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Why Republicans Love Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. might just be the most pro-gun Democrat to come along in many years. That should make Joe Biden nervous.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Image Credit: Creative Commons.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr

This rock-ribbed Republican writer has a wee-bitty confession to make: I recently made a donation to a Democrat. (A mere $5.00, but eh, it’s the thought that counts, right?) But before anybody starts thinking I’ve gone “RINO,” lemme ‘splain: there’s a method to my madness, as the Democrat in question is none other than Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. 

You see, I’m applying a bit of “Boll Weevil” philosophy here: seeing how Bobby Jr’s unorthodox political stances are causing the Democratic Party Establishment’s heads to explode (strictly metaphorically speaking, of course) and sending their Cancel Culture machine into overdrive, I reckon that this scion of the Kennedy family can severely undermine that Establishment from within, hence the Boll Weevil analogy. (I can’t help but wonder if the rest of the Kennedys have made him an outcast for his anti-orthodoxy.)

But there’s one factor in particular that drove my RFK Jr. donation: his gun rights stance.

Pro-Gun Democrats: An Endangered Species

You see, this isn’t the first time I’ve financially supported a pro-gun Democrat.

Back when the unabashedly pro-2nd Amendment former Senator (D-WV) and SECNAV Jim Webb announced his bid for President back in 2015, I sent him a donation as well and would’ve seriously considered voting for him had he gotten the nomination.

As a side note, Sen. Webb also happens to be the author of one of my all-time favorite non-fiction books, the 2005 bestseller “Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America.” (I readily admit to being biased here, as I share two common bonds with Jim besides our pro-gun stance: Scots-Irish ancestry and USC alumni (Fight On, Troians!)

Alas, since Webb and Max Baucus (formerly of Montana) retired from the Senate, that leaves, to the best of my knowledge, precisely ZERO pro-second amendment Democratic Senators currently serving. And according to my research, there are a whopping four pro-second amendment Dems in the House of Representatives.

RFK’s Jr’s Official Statements on Guns: Mostly Good, But Some Mixed Messages

Most of RFK Jr’s public statements on gun rights indicate that he would be a welcome alternative to the prospect of a second Joe Biden term, a Kamala Harris succession (God forbid), or any other “mainstream” Democrat who seeks the White House in 2024 … which is undoubtedly yet another reason why these mainstreamers hate Bobby so much.

As quoted by Hanna Trudo in a late June 2023 article for The Hill:

“I do not believe that there is, within that second amendment, that there’s anything we can meaningfully do to reduce the trade in the ownership of guns, and I’m not going to take people’s guns away … Anybody who tells you that they’re going to be able to reduce gun violence through gun control at this point I don’t think is being realistic.” 

All is well and good so far. There’s just one snippet from the article that concerns me: 

“Kennedy said that he would get behind a bipartisan assault weapons ban, which the overwhelming majority of Democrats support, but has little chance of getting through Capitol Hill given widespread GOP opposition …’ If we can get a consensus on it, if Republicans and Democrats agree to it and it passes Congress, I would sign it,’ he said.”

Well, as my 19FortyFive colleague Peter Suciu points out, all of this talk in the Beltway about so-called “assault weapons” is pure political grandstanding – or, to borrow one of Beijing Biden’s favorite words, “malarkey” – so hopefully RFK Jr. will come to his senses on that one.

Nonetheless, there’s about a 98 percent likelihood I’ll still vote for the GOP White House nominee in November 2024.

His Uncle Jack’s Second Amendment Legacy

If, by some miracle, Bobby Jr. were to beat the odds and somehow secure the Democratic Party nomination and even the actual Presidency itself, he would be the most pro-gun rights Democrat to do so since his Uncle Jack, better known to the rest of us as John Fitzgerald Kennedy or simply JFK for short.

A brief but informative source on Jack Kennedy’s 2nd Amendment stance comes to us from Kat Ainsworth Stevens in a December 2020 op-ed on The Truth About Guns website titled “Gun History: Was JFK the Last Pro-2A President?”: 

“Adam Johnston over at the Foundation for Economic Education recently wrote an article examining Biden’s anti-gun policies by contrasting them to the gun-related works of JFK, Frederick Douglas, and Samuel Adams. This caught my attention partly because some friends were discussing JFK as the last pro-2A president a few days ago. Johnston states JFK saw the Second Amendment as a right that must be upheld due in part to the fact it protects other rights … JFK was a lifetime member of the NRA, something that might cause heads to explode today, but was seen in a different light nearly sixty years ago. Kennedy was the only Democratic president with a lifetime membership … And yes, JFK’s reputation while in office tended to tilt toward supporting gun rights.” 

From there, Mrs. Ainsworth quotes a speech that then-President Kennedy made on Roosevelt Day, 29 January 1961:

“Today we need a nation of minute men; citizens who are not only prepared to take up arms, but citizens who regard the preservation of freedom as a basic purpose of their daily life and who are willing to consciously work and sacrifice for that freedom. The cause of liberty, the cause of America, cannot succeed with any lesser effort.”

If RFK Jr. truly shares those sentiments, here’s hoping and praying that he doesn’t suffer the same untimely and tragic fate as his father and uncle. 

Christian D. Orr is a Senior Defense Editor for 19FortyFive. He is a former Air Force Security Forces officer, Federal law enforcement officer, and private military contractor (with assignments worked in Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, Kosovo, Japan, Germany, and the Pentagon). Chris holds a B.A. in International Relations from the University of Southern California (USC) and an M.A. in Intelligence Studies (concentration in Terrorism Studies) from American Military University (AMU). He has also been published in The Daily Torch and The Journal of Intelligence and Cyber Security. Last but not least, he is a Companion of the Order of the Naval Order of the United States (NOUS). In his spare time, he enjoys shooting, dining out, cigars, Irish and British pubs, travel, USC Trojans college football, and Washington DC professional sports.

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Christian D. Orr is a former Air Force officer, Federal law enforcement officer, and private military contractor (with assignments worked in Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, Kosovo, Japan, Germany, and the Pentagon).