From the LA Times: The National Rifle Assn. sold a videotape on its website during the early days of the 2000 presidential campaign showing a top official predicting that if George W. Bush won, "we'll have a president … where we work out of their office." ...Four years later, some gun owners have grown so disenchanted with President Bush that they may cast a protest vote for a third-party candidate, stay away from the polls, or even back the likely Democratic nominee, gun-control advocate John F. Kerry. It's unclear how many gun owners could be counted as activists, but they are affiliated with a variety of organizations, from the NRA and Gun Owners of America to smaller state and regional organizations around the country. And they could play a pivotal role in the outcome of this year's presidential race. Surprisingly, the issues that have most alienated many gun groups from the Bush administration have little to do with firearms, but rather with the Patriot Act and other homeland security measures instituted after Sept. 11. Opposition to such laws has aligned gun-rights activists with unlikely partners, such as liberal Democrats and the ACLU. "It's not just gun rights for us, it's the Bill of Rights," said Angel Shamaya, executive director of KeepAndBearArms.com, which claims tens of thousands of supporters. "A lot of gun-rights advocates are from mildly upset to livid over President Bush and his administration." My personal position is that guns are dangerous machines that, like cars, should be licensed and regulated. But I've also become increasingly convinced that both the gun-controllers, whom I agree with, and the NRA-ers, whom I don't, are engaged in somewhat fetishistic politics around what's largely a proxy issue. I'd much rather have seen a Million Mom March for equality in education spending, for childcare, for healthcare, for aggressive job creation, or for restoring welfare benefits - any of which I'd contend would do more to lower crime in this country. But while I think the "Moms'" priorities are questionable, I'm still more frustrated by those who are comfortable with government regulating their sex lives, curtailing their speech rights, and surveiling their records but believe that having to wait before receiving a gun represents a violation of the principles of the American Revolution. While I don't see what hte NRA is fighting for as a civil liberty, I'm glad to see that it isn't the only one the gun-activists in this article are concerned about.


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