Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Mark Udall Finds a New Reason for Being on Both Sides of Gun Issue

Last week my colleague pointed out how Boulder liberal Rep. Mark Udall has struggled to take sides on the Second Amendment issue:
His stated position is that we citizens have the right to have a weapon with which to protect ourselves except when we don't, and he would side with the Bill Ritter's and the John Morse's who are too quick to say that we don't ever have that right.
Of all places, the Denver Post today picked up on the theme:
When the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments last week about the Washington, D.C., ban on handgun ownership, U.S. Rep. Mark Udall of Colorado issued a news release saying he hoped the court would affirm the right of citizens to "keep and bear arms."

But on four occasions when Udall, a Democrat running for an open U.S. Senate seat, could have voted in Congress to repeal all or sections of the gun ban, he did not.

Udall campaign spokesman Taylor West said the congressman did not support the 32-year-old ban but also didn't think Congress was justified in overriding the district while the issue was before the courts.

"He believes in self-rule and the rights of local government," West said. "The people should be able to set their own laws."
Mark Udall believes in the right to keep and bear arms except when he doesn't. But here is a new reason for Udall to be on both sides of the issue: local government control.

First of all, keep in mind this is from the mouth of Taylor West, who has shown a predilection for not telling the truth.

How honest then is the excuse West offered on behalf of her boss Mark Udall? I wonder if we searched through the Boulder Congressman's voting record, would we find a consistent dedication to the principles of "self-rule and the rights of local government"? Or, much more likely, is this just a convenient and disingenuous way for Udall to avoid publicly airing his support for gun control? To say something that won't estrange him from the Washington liberal club while trying to appear that he holds mainstream Colorado values?

Though Colorado has changed in its demographics, it still retains in many ways its traditional Western character. A lot of Coloradans care deeply about their Second Amendment rights, but they also appreciate public officials who are authentic and not phony. Mark Udall hasn't been too reassuring on either front.


Hutch said...

Mr DeGrow:

The other reason is that "local control" comment is silly on its face is that Washington, DC has no local control. The US Constitution, Article I, specifically delegates powers to Congress "To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such District."

This means that Mark Udall has been in "local control" of DC and has shirked his duties as a Congressman.

Also, if he truly believes that the gun ban is unconstitutional, he should vote against it. The elected members of both our executive and legislative branches swear to support and defend the Constitution. If I were an idealist, I would say that failure to vote against an act one believes unconstitutional violates this oath and should be cause for removal from office.

Ben DeGrow said...

That's an excellent point, Hutch. If it were a state law, a plausible case could be made from the federalism principle not to interfere in a local government decision. But the Constitution is indeed explicit about the governance of the District of Columbia.

Look for a follow-up post on Mark Udall shirking his responsibilities.