Donald Trump has a conceal carry permit. Consider that for a moment. Or ten. He says he supports the Second Amendment and that Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton will sabotage our gun rights. Hillary says she’s with the gun crowd but sees a path to increased background checks in the hope of identifying potential mental health issues. Gary Johnson doesn’t really care if we all have guns, if we smoke pot or who the past president of Mexico was and Jill Stein thinks we are more of a risk to ourselves when armed. With just days before we all exercise a most important right, it’s critical to know where these potential world leaders stand on issues near and dear to our gun safes, public lands and fishable waters.
Mr. Trump told Field & Stream’s editorial director, Anthony Licata, “I’m a very big Second Amendment person”. He is endorsed by the National Rifle Association and supports national right to carry laws for all 50 states. “I always carry a weapon on me. If I’d been at the Bataclan or one of those bars, I would have opened fire. Perhaps I would have died, but at least I would have taken a shot. The worst thing is the powerlessness to respond to those who want to kill you,” he told the French magazine Valeurs Actuelles. Appearing in CBS’s Face The Nation, Trump said, “that he is INDEED packing…because I like to have myself protected”.
In his 2000 book The America We Deserve, Trump wrote, “I support the ban on assault weapons and I support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun. With today’s Internet technology we should be able to tell within 72-hours if a potential gun owner has a record.” The Donald apparently is a bit of a hunter who has taken friends to shoot clay pigeons and uplands birds. His son, Donald Jr. said in the same F&S interview, “For me, hunting and fishing kept me out of so much other trouble I would’ve gotten into throughout my life. It’s just so important to be able to maintain that, so that next generation gets into it.”
Trump has enjoyed a luxurious life by mastering property tax law to lawfully avoid many federal income taxes. He also has perfected generalization, exaggeration and hyperbole, Cuinsinarting them into a mass media mush of such whitewashed consistency that anyone looking to government for something more than endless taxation and sanctuary cities, devours every morsel of his magic dust as if it was real and omnipotent. His words so easily fall into a slight of hand quagmire yet he has learned to feed us loud lines people can devour before understanding how little substance or truth they contain and that, when coupled with this unprecedented barren landscape of potential presidents, he hovers for some as the only answer.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton takes a different position.
With her F rating by the NRA, Clinton feels it’s time gun laws were adjusted to keep pace with a changing world. She told ABC’s Liz Kreutz, “It is time for us to say we are going to have comprehensive background checks, we are going to close the gun show loopholes” and “We are going to close the Charleston loophole, and the immunity for the gun-makers and sellers.” Clinton has been running for president for most of her adult life and as is common for beltway insiders, she’ll likely say whatever is necessary to sit behind that desk. It’s been decades since she wore a hairnet on a salmon production line and after as many on the campaign trail, I suggest she wouldn’t remember when she last saw the inside of a tent, threw an Al’s Goldfish for rainbows or understood the incredible value of our public lands to those of us who pay all those taxes.
On several occasions I reached out to the Libertarian National Committee to ask questions to either presidential candidate Johnson or his running mate, former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld. My repeated appeals were never answered. I spoke with the Rhode Island party chairman, Pat Ford, but he never returned several requests for a brief interview. From their website and through Johnson’s flash in the pan media blitz over the last few months, it became clear that he and his party are all about leaving us alone to be responsible citizens. They feel armed citizens will lead to less gun violence and in July, he spoke that, “Banning assault weapons just criminalizes the owners” which should give lots folks pause.
“I don’t believe the laws regarding guns are effective. We’re allowed to bear arms. It’s part of a free society,” Johnson wrote in his 2012 book “Seven Principles of Good Government”. In an interview with Playboy Magazine the year prior, he said that gun control laws don’t work. He supports keeping guns away from the mentally ill and potential terrorists but feels the current system of secret government lists and no-fly sheets is ineffective and error prone. I’ll bet he’s correct on that. He told USA Today that while the party platform states opposition to “all laws at any level of government” with regard to diminishing our gun rights, he has developed a “nuanced” take.
As for Governor Weld, his stance on the Second Amendment falls along party lines. In May of this year, he wrote an OpEd stating, “I am a lifelong hunter and gun owner. In 1993, as Governor of Massachusetts, I went along with modest restrictions on firearms. Governing involves tough choices. Today, I would make different choices. Restricting gun rights doesn’t make us safer, and threatens our constitutional freedoms. I support the Supreme Court’s decision in the District of Columbia vs. Heller -a decision that embraced the notion that Second Amendment rights are individual rights, not to be abridged by the government.”
Governor Weld is a proud fan of The Grateful Dead and “amber colored” liquids, which has nothing to do with the Constitution but sure makes him a more viable candidate in my book.
He also has a private fishing compound in the Adirondacks. So far so good. The Libertarian website blandly states, “The environment is a precious gift and must be protected”. Based on his jumping into Boston’s Charles River to celebrate the passing of a 1996 river protection bill, his appreciation for hunting and fishing and his common sense approach to firearms, William Weld is the real deal and quite possibly in the wrong seat for this election.
Please make sure you vote this year.
Climate change is real, not just weather as someone might have you believe.
“Transferring” public lands is real and wrong.
Not voting will have consequences for years, locally and globally.
Filling in that circle is a simple task, a privilege really and we should all be concerned about who might first negotiate away or fight to protect our basic rights and that includes things as simple as learning to shoot, hiking a canyon or taking our children fishing.
Todd Corayer is a lifelong fisherman who lives not far from the Saugatucket River with his wife, who supports his fishing mainly to get him out of the house and a young son who regularly catches more fish than him.