the democrats. They know it is a losing issue for them, but they've promised too many things to too many people. Gun control is one promise that Democrats have made, so if they want to stand a chance of getting elected, they have to keep the media quiet about their urge to ban my personal property and my right to self defense.
From Fred08.com: "I am committed to: Strictly enforcing existing laws and severely punishing violent criminals. Protecting the rights individual Americans enjoy under the Second Amendment. " These are two very contradictory things. Protecting Second Amendment rights and enforcing laws which should not exist in the first place are completely incompatible. This is his way of getting to call both heads and tails on a coin toss. Heads: "I will strictly enforce existing..." = "Those of you who like regulation, I will make sure that we never get rid of laws that already exist and the laws you have worked for will continue ad infinitum. Plus, I'm also tough on crime!" Tails: "...Protecting...Second Amendment" = "Those of you who don't like regulation, I will make sure no one takes your guns, unless they can be taken under existing law." I will grant you that Thompson is better than Giuliani. It is the lesser of evils that destroy our rights in the name of, well, in the name of nothing. It is the lesser of two evils that produced Bush, Clinton, Bush, Carter, Nixon and Johnson. It is the lesser of two evils that has burdened us with trillions in debt, with future outflows of the government increasing at a rate which cannot be sustained, with failing education systems, with continued high and numerous taxes, with, well the list of problems in our country, in our respective states, counties, districts, cities, etc. could go on for a very long time. I, for one, will never again vote for the lesser of two evils. I urge you and anyone you know to do the same. Destroy the status quo, because the status quo is a persistent, albeit fortunately somewhat slow, degradation and erosion of your rights to life, liberty and property, to the pursuit of happiness and to everything this country is supposed to stand for.
One thing Thompson has right and is similar to Ron Paul (from Fred08.com): "I am committed to: Dissolution of the IRS." Wait, missed a part...Dissolution of the IRS...as we know it." He only mentions, in passing, lowering taxes, but wants to restructure the WAY we are taxed. Be proud to continue to lose 1/3 (or more) of your money to an ineffective bureaucracy knowing that it was done in the name of the lesser of two evils. Why continue this "lesser of two evils" garbage when there is a candidate running who is not an evil at all?
"I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! I would also remind you that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue." -Barry Goldwater
My little brother quoting Barry Goldwater! Awesome.
As far as regulating the Second Amendment goes, you seem to be taking the position that all rights are absolute. In fact, this has never been the case. The First Amendment, which I believe is the most important freedom that Americans enjoy, is indeed subject to "reasonable restrictions." I'm not saying I think most of the gun laws in this country are good, but I do support some of them. For instance, I believe that violent felons should not be allowed to own firearms. The implementation of the law is bad, in that it restricts all felons, not just the violent ones, from owning firearms.
The thing is, in the end the law doesn't actually keep felons from having firearms, but it allows us to punish them more harshly when they do commit crimes. That is the point here. While liberals scream for more laws, Fred Thompson expresses his desire to enforce the current ones. Sure, it is all a political game, just like you said... but I am more comfortable support a candidate who wants to enforce current laws which are not always fully enforced. This will do two things: A) slow down passing of new legislation, which is rarely good and B) determine if the current laws are actually doing anything.
Regarding his stance on taxes, sure he could do a little better. But, there are more fair ways to structure our tax system, and if he wants to make an issue out of it, I say go for it. Democrats see taxes not only as a way to fund all of their pork projects, but also as a way to "redistribute wealth".... So if we can find a way to fix our tax system so that it is fair, even if we end up paying the same amounts, then that is a victory. I don't think the president can do this... even if Ron Paul were to get elected, fixing America's tax retardedness starts in Congress.
It pains me to think "let's vote for the lesser of two evils". But you never have another choice. To me, Ron Paul is still "one of the evils" the be compared to the rest of them. No president is ever going to 100% fit anyone's political views. It may be close to the time where this country needs dramatic changes such as Ron Paul suggests, but I'm not sure the American public is convinced of that. That's the kicker, isn't it? You have to get somewhere around 51% of the country to believe we need to overhaul everything, and I just don't see that happening. The power of the federal government has increased EVERY YEAR since 1776. Do you honestly think one man can safely turn that around in 4 years?
Finally, if Ron Paul were to dissolve everything the the Federal Government that he dislikes, that would put MILLIONS of people out of work. The US government employs 2 Million people, not counting the Post Office and the Military. What's one of the best indicators of a healthy economy? Surely you realize that a million people without jobs would result in a massive breakdown.
Yes, fundamental rights are absolute. The "rights" enumerated in the Bill of Rights derive from two rights, which are entirely absolute: life and property. Government should never take someone's life. Nor should they take private property. With reasonable gun regulations, you are right about violent felons. When one violates another's absolute right, theirs become forfeit (because natural rights are inherently contractual). But those "reasonable restrictions" are a result of that forfeiture, not a result of rights being anything other than absolute.
Ron Paul as a president could not get all the things done he wants. This much is true. But for once, in a very long time, he could make it damned difficult for Congress to continue to pass laws which are unconstitutional. He could make it damned hard for Congress to submit massive spending bills. He would have the power of the veto, which I am confident he would use. I am confident that a lot of the other candidates would not use this, just as Bush has not, just to be a "uniter, not a divider." The power of the federal government has indeed increased over the years, almost every year. There have been spikes, though. Most of those spikes started in the 20th century, under Democrat presidents: Wilson, FDR, Johnson. Some have occurred under Republicans: Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, George W. Bush. There have been troughs, though as well: Calvin Coolidge, Reagan (with the exception of the powers granted to drug enforcement). Even Jefferson, for as good a game as he talked, expanded the powers of the federal government under his administration. The issue here is that Thompson scares the Democrats, which is good in that it is better than their alternatives. Ron Paul, however, scares the entire establishment. He scares not only the Democrats, but the entire system which has allowed our government to play the games they play with your money and mine. Renewing our rights, our property and our lives, has to start somewhere. The Republican Party, in the 20th century, has tried the line of stopping further erosion of our rights. Their success until now has been only in delaying the inevitable.
Quick issue with tax structure: Income tax is absurd. Whether progressive, regressive or flat, it fundamentally makes individuals slaves. The most popular alternative out there in the press is a consumption tax. I expect that Thompson favors this over the income tax. This is a better alternative, but is a lesser of two evils, for it too has its downfalls. It discourages consumption, which no matter how you spin economics, is not positive for a healthy economy, even if it encourages some savings. Furthermore, it encourages a widespread black market (which I am not opposed to on its own merit, but fear the consequential government action to prevent this market). The problem, then, since the government will want "its" money, is that it will require harsh punishments for those operating in this market. But again, at least a consumption tax is voluntary, which is much fairer than what we have. The fairest way to structure our tax system is to not have one at all. Since that won't happen, ever, the best option, in my opinion, is a uniform tariff on imports, capped by constitutional amendment.
Fear not the removal of the 2 million bureaucrats. There will be jobs for them both in state governments, which would likely expand and in the private marketplace. Under FDR, a much larger percentage of people worked for the government. After his destructive reign ended, jobs opened in the natural economy. As for the postal service, Japan has recently moved to a semi-privatized postal service. It has been working just fine so far. Other countries have the same and mail still gets delivered (and by former government employees).
I guess you can argue semantics. Yes, the right to life and property are "absolute"... but even that term is suspect, since it implies that there are no exceptions. You just admitted to the most important exception, namely by violating the rights of others, your own may become forfeit. That's the trick really. It is not your right to "shout 'fire' in a crowded theater" solely because it denies others their rights to safety, etc. So all "reasonable" regulations of right really boil down to enumerating some of the exceptions to those rights (i.e. times when you are violate the rights of others.)
Clearly I agree with you that there should be no laws abridging one's right to self defense (against thugs and against the government.) But by your logic, the absolute right to life would guarantee that felons should be allowed to own guns, unless you agree that violent felons forfeit their right to life as well. Or is there perhaps a graduated scale instead of being finite, black & white?
"...he could make it damned difficult for Congress to continue to pass laws which are unconstitutional." The problem here isn't the president. The white house has too much power, I'll grant you that, and it should be held in check. But you have to remember that Congress isn't some unstoppable beast that will do what it pleases regardless of the people. Congress serves the voters. Sure, you can argue they are corrupt and do all kinds of unconstitutional stuff, and spin their political lies, yada yada yada.... But in the end, just as we have the power to elect a better president, we also have the power to kick out any congress critters who do not follow the constitution. Here's the problem though... the American voting collective is "dumb". I'll qualify that. Instead of basing every decision on cold hard logic, voters in this country (both blue and red) rely on emotion. So we need more than a better president... we need Americans to understand, and believe in, the constitution. Ron Paul can veto all day long, but that isn't going to cause any real reform to our massive pile of incoherent laws. Sure, it may stem the tide of more bad laws being entered into the books, but it isn't enough to fix the root of the problem.
I agree with you on the tax issues... "income tax" is a ridiculous concept. Our founding fathers would have scoffed at the idea that our constitution would even allow for it. But somehow they managed to get it amended, and now we have income tax. But how do we roll back the income tax? How do you scale back the government in a controlled way over four years so that things can keep running without that huge chunk of our paycheck? Ron Paul hasn't convinced me that it is possible to do in 4 years. On the other hand, Thompson has expressed interest in looking at an alternative. I think Thompson will have a better time pressuring Congress (via the people) kinda like Reagan did. Ok, I'm sick of people comparing FT to RR, but you have to admit that Fred's charisma will look better on TV when he's making his case to the American people. Ron is kinda... well... squirrelly.
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