Decision Time for Bob Barr
As the rumors of his candidacy first surfaced, I sent an email to the exploratory committee asking for the same kind of unequivocal support for the Second Amendment expressed here by Ron Paul:
...More importantly, however, the debate about certain types of weapons ignores the fundamental purpose of the Second amendment. The Second amendment is not about hunting deer or keeping a pistol in your nightstand. It is not about protecting oneself against common criminals. It is about preventing tyranny. The Founders knew that unarmed citizens would never be able to overthrow a tyrannical government as they did. They envisioned government as a servant, not a master, of the American people. The muskets they used against the British Army were the assault rifles of the time. It is practical, rather than alarmist, to understand that unarmed citizens cannot be secure in their freedoms. It’s convenient for gun banners to dismiss this argument by saying “That could never happen here, this is America”- but history shows that only vigilant people can keep government under control. By banning certain weapons today, we may plant the seeds for tyranny to flourish ten, thirty, or fifty years from now...
In response, I received nothing - not even the courtesy of a "we'll get back to you".
After the campaign officially launched, I sent a $100 donation, and noted again the importance of an unequivocal (some would say "absolutist") statement re the Second.
They gladly took the money, but the requested statement?
No response - neither to me directly, nor, much more importantly, on the campaign website.
Then David Codrea posted this challenge to the Barr campaign:
An Open Challenge to Libertarian Presidential Candidate Bob Barr
As WarOnGuns visitors were recently reminded, based on reporting by Gun Owners of America:
On September 28, 1996, you issued a memo on Congressional letterhead advocating:
The Lautenberg amendment with the Barr language is strong protection for women and children.
On October 12, 1996, you sent a letter to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, claiming you "improved" the Lautenberg language so it could not be struck down by the courts, stating:
Under the Lautenberg language -- which was cleared up through my amendatory language that was adopted -- there was no consistent definition of "crime of domestic violence," and therefore the entire provision would have been declared unconstitutional. My language corrected this deficiency by setting forth the common elements of the crime that would apply to everyone.
On Mar. 6, 1997, your editorial, "Don't Wink at Violence," was published in USA Today. In it, you wrote:
[Lautenberg] is important and worthwhile legislation, and we cannot allow its effectiveness to be reduced.
Despite the fact you then voted for Lautenberg as part of an omnibus spending bill, there are those who would like to hear your reasoning. I'm among those.
But I think you need to go one step further. With the exception of your USA Today piece, which can be purchased individually (but not disseminated in total without violating copyright), the other referenced documents aren't accessible to scrutiny.
This issue will not go away, Mr. Barr--you will either address it directly, and explain yourself--or ignore it.
I challenge you to release and post the full text of your memo, your AJC letter, and your USA Today opinion piece, and let gun owners read your words for themselves. And I challenge the Libertarian Party to demand it of you as well.
Response from the Barr campaign?
Nothing - despite several gentle reminders from David.
Today, after stewing for several days, I jumped on board with this note to the campaign:
Received your email below today re the YouTube efforts.
As head of Congressman Barr’s eCampaign, you must realize the importance of building and sustaining momentum on the ‘Net if the candidate is to stand a chance.
That is why the Congressman’s failure to answer the questions posed by David Codrea here is so inexplicable.
David’s blog is widely read and extremely influential with one of the key demographics in your campaign.
The failure to address David’s questions might possibly be explained by lack of notice, but there are a LOT of people drawing other, derogatory conclusions from the silence.
I am one of those people, as not only have David's questions gone unanswered, but so too my prior emails to the campaign requesting an unequivocal statement of direct support for the Second Amendment from Congressman Barr.
My initial $100 donation to the campaign was an ante, as has been my support for the Congressman on our blog:
I am an attorney located in Atlanta, and am ready, willing, and able to support Congressman Barr to the full extent of Federal election law. However, you and the campaign should know that I will not be making further contributions, in kind or in cash, until this matter is addressed satisfactorily.
Please fix this omission quickly. I look forward to your reply by close of business, Atlanta time, June 25, 2008.
We'll see what, if any, response comes from the Barr camp.
But if the sanctity of private weapons as a bulwark against government tyranny were a strongly-held belief, that principle would already be featured on the Barr campaign website.
I wonder if the citizens of Pompeii and Herculaneum felt this way in the days before their little encounter with history?