NRA Explore
APPEARS IN Legal & Legislation

De-Clintonizing America

Thursday, August 24, 2006


By Chris Cox

Thanks to your votes and grassroots efforts, efforts, pro-Second Amendment majorities in Congress have ripped out most of Bill Clinton`s anti-gun legacy. Now, however, anti-gun forces are working to take over control of the Senate and House in November.

There`s no better way to figure out where you need to go than to look at where you`ve been. As the 2006 elections approach, it`s worth looking back at where the Second Amendment stood just a few years ago. The year was 1998. Bill and Hillary Clinton were in the White House. Al Gore was vice president. Janet Reno was attorney general. Consequently, the Right to Keep and Bear Arms was under unrelenting attack.

Lawsuits | Starting in 1998, dozens of cities sued the firearms industry, trying to blame gun makers for the acts of violent criminals. Eager to help the big-city politicians and greedy trial lawyers, the Clinton administration unleashed then-Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Andrew Cuomo, who loudly threatened to throw the federal government`s weight behind the suits.

Several of those lawsuits have now been dismissed under the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, championed by Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, and Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., and signed into law in October 2005. Others have been dismissed in state courts under longstanding common law principles or even withdrawn by plaintiffs as hopeless causes. A handful of cases remain active--including one in the Brooklyn courtroom of Judge Jack Weinstein, who`s helped the plaintiffs at every turn--but there`s no question the industry is in a much stronger position to defend itself today.

Delay and Deny | In 1998, days after the Brady Act`s "waiting period" expired on schedule, Bill Clinton used his weekly radio address to announce that one of his "top priorities [would] be to pass legislation to require a minimum waiting period before a handgun sale becomes final." Top Clinton advisor Rahm Emanuel backed up his boss, claiming the waiting period "is very, very important."

But a pro-Second Amendment Congress wisely rejected Clinton`s anti-gun legislative priorities and, let`s note, crime continued to go down. The bad news is that, unlike the waiting period, the Clinton team has not faded into the sunset. Hillary Clinton sits in the U.S. Senate while plotting a return to the White House, and Rahm Emanuel, now an anti-gun congressman from Illinois, chairs his party`s congressional campaign committee, working day and night to make F-rated Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., the next Speaker of the House.

Janet Reno`s top courtroom lawyer wrote that the Second Amendment doesn`t protect an individual right. John Ashcroft`s Justice Department took the opposite view.

Privacy | In 1998, the Clinton administration--specifically, Janet Reno`s Justice Department--published the first proposed regulations on the National Instant Background Check System (NICS). Despite Congress` language in the Brady Act making clear that NICS couldn`t be used to create a national gun registration system, the Clinton-Reno regulations proposed keeping purchase records on law-abiding gun buyers for up to six months.

Meanwhile, anti-gun plaintiffs` lawyers lined up to rake through confidential batf firearm trace records for evidence to support their conspiracy theories against the gun industry. batf itself released a steady flow of meaningless "trace studies" that provided grist for the anti-gun propaganda mill.

Today, those fishing expeditions have run aground, since a pro-Second Amendment Congress passed several appropriations amendments that prohibit release of sensitive trace information outside law enforcement. The sponsor of those pro-privacy amendments,

Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Kan., was one of the new U.S. representatives swept into office in the 1994 voter backlash against Clinton`s anti-gun schemes, particularly his semi-automatic firearm and magazine ban.

Taxes | Chief Justice John Marshall famously declared, "The power to tax involves the power to destroy." In the `90s that, too, was part of the Clinton agenda. At a 1993 Senate hearing on the ill-fated Clinton health care plan, anti-gun Senator Bill Bradley, D-N.J., asked Hillary Clinton if Congress should impose a 25 percent sales tax on handguns to pay for health care. The First Lady replied, "Speaking personally, I`m all for that."

Then
Now

Reckless lawsuits against gun companies

Illegal record-keeping on gun sales

Taxes on gun buyers

Gun show bans

Second Amendment scorned

Clinton semi-auto firearm and magazine ban

National five-day waiting period

Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act

Tiahrt Amendment to protect gun owners` privacy

Fair tax exemption for gunsmiths

Gun law reforms

Second Amendment supported

Clinton ban sunset

National Instant Check System online

In 2005, by contrast, President Bush signed a little-noticed amendment to federal law that exempts small custom gun makers from federal excise taxes on firearm manufacturing. This seemingly small provision reflected a decades-long effort by NRA and some of America`s finest craftsmen--who had faced extinction due to the government`s occasional efforts to collect years` worth of back payments of a tax that was never meant to apply to them. It also was a direct rejection of anti-gun plans to tax gun ownership out of existence.

Taking the Initiative | We`ve been talking about 1998. But just a year after that, a horrific attack on a Colorado high school shocked America. And although the two killers violated a score of federal firearm laws, many in Congress--egged on by the Clinton White House--wanted to prescribe more of the same bad medicine. The Congress began a grueling, months-long debate over restrictions on our Second Amendment rights, including a plan to register gun show visitors and dealers, then regulate the shows themselves out of business. Senator Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., even wanted to ban online advertising of firearms.

Today, congre

TRENDING NOW

News  

Friday, February 5, 2016

2016 Begins

The 2016 presidential campaign is now officially underway, with the completion of the Iowa caucuses last Monday evening. First the numbers.  On the GOP side, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz finished first, with 28% of the ...

News  

Friday, February 5, 2016

Europeans Discover Virtues of Armed Self-defense as EU Bureaucrats Seek New Gun Controls

At the same time the European Union bureaucrats in Brussels are trying to foist further gun controls on the continent, Europeans are exhibiting a newfound interest in acquiring the tools of self-defense. Though restricted by ...

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

South Carolina: NRA-Endorsed Self-Defense Legislation Passes Committee

Yesterday,  H. 4703 was favorably reported out of the House Judiciary Committee.  This critical self-defense legislation had no opposition ...

Friday, January 15, 2016

Anti-Gun lawmakers Introduce Gun Confiscation Bill in Georgia

With a complete disregard for the U.S. Constitution and the fundamental rights of Georgia residents, state Representative Mary ...

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Arizona: Pro-Gun Bills Scheduled for Hearings Tomorrow

This week, the Arizona State Legislature has scheduled hearings for several important pro-gun bills.

News  

Friday, January 29, 2016

Chief Justice Barack Obama?

Here’s perhaps the most compelling argument we’ve heard against Hillary Clinton’s bid for the White House. Continuing her streak ...

News  

Thursday, February 4, 2016

National Rifle Association Statement on 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Ruling in Kolbe v. Maryland

Fairfax, Va.— Chris W. Cox, the executive director of the National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action, issued the following statement in reaction to today's ruling by the federal 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in ...

News  

Gun Laws  

Friday, January 29, 2016

New Jersey Actor Faces Jail Time over Possession of Air Pistol during Movie Shoot

If it seems as though that every couple of months there is another high-profile gun control injustice in ...

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Utah: 2016 Legislative Session Convenes With “Permitless Carry” in the Works

On January 25, the Utah State Legislature began its 2016 legislative session. This year’s rapid-moving session begins with ...

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -
NRA ILA

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.