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McCain Praises Supreme Court Gun Decision

By Michael D. Shear
Sen. John McCain leaped quickly Thursday to praise the Supreme Court decision striking down the District of Columbia's gun ban. It is a political position that that will surely please gun owners and the National Rifle Association.

In a conference call with reporters, his aides and allies attacked Sen. Barack Obama for supporting gun bans and said Obama had flip-flopped over the years on gun issues.

"He initially comes out and says he believes in banning hand guns. He is for the D.C. gun ban. Now he seems to be sidestepping the issue," said Sen. Sam Brownback. "It's either an incredible flip-flop or incredible inexperience on this issue."

But McCain has his own checkered history when it comes to the Second Amendment.

For years, the NRA considered him one of the "premier flag carriers for the enemies of the Second Amendment" for his efforts to require background checks at gun shows.

McCain's support for background checks was not casual. He appeared in television commercials on behalf of referenda aimed at requiring them. And his efforts to pass a federal law caused the NRA to abandon one of their top priorities -- immunity for gun makers -- rather than have McCain succeed in attaching a gun show amendment to their bill.

But since becoming the presumptive GOP nominee, McCain has worked hard to woo his former opponents, appearing at the NRA convention in Kentucky last month and telling it, "For more than two decades, I've opposed efforts to ban guns, ban ammunition, ban magazines and dismiss gun owners as some kind of fringe group unwelcome in 'modern' America."

Aide Randy Scheunemann said on the conference call that McCain's efforts at requiring background checks was nothing more than "standardizing sales procedures" with retail stores.

"That's not a fundamental Second Amendment issue any more than the background check that's required at a store," he said.

Fierce gun advocates might disagree on that point. But McCain advisers believe that gun rights advocates are likely to support McCain anyway. The Supreme Court's decision gives the Republican nominee one more argument to make on behalf of getting their vote.

By Web Politics Editor  |  June 26, 2008; 12:10 PM ET
Categories:  B_Blog , Barack Obama , John McCain  
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