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Hidden Agenda

Tuesday, June 1, 2004

If you thought the eight long years of the Clinton/Gore administration's war on firearms owners' rights were oppressive, they would pale in comparison to what John Kerry would have in store for us if he captures the White House and evicts President George W. Bush in November.

John Kerry--whose record of words and misdeeds on firearms rights has earned him a key place among the most solid "F" candidates ever rated by the National Rifle Association--is now posing as a self-styled"lifelong hunter and gun owner," a faux good old boy who says, "I believe in the Second Amendment."

But as someone who has hunted, he's not one of us. He's a silver-spoon Boston Brahman--an ideological blood brother to his mentor, Teddy Kennedy.

He's married to a multi-millionaire heiress whose "favorite charity," the Tides Foundation, has pumped a small fortune into anti-gun rights schemes.

Kerry, during his 20-year stint in the U.S. Senate, has been an always reliable vote for the anti-gunners and has routinely voted with the gun-ban movement since he was elected as the junior member from Massachusetts. At the heart of the real John Kerry is an unthinking zealot who has never missed an opportunity to work to diminish our rights.

For his long history of anti-gun rights votes and positions, he consistently receives a 100-percent rating from the Brady Campaign (Handgun Control Inc.), the American Bar Association's Special Committee on Gun Violence and from the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (formerly the National Coalition to Ban Handguns). All of these groups deny the existence of an individual right to keep and bear arms, and some are actively using the courts in an attempt to destroy Americans' Second Amendment freedoms.

On issues directly affecting Second Amendment rights, Kerry has voted 51 of 55 times against you on the floor of the Senate. For all we've read lately about how enemies of the Second Amendment are shying away from the "gun control" issue in this election year, a series of votes in the U.S. Senate in March changed all that, with Kerry eagerly taking center stage.

In working to sabotage S.1805(formerly S. 659)--the NRA-backed legislation to stop the endless series of predatory lawsuits aimed at strangling the law-abiding firearms industry--Kerry voted to extend the Clinton gun ban on semi-autos, to make now-legal private gun sales at gun shows criminal acts, and voted to support Ted Kennedy's ammunition ban, which would have prohibited most centerfire hunting rounds.Where Kerry says he "will defend hunting rights," the accolades of "animal rights" activists tell a different story.

The Humane Society of the United States and Fund for Animals--both rabidly anti-hunting--gave John Kerry a 100 percent mark for the first session of the current Congress. They cited John Kerry as among Senators who have "compiled consistently excellent voting records on animal issues . . ." and who "have emerged as animal protection leaders . . . Kerry has cosponsored almost every piece of animal protection legislation . . . introduced on behalf of animals."

Kerry is the poster boy for a secret scheme hatched by billionaire Andrew McKelvey's Americans for Gun Safety, (AGS) whereby anti-gun rights Democratic candidates cloak themselves in rhetorical camouflage, falsely claiming to embrace the Second Amendment and trying to con hunters into believing that their rights are somehow separate from those of other American gun owners.

Don't take my word for it. Here's what AGS wrote in its blueprint for "Taking Back the Second Amendment," prepared last year for the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC). Kerry is following all the dots.

It is a battle plan for deceit that counsels anti-gun rights candidates: "The problem that Democrats have on the gun issue has far less to do with the typical policies they espouse than the rhetoric they employ." (Emphasis added.) In other words, it's not how you vote, but what you say.

So, now confiscatory firearms prohibition is called "sensible gun safety," although the abhorrent concept of the knock-in-the-middle-of-the night is just the same as it always has been.

That theme of dissembling is amplified by an accompanying DLC cover memo announcing, "The DLC and Americans for Gun Safety (AGS) believe that progressives need not change their positions in order to dramatically reduce, and in some cases reverse, conservative advantages with these groups." (Emphasis added.) Groups? Try NRA.

They are talking about lying, about sleight of hand, trickery--basically outright fraud.

"Taking Back the Second Amendment" means recreating the Second Amendment; twisting its clear meaning to the same dark purpose expressed by then-President Clinton's Solicitor General Seth Waxman who wrote in an August 2000 letter to an NRA member: "In light of the constitutional history, it must be considered as settled that there is no personal constitutional right, under the Second Amendment, to own or to use a gun."

Kerry is right in step with the AGS-DLC war-plan: "progressives need not change their positions." Simply change the "rhetoric they employ."In working to sabotage the NRA-backed legislation to stop the endless series of lawsuits aimed at strangling the law-abiding firearms industry, Kerry read the AGS wolf-in-sheep's-clothing script to a tee when the issue was debated on March 4.

He told the Senate, "I believe strongly in the Second Amendment. I believe in the right to bear arms as it has been interpreted in our country" (emphasis added). This is a vital "qualifier" coming from a man who, if elected president, would be nominating federal judges and Supreme Court justices to interpret our rights.

Kerry and also-ran presidential candidate and trial lawyer John Edwards were among those who cast the deciding votes on what proved to be "poison pill" amendments to the lawsuit tort reform bill: Dianne Feinstein's 10-year extension of the Clinton semi-auto ban and a new version of John McCain's so-called "gun show loophole" law, which would criminalize now-legal private commerce between peaceable individuals at gun shows.

Kerry-during his national media performance on the Senate floor -broke a missing-in-action streak that saw him absent from the Senate for 65 percent of all votes in 2003 and every single vote up to that date this year. It's stunning: Out of 20 roll-call votes in 2004, these gun ban votes were the first he cast in the Senate all year.

But he was back-flying from his "super-Tuesday" primary campaigning. Goring gun owners was apparently just too important to miss-this month's cover says it all.

During his Senate appearance, Kerry also went out of his way to directly attack NRA members, saying, "Let's be honest about what we are facing today." Referring to the Clinton gun ban, he said, "The opposition to this common-sense gun safety law is being driven by the powerful NRA special interest leadership and by lobbyists in Washington. I don't believe this is the voice of responsible gun owners across America."


Kerry's attack on the NRA is part of a massive vilification effort led by the Brady Campaign in which he and his surrogates will try to discredit the good works and good reputation of our organization and of those who belong to it, and those who support our goals. It will be part of a race for the White House that will be a campaign of demonization on one hand, deception on the other.

That effort now includes a series of Brady Campaign ads that try to paint NRA as a hate group and try to besmirch the character of leaders like U.S. Senator Larry Craig, who superbly led the March floor fight on behalf of gun owners.

When candidate Kerry talks about his undying support for the Second Amendment, there are two words he never utters. In announcing what he says he recognizes as a "right," Kerry never utters the word "individual." And more importantly, he never repeats the all-important word of the framers--"keep." As we all know, the Second Amendment says in part, " . . . The right of people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

Keeping arms: That means ordinary men and women owning guns; possessing guns; keeping firearms for whatever peaceable reasons we might have.

You won't find the full phrase-"the right to keep and bear arms"-anywhere on his Web site, or in Kerry's speeches, his floor statement, his media interviews or press releases.

Kerry's version of the Second Amendment is that Americans only have the right to bear arms. That verbal sleight of hand fits right in with what the ban-the-gun crowd wants-a future declaration by a Kerry-packed U.S. Supreme Court that the Second Amendment was never intended as an individual right, but that it merely allows the states to muster forces to serve in the National Guard.

Proof of that trickery came during Kerry's Senate speech supporting the Clinton gun ban on semi-automatic firearms. Kerry told the Senate and the nation, "For those who want to wield those weapons, we have a place for them. It is the U.S. military. And we welcome them."

When Kerry talks about the Second Amendment, it is with crossed fingers. And when he talks about the law-abiding men and women of the National Rifle Association, it's easy to hear the disdain in his voice. In fact, his comparison of our organization with the vilest of criminals is shocking.

"I've had the courage to stand up to those who would let our communities be taken over by violence, whether it is organized crime in Boston or standing up to the extremists in the NRA who preach safety and enforcement, but practice extremism and block common sense reform."

That's U.S. Senator John Kerry's opener on the Americans for Gun Safety's Web site. He is actually comparing the 4 million peaceable, law-abiding members of the National Rifle Association to a handful of Boston mobsters, drug lords and a criminal underclass. Clearly the biggest targets of Kerry's wrath are the NRA and NRA members.

If anyone is responsible for criminal violence, however, it is those who coddle criminals. In truth, Kerry's record on tough federal measures to deal harshly with violent criminals speaks volumes concerning his part in allowing "communities to be taken over by violence."

He has steadfastly opposed the death penalty for murderers and rapists, and traitors. In 1996, he voted "No" to legislation that would have limited death penalty appeals-appeals which mock justice for victims by stretching out death sentences into de facto life sentences for the most heartless and vicious criminals.

In 1994, he voted "No" to mandatory prison terms for criminals using firearms in the commission of crimes of violence or drug trafficking.

He voted against international drug control funds; and against increasing penalties for drug offenses.

His wimpy "give peace a chance" attitude on supporting the U.S. military seems to spill over into his support for real law enforcement.

From soft-on-criminals to hard-on-honest gun owners, Kerry continues to try to hide his real record showing where he stands on important issues. And if he thinks he's fooling gun owners on the Second Amendment, Kerry's attempt to pass himself off as "a lifetime hunter" is a bold play at getting the hunter vote, despite his proven record of opposition to gun owners' rights.

And the response to this "I'm a Hunter" ploy in some quarters shows just how much work NRA members have to do in the coming months. Kerry's Iowa pheasant hunt, staged as a photo-op for willing media, brought accolades from some outdoor writers and sportsmen, despite Kerry's longstanding gun-ban tendencies.

"Some hunters also felt an instant kinship with Kerry," wrote James A. Swan on National Review Online. "As Ryan McKinney, the Iowa farmer on whose property Kerry hunted, said, 'It feels a little safer if your presidential hopeful isn't going to go after your typical normal shotgun.'" (Emphasis added.)

But in reality, "your typical normal shotgun" is exactly what Kerry is going after. It is exactly what he is on record as wanting to ban.

He is a prime co-sponsor of S.1431, which would give a future U.S. attorney general power to ban any semi-automatic rifle or shotgun based on a design "procured for use by the United States military or any federal law enforcement agency"--arms which are presumed to be "not particularly suitable for sporting purposes."

The legislation specifically instructs the attorney general that "a firearm shall not be determined to be particularly suitable for sporting purposes solely because the firearm is suitable for use in a sporting event."

So, if the Remington 1100, or 11-87 has ever been procured by the U.S. military or by a federal law enforcement agency, it is automatically presumed to be "not particularly suitable for sporting purposes." Thisdiscounts the purposes for which honest men and women might own those arms, including hunting, as not recognized by the federal government as a "legitimate sporting purpose."

So truth is, Kerry would ban "your typical normal shotgun." But there is even more to it than that.

The precedent of what "sporting purpose" really means, in practice, was covered by the 1989 U.S. Treasury Department import ban that covered firearms the agency said, "although popular among some gun owners for collection, self-defense, combat competitions, or plinking, simply cannot be fairly characterized as sporting rifles." In the same breath, the Treasury Department said its purpose was to "preserve the sportsman's right to sporting firearms."

There is nothing in the Second Amendment that limits the purposes for which peaceable individual Americans "keep" any arms.

Kerry's Web site lays out several quotes from floor statements on gun control. Remarkably, the citations are not from any official journal of the United States Senate-not from the Congressional Record. Instead, it says "Floor Statements: (Via Coalition to Stop Gun Violence Web site)." Yes, Kerry's own campaign Web site links his supporters straight to the site of a gun-ban organization to get to the meat of his beliefs on firearms rights.

The Kerry campaign wants Web surfers to go there. It wants gun-ban supporters to see his real positions on gun control--the positions that earned him the highest marks for supporting the most radical gun control schemes over the years.

On the pages of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV), firearms owners can also see what Kerry's friends would do to our Second Amendment rights if he takes the White House.

The Kerry puffery begins:

"John Kerry has voted with the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence 100 percent of the time." And it brags:

"John Kerry, in 2002 received an 'F' from the National Rifle Association and has a zero percent rating with Gun Owners of America."

Among the lengthy floor statements reproduced on those pages are Kerry's remarks promising to vote for the Brady waiting period bill and taking a swipe at private firearms ownership:

". . . it is not a big deal in terms of fighting crime. It is a first step. I do not even know what kind of step, because it will not change the fact that there are more privately owned weapons in America than there are by the police, Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, National Guard and Coast Guard altogether."

While John Kerry holds his nose, crosses his fingers and claims support for his version of the Second Amendment, there is no such transparent pretension on the part of the CSGV. The bio of Executive Director Josh Horwitz tells us where Kerry will go:

" . . . Horwitz had focused the organization's efforts on closing illegal firearms markets by eliminating unregulated transfers of firearms, pursuing litigation against the gun industry . . . The illegal market strategy included implementation of firearms policies such as universal background checks, licensing, and registration."

Eliminating all unregulated transfers means criminalizing all now-legal firearms commerce between innocent, peaceable private citizens. Give a gun to a friend, go to jail.

The so-called "gun-show" loophole Kerry voted for as a killer amendment to the NRA-backed lawsuit reform bill is a step toward making criminals of any peaceable person transferring a firearm without government permission. As for lawsuits that the legislation was intended to curb, the csgv has vindictively pursued the law-abiding firearms industry in the courts, with Horwitz bluntly telling the Tampa Tribune, "There's not a pot of gold at the end of this. There might be a bunch of bankrupt companies."

The csgv and Horwitz were deeply involved in the worst of a long series of legal actions including the most outrageous--the NAACP New York lawsuit. The suit-which ultimately lost-cost tens of millions of dollars to defend, and was bankrolled by billionaire George Soros. Soros also largely funded the Million Mom March and has funded the Brady Campaign in its efforts to demonize the NRA, and has a bigger goal-a global civil disarmament agenda.

So when Kerry broke his 100 percent streak of missing Senate votes to join his allies Kennedy, Schumer and Feinstein in adding poisonous amendments designed to bring down firearm tort reform, he was saving the bleed-out-the firearms-industry agenda of his pr benefactor, the csgv, and of its billionaire sugar daddy George Soros.

In turn, Soros is pouring tens of millions of dollars into radical leftist "progressive" groups that claim to be outside the new Federal Campaign Finance Law and who are running massive sleight-of-hand stealth campaigns to defeat President George W. Bush and elect Kerry. Among the activities those Soros groups are undertaking are unrestricted broadcast attack advertising intended to defeat Bush. Of course, for groups like NRA, such advertising during pre-election blackout periods would constitute criminal acts. Ironically, this campaign finance law was enacted largely through Soros' massive funding of special interest "reform" groups pushing the anti-free speech legislation.

It is an evil circle.

Soros--whose Open Society Institute proclaimed that it had worked "to reduce the corrupting influence of very large donors to political parties and candidates"--is spending all he wants to buy the White House for John Kerry. And if he succeeds, he will attempt to buy the destruction of the Second Amendment, and to buy influence over Senate consent to Kerry nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Of course, that Supreme Court holds freedom's very future. At stake is the control of government by zealots who have little regard for the real rights of individual Americans, and who see this next four years as an opportunity to change our system from a government of the people, by the people and for the people to a system where the people are merely servants of government.

And at the heart of that threatened change is who will fill upcoming vacancies in the United States Supreme Court. In the last year, we saw a slim 5-to-4 majority of that court deal a terrible blow to the First Amendment, declaring an obviously unconstitutional ban on political free speech to be constitutional. It was unthinkable.

Imagine if the enemies of the Second Amendment were able, through a Kerry presidency, to install their puppets on that court in the near future. That's what we are all facing in this election. If Kerry can pack the court with people like Chuck Schumer, the Second Amendment as an individual right will be rendered null and void.


The NRA Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF) is NRA's political action committee. The NRA-PVF ranks political candidates — irrespective of party affiliation — based on voting records, public statements and their responses to an NRA-PVF questionnaire.