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House Democrats Select Pelosi To Carry Party Banner

Saturday, November 16, 2002

After anti-gun U.S. Representative Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.) announced he would not seek another term as House Minority Leader, there was faint hope that House Democrats might select someone with a better voting record on our Right to Keep and Bear Arms. Those hopes were dashed on Thursday, November 14, when U.S. Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-Cal.) was selected to succeed Gephardt. Even though Gephardt has a very bad record when it comes to the Second Amendment, Pelosi’s is worse. In fact, in 1999, the Representative from San Francisco voted against an amendment offered by U.S. Representative John Doolittle (R-Cal.) that simply asked that legislation being considered at the time recognize that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to arms and that the bill would not impose unconstitutional restrictions on any individuals right to arms. That amendment passed on an overwhelming 337 - 73 vote, with Gephardt voting in favor, along with the majority of Democrats and nearly all Republicans. Pelosi’s new second-in-command is Representative Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), who succeeds her as the Minority Whip. Like Pelosi, Hoyer is more than deserving of his "F" rating from NRA’s Political Victory Fund.

The decision of House Democrats to select as their leader one of the most rabidly anti-gun lawmakers to occupy Congress is rather puzzling. Especially in light of the fact so many anti-gun candidates suffered crushing defeats at the polls on Election Day little more than a week earlier and in the 2000 elections. Furthermore, a recent survey of voters conducted by The Polling Company indicates, yet again, that the vast majority of Americans support our Right to Keep and Bear Arms. Seventy-two percent of those surveyed—a mix of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents—felt that the Democratic Party’s nominee for President in 2004 should "support the Second Amendment." Another 62% said they "wonder if [politicians] even understand my values or way of life" whenever they hear them "talking about gun control and restricting the Second Amendment." Once again, however, the Democratic leadership is stacked with politicians hostile to our Second Amendment rights, while the majority party in Congress—the Republicans—have a leadership line- up that understands gun control does not equate to crime control. While there are many Democrat lawmakers in Congress who support law-abiding gun owners, we wonder what it will take for their leaders to follow suit.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.