Anyone who knows Fred Dalton Thompson knows he cares deeply about the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. No one doubts his sincerity on that issue. However, Fred’s latest critique of New York City and its former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, makes one wonder how deeply Fred cares about other things. Like, say, being straight with voters, for instance. Fred takes issue with current New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s lawsuit against gun stores in other states whose negligence in allowing “straw purchases” (illegal purchases of handguns for someone else who is legally barred from purchasing or owning a handgun) results in illegal guns in the hands of criminals on New York’s streets. Fred calls Mayor Bloomberg’s efforts to protect his City by cracking down on the roots of New York’s black market gun problem “bizarre” and “bully”-like. Ol’ Fred can’t seem to see what all the fuss is about! Fred rises to the defense of these inattentive firearm vendors, stating in bewildered tone that the guns they sell just “somehow ended up in criminal hands,” as if the guns themselves got up and walked into the NYC black market on their own, and these specific gun sellers’ apathy toward preventing straw purchases had nothing to do with it.
Fred acknowledges that money isn’t what New York City could possibly be after in suing these local small-time gun shops, and the only other reason Fred can manage to think of is “politics.” It’s just Mayor Bloomberg trying to push his liberal social agenda on the rest of us gentle, peace-lovin’ folks in America, he assumes. Apparently, it never crosses Fred’s mind that maybe there’s a third option…like, “practical reasons,” for instance. (But why should we expect Fred Thompson to understand such things?–after all, he has no experience running a government, a city, or having any real administrative responsibilities for that matter.) Now, no one’s saying Mike Bloomberg isn’t liberal, but the more reasonable explanation is that he’s simply trying to deal with a problem that’s facing the City: illegal guns. It just so happens that 90% of all illegal guns come from out-of-state, so what does Bloomberg do? He goes after out-of-state gun stores that have been exceptionally negligent in preventing the flow of illegal firearms into New York.
Now, I’m not saying I agree with the tactics Mayor Bloomberg used, in sending his own private investigators out of state to illegally purchase guns without notifying or collaborating with local law enforcement or ATF officials. However, Fred is unsettlingly lenient on these irresponsible gun shops, and is equally unsettlingly harsh on Mayor Bloomberg for simply trying to curb the flow of illegal firearms onto his City’s streets.
But Fred’s underhanded swipe at Rudy Giuliani goes from unsettling to just plain melodramatic. Fred states: “There are lots of things about [New York City] I like, but New York gun laws don’t fall in that category.” What exactly are all these horrendously unconstitutional gun laws that Fred speaks of?
Well, a straightforward list of New York’s firearm laws are available right here for anyone who’s curious. Basically:
- If you’re a felon or mentally incompetent, you can’t have a gun.
- If you’re age 12 to 16, you have to be supervised by an adult in order to shoot on a range.
- If you’re a minor, you have to have a hunting license and be accompanied by an adult in order to hunt.
- You need to have a license in order to own a handgun, much like you need to have a license in order to drive a car, and you renew the license every 3 years.
- You don’t need a license for antique or replica firearms.
- You can’t have machine guns, or an assault weapon, but if you bought it prior to September 1994, you can keep it.
- Gun sellers must sell their guns along with child safety trigger lock devices.
- You need to have written permission to carry a gun on school grounds.
- You can’t point a gun at another person unless it’s in self-defense.
It’s up to debate on the specifics whether these gun laws actually go too far or not, but when reading through them, they hardly seem unreasonable. In fact, in an extremely densely populated urban area that has historically had problems with organized crime, street gangs, and drug rings, many of these laws are absolutely necessary. Which of these laws exactly does Fred so vehemently dislike? Minors having to be (gasp!) supervised by an adult when using a firearm? Or the fact that you can’t have a machine gun–whatever shall New Yorkers hunt or defend themselves with? Perhaps it’s the fact that, heaven forbid, you actually need written permission in order to carry a gun on school grounds. Or maybe it’s the fact that in order to get a gun license, you have to fill out paperwork that in some cases can take up to twenty grueling minutes to complete!
But Fred’s next statement is just plain laughable. He says: “Anybody who knows me knows I’ve always cared deeply about the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. So I’ve always felt sort of relieved when I flew back home to where that particular civil liberty gets as much respect as the rest of the Bill of Rights.”
Ever portraying himself as the down home, good ol’ boy, average rural American, “Ol’ Fred” (as he called himself during his 1994 Senate campaign, whilst hooking his thumbs under his suspender straps that he wore at campaign stops before he climbed back into his luxury car and donned those impeccable Gucci loafers) likes to make us think that he’s just one of us, a simple country boy. For those who don’t know, Fred Dalton Thompson actually doesn’t have a home in Tennessee–his permanent residence is inside the Beltway, where it should be, considering he’s spent the latter half of his life as a D.C. insider and lobbyist. So when Fred Thompson talks about leaving New York City and going “back home” to real America where the Second Amendment gets the respect it deserves, he actually means “back home” to Washington, D.C., where up until recently, personal ownership of guns was all but banned (a circuit court ruling supported by Rudy Giuliani overturned that law).
Fred Thompson breathes a sigh of relief the moment he’s out of that abominable New York City and back in the D.C. zipcode, where gun laws are more like Australia and England, just the way they should b–wait. Maybe Ol’ Fred should be straight with voters.
Here’s some straight talk for Mr. Thompson:
Thompson condemns New York City’s supposedly draconian gun laws, citing the fact that despite an increasing number of states allowing citizens to carry guns, violent crime is actually way down in America. He’s absolutely right. The more gun rights are honored, the generally lower crime is (if criminals know law-abiding folks might be armed, they are less likely to attack), and the more gun control is relied upon, the generally higher crime is (just look at England, Australia, and, heck, Fred’s own zipcode). The only problem with this line of reasoning is, if the gun laws in Giuliani’s City were/are supposedly so restrictive, we should expect to see rampant crime, and intrepid criminals confident in the knowledge that their victim won’t be armed and able to fight back. However, the exact opposite is the case. Rudy Giuliani took over a city that was the “ungovernable” crime capital of the country, and when he left, crime was half what it was when he was inaugurated, the murder rate had been slashed by two thirds, and shootings were down seventy-two percent. If Thompson really wants to shift the debate onto security/law & order turf, I’m sure Rudy would oblige, considering he’s got the best record on such issues out of anyone currently running for President, and, well, the best that Mr. Thompson can claim is that he acted in a TV show that happened to be called “Law and Order.”
If Thompson wants to talk about truly ridiculous gun laws, he should look at his own hometown (the one that makes him breathe a sigh of relief when he gets back to), where truly unconstitutional gun control produces–per 100,000 people–1,459 violent crimes, 35.4 murders, 721.3 aggravated assaults, and 649.7 burglaries a year, compared to New York City, which the FBI proclaimed the “safest large city in America” after Rudy got done with it.
It makes one wonder what exactly Mr. Thompson despises so much about New York City, which actually isn’t that drastically different from the rest of America on gun laws (especially in comparison with other developed areas of the world), other than the fact that it has Rudy Giuliani in it, and the fact that Rudy Giuliani is running for the same presidential nomination that Mr. Thompson is–excuse me, might–run for. Ironically enough, NYC actually has 19 gun shops that I can find, which is 19 more than Thompson’s hometown can claim. And just for the record, even Nashville, the capital of Tennessee (the state Thompson used to represent in the Senate) only has 3 gun shops that I’m aware of. Doing a little math, if NYC, with an area of 322 square miles has 19 gun shops, that’s about one gun shop for every 16 square miles (not bad for a city that supposedly doesn’t respect its citizens’ right to purchase and own firearms). If Nashville, with an area of 526 square miles has 3 gun shops, that means that citizens only have one gun shop for every 175 square miles–now why is it that gun enthusiasts should be so relieved when leaving NYC? Oh, and just as a side-note, if Washington, D.C., with an area of 68.3 square miles has no gun shops, that means citizens have zero gun shops for every square mile.
Perhaps, the next time Fred Dalton Thompson is going to make wild claims against another candidate (not to say that Thompson himself is actually a candidate…I think) for political gain, he should be a little more straight with voters about the facts. The real record is that Rudy Giuliani has actual experience turning around a large government and making it work in order to keep its citizens safe. He did this not by instituting all kinds of crazy gun control measures (as some candidates would have us believe), but by vigorously enforcing the law with proper respect for the Constitution of the United States. Rudy Giuliani’s record goes beyond theatrics and political rhetoric–it’s a record of results–something Fred Thompson was not necessarily known for during his brief career in government, and something Fred Thompson should address before he goes off baselessly attacking those of his fellow candidates who are actually running on a record, and not just a personality.