Last night's Democratic debate in Nevada with Senator Clinton, Senator Obama, and John Edwards showcased an issue where the Democrats have dialed back so far that it's just sad: gun control. Since losing control of Congress in the '90s in part (according to some) for being pro-gun control, and winning in back in 2006 with the help of Senators John Tester (MT), Bob Casey Jr. (PA), and Jim Webb (VA) - all anti-gun control Democrats - as well as numerous new anti-gun control congressmen, Democrats have been very hesitant to support federal gun control legislations.
Each candidate last night was given the opportunity to take a strong stance in favor of gun control, and each took a pass:
NBC'S TIM RUSSERT: Senator Clinton, when you ran for the Senate in 2000, you said that everyone who wishes to purchase a gun should have a license, and that every handgun sale or transfer should be registered in a national registry. Will you try to implement such a plan?
CLINTON: Well, I am against illegal guns, and illegal guns are the cause of so much death and injury in our country. I also am a political realist and I understand that the political winds are very powerful against doing enough to try to get guns off the street, get them out of the hands of young people....
RUSSERT: But you've backed off a national licensing registration plan?
RUSSERT: Senator Obama, when you were in the state senate, you talked about licensing and registering gun owners. Would you do that as president?
OBAMA: I don't think that we can get that done....
RUSSERT: Senator Edwards, Democrats used to be out front for registration and licensing of guns. It now appears that there's a recognition that it's hard to win a national election with that position. Is that fair?
EDWARDS: I think that's fair....
It does not reflect well on the Democratic party that the strongest gun control advocate is Republican/Indepedent Mike Bloomberg. In the wake of the Viriginia Tech massacre, when the country searched for answers to how a mentally ill individually could purchase a gun, and for leadership to make sure it could never happen again, Democrats were silent.
It is shameful that this country does not have national system to record the sale and transfer of guns. We have (or have de facto state by state) ones for houses, businesses, and cars. Why not for guns? Lawful gun owners have nothing to fear from a registry of gun owners and dealers. It would never be used to take their guns away. It would be used to prevent guns from falling into the hands of those who should not have them.