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“Hunting and Fishing Bill of Rights and Responsibilities?”

Friday, November 16, 2007

In an attempt to camouflage and deflect criticism from his anti-gun, anti-sportsmen record, former U.S. Senator and current Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards (D-N.C.) last month proposed a “Hunting and Fishing Bill of Rights and Responsibilities.”

Edwards was recently interviewed by Field & Stream regarding his proposal, provoking heated debate about the former Senator’s true record on issues of concern to gun owners and sportsmen.  In responding to the statements Edwards made in the interview, NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris Cox sent the following letter to the editor of Field & Stream to set the record straight:

“We all know that during political campaigns, candidates try to present the public with only those images they want them to see. It is up to the voters to figure out who the candidates really are. This is particularly true in Presidential politics, making it even more important to look beyond the spin and find the truth.

In a recent story released by Field & Stream, Presidential candidate John Edwards posed as a supporter of gun owners and hunters. This is a complete political fabrication. The readers of Field & Stream deserve to know the truth about John Edwards.

Even a brief look at Edwards’ voting record from his single term in the U.S. Senate shows he is no friend of gun owners or sportsmen. Edwards voted to regulate gun shows out of existence and to renew Bill Clinton’s sweeping gun ban, a gun ban the National Academy of Sciences reported did nothing to curb crime. He opposed the “Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act” that protects America’s firearms industry from reckless lawsuits designed to bankrupt them. He apparently believes that gun makers, which hunters depend on for their firearms, should be at the mercy of anti-gun mayors like Michael Bloomberg who want to use the courts to make guns unavailable to the average American.

Edwards, of course, ran on the ticket with John Kerry at a time when Kerry had sponsored legislation that would have banned common semi-automatic hunting shotguns like the Remington 1100, Browning Auto-5 and Benelli SBE. His running mate told America’s hunters that they could not be trusted with these “assault weapons.”

When he voted on the Senate floor in 2000 to commend the “Million Mom March” gun-ban crowd for its anti-freedom efforts, was he commending them for their loud calls for gun registration and gun owner licensing? Was he applauding their agenda of gun bans, long waiting periods and gun purchase limits?

Hunters know that for our hunting heritage to survive, the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms must be protected from politicians like John Edwards. Wearing a camo jacket for one weekend during an election year does not make John Edwards a sportsman. Voting for anti-gun legislation time after time does make John Edwards an enemy of gun ownership.

John Edwards knows that educated and motivated gun owners and hunters defeated the Kerry/Edwards ticket in 2004. Now he wants to hide his record to avoid that fate in 2008. He can try to hide behind campaign promises and well-worded spin, but we will not forget his real record. It is time for politicians like John Edwards to finally learn that they will be measured by their actions, not their words.”

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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.