Members of the House Democratic gun violence task force put a heavy emphasis on the Second Amendment when they rolled out their policy recommendations Thursday. From speaking directly hunters to telling a personal story of a family defended from roving bands of racist thugs, Democrats praised the right to posses firearms and promised they’re not ever going to touch it as they work to reduce gun violence after the Newtown, Conn., school massacre.
Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA), the leader of the task force, spoke of his own hunting hobby (he hunts ducks.) The first bullet point in the task force’s list of recommendations was “Support the 2nd Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans.” Lest any critics wonder what that means, Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) told the story of a Civil Rights leader who, Clyburn said, made it through the movement thanks to his right to own a gun.
Clyburn told the story of the Rev. J. Armstrong DeLaine, an early figure in the push that eventually ended in the integration of public schools. DeLaine lived and worked near Summerton, S.C.
“Because of his Second Amendment rights, the right to bear arms, he had a firearm. And it’s the only reason, when the Night Riders came to his home, it is the only reason that he lived to die a natural death,” Clyburn said. “I continue to believe that it’s important for people to have the right to bear arms. That is not what this issue is about. This issue is about our children being safe in their classrooms and our families being secure in their homes.”
Thompson said his task force’s recommendations were “fairly close” to the those of the gun violence task force led by Vice President Biden. And it appears the sales job will be very similar as well — with Democrats trying again and again to reassure gun rights advocates they’re not after the public’s guns or the right to own one. Polling has shown widespread support for Democratic plans like universal background checks and magazine capacity bans, but leaders of the National Rifle Association have said they don’t take Democrats at their word on the Second Amendment.