Time's Tumulty: Gore's Gun Licensing Idea Was 'Modest'

April 18th, 2007 12:34 AM

UPDATE at bottom of post: Tumulty responds.

Lamenting how Democrats have lost their penchant for fierce advocacy of new gun control laws, Time's Karen Tumulty described as "modest" former Vice President Al Gore's stance on gun control in his 2000 campaign in an April 17 post at her magazine's "Swampland" blog.:

...in talking to Democrats on Capitol Hill, I'm picking up no enthusiasm for a cause that many have deemed a political loser. Al Gore's relatively modest proposal in the wake of Columbine for licensing gun owners (as opposed to the more radical one of registering their guns) is still widely believed to have been a factor in costing him the election, losing him votes that he might otherwise have goten from, for instance, gun-owning union members.

Making people apply for a license to exercise a constitutional right is "modest"? I doubt Tumulty would see things that way were she to have to get permission from the government to exercise her freedom of the press.

Here's what Gore said in the October 11, 2000, presidential debate on the matter:

MODERATOR: All right. So on guns, somebody wants to cast a vote based on your differences, where are the differences?

GORE: Well, I'm not for registration. I am for licensing by states of new handgun purchases.

MODERATOR: What's that mean?

GORE: A photo license I.D. like a driver's license for new handguns and, you know, the Los Angeles --

MODERATOR: Excuse me, you would have to get the license -- a photo I.D. to go in and before you could buy the gun?

GORE: Correct.

UPDATE (12:15 EDT | April 19): Tumulty responded on "Swampland" that my criticism, as well as a polar opposite criticism from a left-wing site, both took her out of context. I stand by my original post, but you can check out her defense at the Time blog.