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My series of Democrat state party platforms on gun control continues with Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and South Carolina. As I have found, some state parties merely adopt the national platform as their own and this continues with this series of states.
There used to be a tradition of Oklahoma Democrats being strong supporters of the Second Amendment and gun rights. Former Rep. Dan Boren (D-OK) is on the NRA Board of Directors and his father Sen. David Boren (D-OK) served on the NRA Board of Directors before him. That was then and this is now. The Oklahoma Democratic Party has adopted the DNC platform with its full agenda of gun control as their own.
Given the state party doesn’t have anything specific to say about gun control, it is important to look at the candidates for governor and attorney. Drew Edmondson is the current attorney general of Oklahoma. His website makes no mention of “gun violence” or “gun safety”. However, he is on record elsewhere as saying that the age to purchase modern sporting rifles should be raised to 21.
Running to replace him as attorney general is Mark Myles. He is an attorney in private practice in Oklahoma City. He says he “Support gun safety and responsible gun ownership.” He then goes on to say:
I support the Second Amendment and common sense regulations that are constitutional, reasonable, and in accord with the holdings of appellate courts. Guns must be stored safely and they must be out of the hands of the mentally ill. Mark strongly values the opinion of law enforcement and their role in keeping Oklahomans safe, and supports responsible gun ownership across the country.
Hmm. “Common sense regulations” that are in accord with the holdings of appellate courts? I wonder how many Oklahomans are aware that the 9th Circuit has said you don’t have a right to carry outside the home or that the 4th Circuit has ruled that certain semi-automatic firearms and their magazines are outside the Second Amendment.
Moving from a state where politicians and the Democratic Party are circumspect about their intentions for gun control to a state where it is more explicit, the Democratic Party of Oregon’s 2018 platform and legislative priorities call for gun bans (among other things).
From the platform, Article Six – Health Care, Basic Needs, and Gun Safety:
We support the 2nd Amendment and believe that hunting, sport shooting, and safe, responsible gun ownership
are traditions worth preserving for future generations. We thus support comprehensive background checks for all
gun sales and believe in measures to reduce firearm-related violence, injury, death, and to promote public safety…
We support a ban on the civilian sale and purchase of military-style weapons and high-capacity magazines.
Their legislative priorities go even further:
4. Ban the sale and purchase of military-grade and assault weapons, such as AR-15s, and
equipment used to modify weapons into assault weapons. Limit magazine capacity
to 10 rounds. Raise the minimum age of long gun purchases from 18 to 21. Fund and
implement buy-back programs for those weapons and magazines.
6. Repeal the Dickey Amendment and resume public research into gun violence in the
United States and fund comprehensive research to form evidence-based gun ownership
and use controls.
The Oregon Democrats have a number of caucuses including a Gun Owners Caucus. Reading their mission seems to be a mess of contradictory objectives. While they say they will push for a pro-2A legislative agenda, they then say they will support Democrats in office and those that are nominees. Gov. Kate Brown (D-OR) is a strong proponent of gun control having signed many gun control bills and calling for more. Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum (D-OR) is likewise a strong proponent of gun control. Those in the Gun Owners Caucus really can’t have it both ways. As it is, they seem to function more as a fig leave for the gun prohibitionists than anything else.
The Pennsylvania Democratic Party doesn’t have a platform on their website and Ballotpedia says they adopt the DNC platform. Their “issues” page does not address anything dealing with firearms, gun control, or even gun safety (sic).
Thus, let’s look at what Gov. Tom Wolf (D-PA) says he wants on gun control. Like the party, he doesn’t put gun control items on is campaign website. That said, he is where he stands according to the York Daily Record.
Here’s what Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf has said and done about gun control and the Second Amendment.
Wolf has supported:
- expanding background checks to cover private sales of long guns, including shotguns and rifles;
- banning bump stocks — devices that allow semi-automatic weapons to fire more rapidly, mimicking the speed of automatic weapons;
- increasing gun restrictions for defendants in domestic violence and protection-from-abuse cases.
Likewise, Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D-PA) who is not up for re-election is a strong proponent of gun control and was strongly backed by Michael Bloomberg. It should be pointed out that many Philadelphia area Republicans are, at best, neutral on gun control as they fear the influx of Bloomberg’s money. Sebastian at Shall Not Be Questioned has reported on this for year.s
According to Uprise RI, the gun prohibitionists were upset that the earlier versions of the party platform of the Rhode Island Democrats didn’t include gun control. The 2018 version adds this to the platform but the prohibitionists are upset it doesn’t include a “assault weapon” (sic) and magazine ban along with language condemning attempts at national carry reciprocity.
That said, the platform seems to be as bad as most.
REDUCING GUN VIOLENCE
As Democrats, we
respect the Constitution’s Second Amendment and its guaranteed rights for
abiding citizens to keep and bear arms. At
the same time, we recognize that there is a serious
issue with gun violence in our country, and we support
regulations regarding the safe use of
We are proud of the thoughtful work that has been done in our state to
ensure the safety
of our children and our communities
and we support
other common sense measures
aimed at protecting the public from individuals who have demonstrated their inability to possess
a firearm without putting others around them in danger.
believe that we must
provide the public with the tools to be proactive partners with law enforcement to reduce gun violence. To
keep our communities safe, Rhode Island Democrats insist that Congress enact legislation to
unlicensed gun sellers at gun shows
and private gun dealers to conduct the same instant
background checks that licensed dealers need to conduct
using the National Criminal Instant
Background Check System
Additionally, we support laws that protects our children and our
families and will work to support common sense gun violence prevention measures. Finally,
because we view gun violence as a public health issue, we also call on Congress to pass
legislation allowing the Centers for Disease Control to study this issue.
South Carolina Democrats passed a resolution adopting the DNC platform in its entirety as their own platform. To get a better idea of what the Democrats would do if elected, let’s examine the positions of their candidates for governor and attorney general as those two positions would have the greatest impact on firearms legislation.
James Smith is the Democrat nominee for governor facing Gov. Henry McMaster (R-SC). His website has this platform regarding firearms:
Advocating for Common Sense Gun Safety
James believes in a South Carolina that’s stands with our youth and he was proud to stand with them at the March for our Lives rally in Columbia. As Governor, James will sign legislation that:
- Closes the Charleston loophole
- Bans bump stocks and trigger cranks
- Requires universal background checks, including for gun show sales
- Makes it a crime to threaten use of a weapon on school grounds
- Restricts retail sales of military-style assault weapons, including AR-15s
- Introduces individual responsibility measures requiring owners of military-style assault weapons to be responsible for safekeeping and reporting stolen weapons promptly
The Charleston loophole refers to a FFL being allowed to release a firearm to a purchaser after three business days if a delayed response is received during the NICS check.
Constance Anastopoulo is the Democrat nominee to face pro-gun Attorney General Alan Wilson (R-SC). She is the wife of Akim Anastopoulo whose personal injury ambulance chasing ads run daily on South Carolina TV stations. Before becoming a law professor at the Charleston School of Law, she practiced with her husband. She doesn’t have anything on her website dealing with the issues. However, in announcing her intention to run, she said she would work to deny firearms to “domestic abusers”. I know this seems to be a common refrain from the gun control lobby but it would seem to already be covered by the Lautenberg Amendment which makes anyone convicted of a misdemeanor of domestic violence a prohibited person.
Fortunately, neither Smith nor Anastopoulo have much chance of beating the incumbent Republicans.