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The Election Promise Gun Owners Can`t Ignore

Thursday, February 7, 2008

by WAYNE LAPIERRE, NRA Executive Vice President

Editor`s Note: This is the first of a series of stories and analytical pieces by various authors and political observers examining the nightmare years ahead for gun owners if Hillary Clinton is elected president of the United States. This piece takes a hard look at Clinton`s rhetoric today, versus her actions and the draconian gun controls she demanded during her pre-Senate years as self-proclaimed "co-president."

Hillary Clinton: "I support the Second Amendment."

Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton mocks the nation`s 80 million gun owners when she says, "I support the Second Amendment." That cynical pronouncement fits the scripted instructions of former Clinton administration anti- gun activists who preach that to get elected, so-called "progressives" must cloak themselves in Second Amendment rhetoric while pursuing their unchanged anti-gun rights agendas. And it attempts to hide her deep commitment to disarmament of the American people.

Clinton`s scripted, empty embrace of the Second Amendment came in an Oct. 23 Des Moines (Iowa) Register article which she loopholed with, "But I also believe in smart laws that keep guns out of the hands of criminals and terrorists."

Second Amendment Supporter?

Look at her record, and you will understand what she means by "smart laws." As Bill Clinton`s self-proclaimed co-president, and later as the junior U.S. senator from New York, she has been an outspoken radical activist for licensing and registration--and for all manner of gun bans. Meanwhile, she has vigorously opposed state Right-to-Carry laws. As a "progressive" senator, she ranks among the handful of the worst "F"-rated gun banners who voted to support the kind of gunpoint disarmament that marked New Orleans` rogue police actions against law-abiding gun owners in the anarchistic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. (See this month`s "Standing Guard" column on page 8.) Hillary`s wink-and-nod lip service to the Second Amendment is a crude calculation that follows the script written by two former long-time, gun-ban political operatives, Jim Kessler and Jonathan Cowan. To understand the "new" Hillary on gun control, gun owners need to revisit Kessler`s and Cowan`s dialectic where the dictionary terms that automatically connote a threat for gun owners have been altered and softened. Words change, but the actual threats remain the same. As with politicians, the mainstream media is also following their playbook.

It Takes a Dictionary

Bankrolled by dot-com billionaire Andrew McKelvey (pal of billionaire globalist George Soros), the pair--along with former Bill Clinton White House policy and PR specialist Matt Bennett--formed the phony gun-ban front-group Americans for Gun Safety, which has now been transformed into something called the "Third Way." Their aim was to hide all manner of gun control under a sticky coating of "gun safety" sugar. In fact, after extensive polling, they discovered that the American voter had had enough with gun control, and they urged their fellow travelers to abandon the term.

Under an instruction, "Redefine the Issue from Gun Control to Gun Safety," they wrote that, "Gun control has become a loaded term that leads voters to believe that the candidate supports the most restrictive laws." So instead, those candidates can go for exactly the same strictures on gun rights and get away with it if they call the restrictions "progressive gun safety laws." Yet among those "gun safety laws": prohibitions on private ownership of semi-autos, which the progressives would deem "assault weapons."

Thus, Kessler`s and Cowan`s smoke-and-mirrors battle-plan--arrogantly titled, "Taking Back the Second Amendment"--says, " . . . progressives need not change their positions . . . " but simply, "change the rhetoric they employ."

The "blueprint" was formed around public opinion polling that also showed, "Progressives need to be aware of the near-universal support for, and interpretation of, the Second Amendment among all voters . . . that it confers an individual`s right to own firearms."

Thus, they tell anti-gun rights politicians: "It`s critical that progressives recognize that only an aggressive outreach strategy to gun owners will ensure that your opponent`s message about your gun record does not define your candidacy."

In the case of Hillary Clinton, her gun record more than defines her candidacy--and it is very bad indeed. Hiding that record is her game plan for today. If she gets away with it and takes the Oval Office, bank on Kessler, Cowan and Bennett assuming prominent policy positions in a new Clinton administration.

A Cast of "Characters"

So who are these spinmeisters?

Kessler was New York U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer`s legislative and policy director, responsible for Schumer`s leadership role in gaining enactment of the Clinton gun ban on semi-autos.

Cowan was senior advisor and chief of staff to Bill Clinton`s Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo, who in the last days of the Clinton administration was preparing to use the full resources of the federal government to sue the firearm industry into oblivion if they didn`t agree to a "Clinton" code of conduct. Had they succeeded with their extortion scheme, the result would have been court-supervised gun controls far stricter than anything the Congress at the time would ever have considered.

And if Hillary Clinton gets elected, expect to see Cuomo, who is now attorney general of New York, to be nominated to high office. If that happens, expect the federal government to become fully involved in pursuing inventive legal strategies to destroy the firearm industry. (When Cuomo unsuccessfully ran for governor of New York in 2002, Andrew McKelvey and his wife, Dena, donated $90,400 to his campaign.)

So here they are, Cowan and Kessler, scripting soothing words to cover Hillary`s anti-freedom deeds.

When Hillary Clinton embraces the Second Amendment, it is a convenient lie infested with her vision of parasitic "smart laws." So, look at Hillary`s cynical version of her Second Amendment, not in terms of the language she employs, but in terms of what she has done and what she would do to smother the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

In fact, it is essential--even this early in the election cycle--to make sure that people who might be swayed by new rhetoric alone understand that Hillary Clinton`s candidacy is absolutely defined by her record and her record alone.

"Mrs. Clinton, who is considering running for the Senate from New York, where gun control is popular, has also been more forceful than the president in directly taking on the powerful gun lobby . . ."


A short trip down memory lane to Hillary`s days in the White House defines exactly what she would have in store for gun owners with her "smart laws" sucking the life out of the Second Amendment. And it shows who are her allies.

As President Bill Clinton`s first lady, she was the self-appointed co-president. (In fact, in a recent CNN interview slip-of-the-tongue, she referred to herself becoming "president, again.") Especially on gun control, she was a force unto herself. Perhaps The New York Times said it best when on April 8, 1999, it reported:

"Mrs. Clinton, who is considering running for the Senate from New York, where gun control is popular, has also been more forceful than the president in directly taking on the powerful gun lobby . . . "

Another Times lead explained, "Missourians have narrowly voted down the nation`s first statewide ballot proposal to allow concealed weapons." The story crowed: "Hillary Rodham Clinton also lent her voice to the campaign against the proposition. In a recorded telephone message that backers said was mainly intended for women and was sent automatically to 75,000 homes statewide, Mrs. Clinton said of the proposition, `It`s just too dangerous for Missouri families.`"

That was mated with a nasty Times editorial, "A Big Loss for the NRA," that amplified the point: "The Clinton administration, particularly Hillary Rodham Clinton, who taped an effective message pointing out the proposal`s dangers, can justly take pride in the outcome."

James Jay Baker, then the head of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action, rightly predicted the setback was only temporary. Missourians have since placed themselves among the majority of states in recognizing the Right to Carry. But Hillary Clinton, as a gun-ban power, did not really come into her own until the Million Mom March, scheduled for May 15, 2000, just three months after her official announcement that she was running for U.S. senator in New York-- a state where she had only recently claimed residency.

As a major player in the Million Mom March, she followed another script--this one written by Soros protege Rebecca Peters, who had come to the U.S. fresh from her triumph of forcibly disarming peaceable Australians of long guns in her native country. (Today, with hundreds of millions of dollars at her disposal as head of the International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA), Peters is pressing for a worldwide United Nations gun-ban treaty that would trump U.S. law.)

It was through Peters that Soros bankrolled the Million Mom March. Peters had come to the United States under a Soros umbrella, hard on the heels of her successful Australia campaign under which all licensed owners of semi-automatic rifles and shotguns and pump rifles forfeited those legal firearms under threat of imprisonment. Peters called it a "buyback," but it was, in reality, theft by government. Among the firearms Peters labeled as "weapons of war" that were destroyed were thousands of Ruger 10/22s, Browning Sweet 16 shotguns and Remington 760s.

All told, hundreds of thousands of registered guns were turned in by licensed owners. Many of those licensed gun owners were compelled to watch their prized possessions torched or cut with chop saws.

The key to this horror was licensing and registration--which brings us back to Hillary Clinton.

Through her personal connection with CBS executive Donna Dees Thomases, organizer of the Million Mom March, Hillary was an insider, a key personality for that gun-ban extravaganza, which saw master of ceremonies Rosie O`Donnell spewing unforgettable hatred against NRA.

The Washington Times reported that Hillary Clinton met with march leaders at the White House "to plot strategy."

For those who don`t remember, Dees Thomases, characterized in the media hype as an ordinary housewife and mom, was anything but that. She was personal publicist for CBS anchor Dan Rather and for David Letterman, for whom she arranged a Hillary appearance. She was also the sister-in-law of Hillary`s best friend, closest confidant and personal criminal lawyer in the Whitewater scandal, Susan Thomases.

In a New York Times May 10, 2000, pre-march story, headlined, "Mrs. Clinton Backs Gun- Control Initiatives," Hillary indirectly mocked NRA: "Many will argue that we don`t need sensible gun control, and that these measures undermine the rights of gun owners."

In the same breath, she said, "The moms who are marching in Washington this Sunday have it right: we have to license and register all handguns."

The Times elaborated:

"Under the other proposals supported by Mrs. Clinton, prospective gun buyers would have to obtain a photo license, which would be issued only after they had undergone a criminal record check and passed a gun safety examination. Also, all sales of new guns, or transfers of guns, would be recorded in a national registry."

In demanding registration and licensing for America`s 80 million gun owners, Hillary was indeed following a script dictated by Rebecca Peters.

In her book, Looking for a Few Good Moms, Donna Dees Thomases called Rebecca Peters "their fairy godmother," and detailed Peters` agenda: "Rebecca was trying to unite the gun-control movement around a single piece of legislation, a bill that would require the licensing of handgun owners and the registration of all handguns . . . "To hear Rebecca explain it, without licensing and registration, all of the other laws proposed . . . were difficult to enforce." Those "other laws" are presumably the ones in Peters` Australia. And according to Dees Thomases, registration and licensing were the deal breakers. No such demands . . . no Soros money.

Whether Hillary met directly with Peters is something hidden in Clinton White House records. But for certain, Peters, with control of Soros` money, set the agenda for the Million Mom March. She wrote the script, demanded the agenda and Hillary followed it to a "T." Hillary`s embrace of registration and licensing was a large issue in her first campaign for the U.S. Senate. A CNN headline from May 9, 2000, says volumes: "Hillary Clinton renews call for gun licensing and registration."

"If elected to the Senate, Mrs. Clinton said she`d work with Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., on her bill that would require prospective gun buyers to first obtain a gun license ... and a safety course exam. The bill would also establish a national registry to record all gun sales. "Mrs. Clinton also announced her support for the creation of a `ballistic database` for all new guns, requiring gun makers or sellers to fire guns before sale and send that `ballistic fingerprint` to law enforcement."

The first lady, the article added, also sought measures to raise the youth handgun ban from age 18 to 21, to limit gun sales to one per month per adult and to have the Consumer Products Safety Commission regulate guns.

"Mrs. Clinton, who is considering running for the Senate from New York, where gun control is popular, has also been more forceful than the president in directly taking on the powerful gun lobby . . ."


All this set the stage for Hillary Clinton`s aggressive gun-ban advocacy as a real public official--a record that more than earned her a most solid NRA "F" rating among the core leadership of the gun banners in the U.S. Senate.

And it opened the doors to an even cozier and questionable relationship with her soon-to-be benefactor, billionaire George Soros.

In a future issue, we`ll look at Hillary`s attacks on the Second Amendment as a United States senator. But on her pre-Senate record alone, Hillary Clinton`s newfound embrace of the Second Amendment fits in perfectly with a recent characterization by her former political friend, Hollywood mogul David Geffen, who said she and husband Bill Clinton "lie . . . with such ease, it`s disturbing."

And then there`s Obama...

Like Hillary Clinton, presidential candidate Barack Obama is using the scripted rhetorical tricks in the Third Way playbook to the letter. And like Hillary, he is talking our talk while walking their walk.

Obama`s attempt to fool gun rights voters is designed for the politically less savvy and is intentionally opaque. Part of his syrupy rhetoric is an attack on NRA.

"The problem that we`ve had is that the overwhelming majority of gun owners . . . would be amenable to reasonable gun control laws," Obama said. "The NRA`s attitude has been that any restriction is an infringement on the rights of gun owners . . . I think they are oftentimes able to scare law-abiding gun owners . . . "

If anybody should scare gun owners it is Obama--the real Obama, not the scripted actor in the Third Way play.

The freshman Illinois U.S. Senator has embarked on a cynical divide-and-conquer strategy where he would have some firearms owners believe they would be out of harm`s way when it comes to his gun control schemes. In Iowa, a recent headline told it all--"Obama: My wife sees need for rural gun ownership."

Obama set the "common sense" standard for his gun control stance in pledging support to "Ban the sale or transfer of all forms of semi-automatic weapons."


But given the first commandment of the Third Way`s "Taking Back the Second Amendment"-- "progressives need not change their positions . . . " but simply, "change the rhetoric they employ"--the positions he has taken should scream out to anyone hearing his soothing words that begin with, "I respect the Second Amendment." "But . . . "

There is always that word, followed by the inevitable "reasonable" and "common sense" code words created as cover by the Violence Policy Center and the Brady Campaign.

Obama`s Position Versus Rhetoric

Try this for "reasonable." As an Illinois candidate for reelection to the state Senate, Obama set the "common sense" standard for his gun control stance in pledging support on a "1998 National Political Awareness Test" to "Ban the sale or transfer of all forms of semi-automatic weapons."

That position, cited on pro- and anti-gun websites across the net, is such a remarkably harsh choice that it has even been condemned on far-left blogs like the Democratic Underground. In agreeing to the goal of banning commerce in "all forms" of semi-autos, Obama had ratcheted up his position expressed in an earlier questionnaire where Independent Voters of Illinois interviewers garnered his support for a ban on the "manufacture, sale and possession of handguns."

As an Illinois state senator he was an aggressive advocate for all manner of new gun controls. In a state that has gun-owner licensing and de facto firearms registration, he pressed for creating mug-shot files and fingerprint databases for law-abiding gun owners. He voted against legislation giving homeowners an affirmative defense when they use firearms to defend themselves and their families against home invaders and burglars. The true test of his anti-Second Amendment activism, however, is found in his service on the 10-member board of directors of the radical anti-gun money machine, the Joyce Foundation.

That foundation, which has given at least $50 million to anti-Second Amendment forces, is the principal source of capital for the gun ban far-left Violence Policy Center, and for a host of groups like Handgun Free America and the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), which under a recent Joyce grant called for the routine warrantless seizure and destruction of firearms by police agencies.

Yet Obama`s spot on the board was more than ceremonial. According to a puff piece in the Oct. 12, 2007, Boston Globe, Obama considered becoming the CEO of the Joyce Foundation in 2000, after he was defeated in a race for the U.S. Congress. During his tenure at the Joyce Foundation, Obama was involved in the approval of $18,326,183 in anti-Second Amendment grants, including funds for the Consumer Federation of America, which had just hired retiring arch anti-gun U.S. Sen. Howard Metzenbaum.

That grant was to support a backdoor ban on firearms under the guise of "regulation of guns as consumer products." Joyce also gave $600,000 as seed money to create a group whose purpose is to provide anti-gun propaganda to Hollywood filmmakers.

Or try this: Joyce even gave a $1 million grant to the Violence Policy Center to "promote public health-oriented gun policy through research, public education, coalition building and advocacy."

All of the anti-gun rights grant descriptions for the years 1998 through 2001--when Obama was an activist board member--boil down to words like "advocacy," "communications strategies," "comprehensive health and safety regulation of the firearm industry," "policy advocacy activities" or "sound public health regulations of firearms."

Doubtless, if Obama were to ascend to the Oval Office, much of this same pervasive, corrosive work would be carried out by federal agencies like the U.S. Department of Justice, the Center for Disease Control and the Department of Housing and Urban Affairs Development, using tens of millions in taxpayer funding.

Finally, as a U.S. senator, Obama voted against ending punitive lawsuits designed to bankrupt the federally regulated firearm-business community.

With the U.S. Supreme Court about to hear the District of Columbia`s challenge to the U.S. Court of Appeals decision striking down the city`s ban on operable firearms in private homes as unconstitutional, Obama, the Harvard Law School graduate, opined unequivocally that D.C.`s ban was "constitutional." This is coming from a man who, as president, could appoint perhaps three or more members of the U.S. Supreme Court over the next several years.


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.