Senator John McCain invited Harris Publications to an informal interview. On July 7th, I sat down with the 2008 presidential candidate and discussed his stance on many issues that will interest sportsman, law enforcement officers and members of the military.
EP: Sir, may I ask who you wear that memory bracelet on your wrist for?
Sen. McCain: I was campaigning earlier in the race in New Hampshire when a woman caught my attention. She told me about her son, a soldier named Matthew Stanley, who was proudly serving in Iraq when he was killed in Baghdad. She told me about him and asked if I would wear this bracelet in his memory.
EP: Senator, do you get a chance to enjoy recreational shooting?
Sen. McCain: Let me start by saying that I am an angler. I lived with an M1 [Garand] when I attended the U.S. Naval Academy and enjoyed shooting it then. When I get a chance these days, I like to enjoy my hobby. I like to be at my home in northern Arizona fishing. I was never a hunter. I just never got into it. I am not going to wear camouflage once every four years and imply that I’m a hunter. I certainly do not oppose the shooting sports. My sons own many hunting rifles and go out when they can and I’ll let my record speak against Senator Obama’s on the issues surrounding the 2nd Amendment.
EP: Were you a good shot at the Naval Academy?
Sen. McCain: I just qualified with the M1 and the pistol I carried with me to Vietnam. Both of my sons are experts but I just qualified. At the academy, my rifle looked like it had served in two wars, it was well worn. Maybe that was my problem. [He laughs.]
EP: Sir, let me go ahead and get your positions on a few issues concerning our readers. As President, would you support legislation to enact a ban on the manufacture or ownership of firearms labeled as “assault weapons?”
Sen. McCain: No. I will veto any bill that comes across my desk that attempts to ban “assault weapons.”
EP: Do you feel any further legislation is necessary to regulate or control the civilian ownership of firearms?
Sen. McCain: No.
EP: What is your position on localities such as New York City, Chicago and the District of Columbia who feel that it is their right to issue additional gun control over their constituents.
Sen. McCain: I am a Federalist and I want to see states and localities enact legislation that improves life for the citizens living within their borders but I don’t think that they should be able to pass legislation that opposes federal law. The Second Amendment protects the individual’s right to own firearms and people have a right to choose how they defend their families. I want to see states and localities pass their own legislation that supports an individual’s right to own firearms. As a Federalist, I would rather not see the federal government step in. When the federal government intervenes, the issue gets distorted and then you have unintended consequences.
EP: Would you support a national concealed carry law?
Sen. McCain: Well I do support concealed carry but I want to see this done at the state and local levels, like in the state I represent, Arizona. If you compare my voting record to Senator Obama’s, you will see who stands behind concealed carry.
EP: The state of Hawaii is considering a ban on .50-caliber rifles in trace of California’s ban on such rifles. What is your position on the civilian ownership of .50-caliber rifles and their recreational shooting activities.
Sen. McCain: Like I said before, I don’t feel that states should deny rights that are protected by federal law. People have the right to own and responsibly enjoy these firearms.
EP: The defense industry has benefited from the advanced technology developed since September 11th such as the M.A.A.R.S. robot, UAVs, the creation of MRAP armored vehicles and various infantry weaponry. How would you intend to continue or enhance the development of our military defense in your administration?
Sen. McCain: It amazes me how far we have come with technology. I think it is very important to continue supporting the defense industry and improving standoff weaponry. I get reports all the time that tell me how a UAV was used to provide important intelligence that saved lives on the ground. I know people that watch the Predator [UAV] take down targets everyday on a remote T.V. screen.
EP: Do you feel that the future battlefield will have robots replacing troops?
Sen. McCain: To some degree, yes. Over time, troops will be replaced but there will be combat needs that require troops on the ground. Right now the battle lines are blurred. This enemy we face doesn’t hesitate to use unsuspecting women and children strapped with explosives to kill their own citizens. They have no respect for life and this type of warfare is very hard to combat.
EP: Do you see UAVs replacing piloted aircraft?
Sen. McCain: They already are! Yes, but again, there will always be a need for piloted aircraft, but UAVs will continue to be a growing asset.
EP: So what keeps this technology from transitioning into U.S. law enforcement agencies at a similar pace that the defense industry is growing?
Sen. McCain: Money. It all comes down to money.
EP: So do you think law enforcement officers will benefit from UAVs and robots?
Sen. McCain: Yes, but we have to be careful. We can’t encroach the public right to privacy. We can put cameras on transit street corners but I wouldn’t want a camera inside or outside my home watching me. Everyone deserves privacy and there is nobody in this campaign that has a better record for supporting individual rights. We have to make sure that technology is balanced with rights to privacy.
EP: In summary, what is one reason that our readers should support you in this year’s election for President of the United States?
Sen. McCain: My record.
An Unbiased Presentation of Opposing Views
The Illinois senator has positioned himself on the opposite side of issues regarding the Second Amendment. These are unedited statements made by Sen. Barack Obama:
“I’m a strong believer in the rights of hunters and sportsmen to have firearms. I’m a believer in homeowners having a firearm to protect their home and their family. It’s hard for me to find a rationale for a 19-clip semi-automatic.” (Clinton, Edwards, Obama on Gun Control, Radio Iowa Blog, 4/22/2007)
“Sentator Petka and I disagree on the underlying premise that concealed carry will create a safer citizenry in Illinois.” (Transcript, State of Illinois 92nd General Assembly Regular Session Sentate, 4/4/2001).
“I believe in keeping guns out of our inner cities, and that our leaders must say so in the face of the gun manufacturer’s lobby. But I also believe that when a gangbanger shoots indiscriminately into a crowd because he feels someone disrespected him, we have a problem of morality. Not only do we need to punish that man for his crime, but we need to acknowledge that there’s a hole in his heart, one that government programs alone may not be able to repair.” (The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama, p. 215, 10/1/2006)
“I proposed several gun-control laws, including restricting purchases of weapons and ammunition at gun shows, establishing a national database that would capture and record imprints left by bullets, and making gun locks mandatory.” (Chicago Tribune, 11/12/2007)
“The end of the ban, which means the gun industry will resume making and selling 19 types of military-style semiautomatic weapons, means America’s streets will be more dangerous. Such weapons have accounted for a disproportionate share of police fatalities.” (Chicago Tribune, 11/12/2007)