Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Clinton, Obama using silencers on firearms issues

In their epic contest, Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have had plenty of chances to speak out on just about every issue, but have been notably silent on one that is important to many Americans, especially those in rural areas: gun control. They are following a recent trend among Democratic candidates, reports Dan Lightman of McClatchy Newspapers.

"For years, the national party has downplayed its historic sympathy for gun control for fear that emphasizing it would be politically costly," Lightman writes. "Democrats have been skittish about gun control since 1994," when a Democratic Congress passed an assault-weapons ban and was transformed into a Republican Congress. Many Democrats again saw gun control as a key reason Al Gore lost the 2000 presidential election.

Republican Sen. John McCain joined 54 other senators in a brief asking the Supreme Court to overturn the handgun ban in Washington, D.C., but Clinton and Obama declined to join the rival brief supporting the ban. To Lightman's questions about that, the Democratic campaigns asserted the candidates' belief in the Second Amendment -- the meaning and extent of which are at issue in the case that was argued before the Supreme Court Last week. Both have a history of support for gun control, and so the softened stances likely reflect the importance of gun-owning voters — many of whom live in rural areas of the upcoming primary states of Pennsylvania, Indiana, North Carolina, West Virginia, Kentucky and Oregon. (Read more)

The McClatchy report also offers a links to a clip of Clinton's and Obama's responses to a gun control question during a January debate, as well as a clip of Clinton talking about duck hunting in Arkansas.

No comments: