Helmke And The Brady Bunch
One of my dad's law partners was also the mayor of my hometown for 12 years. At my wedding people were lining up to have their pictures taken with him, which was quite wierd and very surreal. Still, it was nice of him to support my dad by attending.
I was never close to him, but always kept an eye on his progress. He was a third-generation Helmke attorney who had been a Jeopardy contestant and dabbled in politics. As a child he was living the life I thought I should have. (This was back when I wanted to be a lawyer and dabble in politics. That's all over now, although I wouldn't turn my nose up at a shot on Jeopardy.)
Over the last ten years, he's had remarkably Lincolnesque luck in running for office. He's been the Republican challenger against a Bayh, which in Indiana is somewhat akin to being the Republican challenger against a Kennedy in Massachusettes. Needless to say, he's not the Junior Senator from Indiana.
However, I still can't fathom the reason for his latest move. I realise his Republicanism is of the more moderate flavour, yet I can't believe he would join hands with the fiercly anti-liberty Brady Center. You know them. They're the organisation that capitalises on the Reagan assasination attempt by using press secretary Jim Brady's wounding to advance their gun control agenda. In fact, before they had Mr. Brady, they were more appropriately named Handgun Control, Inc. In recent years they've sugar-coated their aims by rephrasing their misson statement. It's now supposedly about keeping guns out of the hands of children and the deranged. Who can't get behind that? No one wants the nutcase next door to go on a wild shooting spree at the local Chick-Fil-A.
Yet it seems that in trying to make sure that Johnny Q. Insanity doesn't have a semi-automatic, they keep pushing laws that ensure that Susie Z. Average can't have one either. Their 3-point plan to end illegal trafficking involves such anti-liberty actions as increasing the scope of state powers and violating personal privacy.
1.Strengthen law enforcement tools to crack down on corrupt gun dealers. Congress needs to repeal irrational legal constraints that have reduced ATF's effectiveness in enforcing the law against dealers who feed the illegal market. And state legislatures and local governemntas need to give state and local law enforcement new tools to combat gun trafficking.
Katherinian Libertarian Translator: Increase the government's scope of powers by removing laws that keep the ATF in check. Yeah, that's a good idea. Waco, anyone?
2.Extend Brady Background checks to all gun sales. Since the enactment of the Brady Bill over 10 years ago, more than 1.3 million felons and other prohibited purchasers have been blocked from buying guns from licensed gun dealers. Brady background checks must now be extended to all gun sales, wherever they occur. Our national policy should be no background check, no sale, no excuses.
Katherinian Libertarian Translator: You want a gun? You have to tell the government who you are, why you want one, and give them permission to view your partial medical records. Open this door and it won't be long before you can be denied a handgun for personal protection if you've taken any medication for depression or anxiety.
Stop large volume gun sales that supply traffickers. It is possible in most states for "straw purchasers" and traffickers to buy unlimited numbers of guns to sell to the illegal market. This must stop.
Katherinian Libertarian Translator: We want to make it harder for ANYONE in the gun business. Yes, traffickers buy guns in large lots. So do reputable gun dealers. But since we secretly don't think any private citizens really need a gun all that badly, this is as good a place to punish those who provide them as any.
Yes, Paul Helmke is a good man. He's very strongly principled. Yet, when people ask me why I no longer call myself a Republican, this type of thing is the answer. Too many Republicans are too willing to set aside the foundational principles of liberty in order to keep the governnment steamrolling the citizenry. Hey, when government is your job, that's how you maintain job security.