The Potowmack Institute
NPR's Diane Rehm is another consistent and persistent dereliction. See comments on program, April 12, 2000
The gun lobby has nothing to fear in this discussion for its only political objective: to keep gun ownership outside of accountability to public authority so it can maintain a balance of power between a privately armed populace and any and all government. Part of the strategy is the make sure gun laws are difficult or impossible to enforce so it can proclaim gun laws do not work. It achieved credibility for the assertion in this Sunday morning exchange. A recent Handgun report has documented the efforts to sabotage gun laws and their enforcement. See Handgun Control, Inc., Press Release, March 21, 2000, NRA Hypocrisy Exposed, "The Enforcement Fable."
Sam Donaldson insists he reads his mail. He might start with a disclaimer about his own competence. (.../news.html) George Will received a letter dated February 11, 1991, describing what is really at stake in gun ownership and gun violence. We can expect that he would deny receiving it or having read it, but six weeks later in this column, "America's Crisis of Gun Fire," March 21, 1991, some of the references showed up. He quoted out of context the ubiquitous words from Federalist Paper No. 46 and arrived at the simple-minded recommendation that the Second Amendment should be repealed. He made the same recommendation on David Brinkley's program, December 15, 1991. He was surrounded by Sam Donaldson, Hodding Carter, and Brinkley. All four demonstrated their complete ignorance of the Bill of Rights and how it works. This is the quality of public discourse. George Will has a PhD in political science (Princeton, 1968). Apparently the difference between citizenship under law and government and individual sovereignty, a law unto oneself, in the State of Nature, which is the state of anarchy, was not part of the course of study. Will's column was included in Appendix I of the Potowmack Institute's amicus curiae brief in US v. Emerson as an illustration of the quality of public discourse. Is there any wonder that blood runs in the streets? But then George Will is a creature of the NRA's most obedient servant, the Washington Post.
The gun lobby has invented a whole doctrine of political liberty largely out of that one paragraph in Federalist Paper No. 46. The words in context do not support the claim. They were brought to the attention of ABC News' Michel McQueen (not a part of this discussion) at a forum in March, 1997. (portion of transcript at .../news.html.) She remarked that the news media cannot be concerned with every person's (read, every eccentric crackpot's) "particular truth." This is what we have come to. The fraud is now in federal court seeking certification.
Just as the NRA refers to the Washington Post as the "rabidly antigun Washington Post," Wayne LaPierre builds the NRA's demagogic appeal on the "dishonesty that this man is capable of." The Washington Post and President Clinton are the best friends the NRA has. The NRA should show some gratitude that neither will bring up what James Madison was really describing in Federalist Paper No. 46 and make an issue of what is the real agenda of people who have to be blatantly dishonest to make their case. Federalist Paper No. 46 must be too much to handle. The NRA cannot win what it wants in court but not for the want of trying. It has to rely on demagoguery and fraud. We can hope the US Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit, will provide some enlightenment.
All of the NRA's posturing has the sole objective of keeping gun ownership outside of accountability to public authority so it can have its armed populace fantasy. Stephen Halbrook, the premier insurrectionist theorist, argued for the "armed populace at large" fantasy before the Supreme Court in the NRA's amicus brief in Perpich. It was a nice try by the Supreme Court ignored the assertion. Accountability to public authority means registration of ownership. Registration is the only mechanism by which gun ownership can be effectively regulated. Registration does not mean that an authoritarian absolutist state confiscates all the guns and oppresses a disarmed populace. It means that the exercise of force is authorized or permitted by the state which means by law. Appendix H. It does not mean that we surrender our guns at the door when we enter political community and become citizens. It does mean we put our guns on the table, subject them to laws and the rule of law, and make them available to the political community to be called out to enforce the laws. See amicus brief. In the present political cynicism Charlton Heston is on national television equating accountability to public authority ("licensing") to confiscation. The rule of law becomes tyranny. Mothers Against Drunk Driving should have campaigned against automobile registration and licensing at the same time that they worked to enforce the laws against the drunks. All of us motorists missed the chance to be really free.
What is at stake in gun ownership and gun violence is the most fundamental issues of law, government and citizenship. It is the relationship between citizen and state. It is not about trigger locks, gun shows, public health statistics, and smart guns. But this is the substance of the false progun/antigun impasse of the "two sides" in the transcripts below. The Emerson case and the coming election season are opportunities to breaking out of the impasse and raise the subject on its proper terms. So far there has not been much progress in that direction.
The proper terms start with two points:
1) The Second Amendmend was not about the personal rights of private individuals. It was about military organization. This is crystal clear from the historical record, the militia laws and the early militia court cases. See .../emerarg.html, amicus brief,
.../emerappa.html, Appendix A,
.../emerappc.html, Appendix C, Militia Act,
.../houst1.html, Houston v. Moore (1820).
.../martmott.html, Martin v. Mott (1827). If the gun lobby wants to have its armed populace fantasy, it can fabricate it and campaign for it but the fantasy is a very contemporary invention that has nothing to do with the Second Amendment.
2) The Constitution of the United States is a frame of government with "just powers" that derive from the "consent of the governed" not a treaty among sovereign individuals who give no more than word of honor and promise of good faith. To bring this out, a few simple questions can be put to holders and seekers of public office: Are gun owners citizens under law and government or are they individual sovereigns, laws unto themselves, in the State of Nature? See amicus brief. While they are at it, they might explain what their oath of office obligates them to with regard to maintaining the internal sovereignty of the United States against the NRA's "armed citizen guerrillas" who would "outflank" it or maintain the fantasy of outflanking it. See amicus.
A Call for Tough Gun Laws
Sunday, March 12, 2000
(This is an unedited, uncorrected transcript. [downloaded from ABC's website])
Prepared by Burrelleís Information Services, which takes sole responsibility for accuracy of transcription
COKIE ROBERTS Good morning and welcome to the program. For the first time, Al Gore has pulled into a statistical dead heat with George W. Bush in an ABCNEWS/Washington Post poll. Gore had been trailing Bush for months, but in this survey, the vice president is the preferred choice of 48 percent of those polled, Governor Bush gets 45 percent. Among the issues where Goreís preferred over Bush: gun control. Democrats are hoping that issue will work for them in November and theyíre turning up the heat on Capitol Hill. Hereís ABCís John Martin.
JOHN MARTIN, ABCNEWS (VO) Six-year-old Kayla Rolland, another victim, another funeral. This week in Washington the political battle line on guns was drawn as tightly as ever. One key issue is a seven-month impasse here on Capitol Hill over legislation restricting sales at gun shows to buyers who pass a background check that could take as long as 72 hours. (VO) The president met with House and Senate leaders to seek compromise. Democrats insist there must be a bill with tougher gun show restrictions. Republicans insist there can be no bill with tougher gun show restrictions.
REPRESENTATIVE HENRY HYDE, REPUBLICAN, ILLINOIS The problem revolves around gun shows.
JOHN MARTIN (VO) That same day, Kaylaís mother visited the White House to talk privately with the president. Republicans saw the invitation as evidence the president wanted to exploit the case for political gain. (Clip shown from National Rifle Association commercial)
JOHN MARTIN (VO) Suddenly, the National Rifle Association unleashed a new barrage of TV ads, denouncing the presidentís depiction of the NRA as unwilling to help solve the problem. (Clip shown from National Rifle Association commercial)
JOHN MARTIN (VO) Both sides
SAM DONALDSON Well, against this backdrop of young Kayla Rollandís death, passionate argument over gun control and seeming intransigence on both sides, we went to the White House on Friday to talk to the president about it all, sitting down with him in the Oval Office. And as youíll see, this is a subject that produces a lot of heat. Mr. President, thanks very much for letting us come over and talk to you today.
PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON Youíre welcome, Sam.
SAM DONALDSON You know, among your top legislative priorities, everyone understands, is gun control. You want trigger safety locks. You want a three-day waiting period for the sale at gun shows. You want photo IDs among other things. Going to be tough to get.
SAM DONALDSON The NRA says that the gun manufacturers have trigger locks now. They say all of the guns being manufactured the handguns have the trigger locks, so whatís the big deal?
BILL CLINTON They donít all, actually. Most of them do now. Weíve had a good weíve worked with a lot of the gun manufacturers and they deserve a lot of credit. As for the first time they they they really showed some genuine independence from the NRA line that nothing ever needs to be done, ever. And they they came up with the gun the the child trigger locks. What our legislation would do would be to require the remaining manufacturers to do it. I Iíd also like to see them make those available to retrofit guns because a lot of people who have guns now in their homes would like to buy them you know, like to protect them in that way. But I I think that it would be important. But closing the gun show loophole is really important because a lot of people who now know theyíll be checked in gun stores can go to the urban flea markets or the gun shows and buy a gun and have no background check whatever. And I think thatís a big mistake.
SAM DONALDSON Well, of course, the NRA says, ĎWeíre for that. Weíre for an instant check at gun shows.í And they say the Congress appropriated money for you to put in this system so that the instant check, just like our credit cards, could go through. And they say, ĎWhy hasnít he done it?í
BILL CLINTON Well, not all the records are subject to instant check. For example, we offered, by the way the the most of their allies in Congress want a 24-hour notice/72-hour waiting period at gun shows. And thereís something to be said for that, if itís a weekend show and the people are moving on to somewhere else and all that. So what we offered them was, ĎOK, 24-hours for everyone you can check within 24 hours, but over 90 percent of them you can check in 24 hours. But for those you canít check, because thereís some problem with it, we ought to be able to hold them up for three days. Because the ones that donít check out within 24 hours are 20 times more likely to be rejected because of a problem in the background. So I I think we can work this out.
SAM DONALDSON I canít help remember that little dust-up you had with my colleague, Charlie Gibson, who said, ĎWell, how about registration? I mean, why arenít you for that?í Have you changed your mind about that since Kayla Rolland and these other terrible tragedies?
BILL CLINTON Well, one of the things that I think is the the argument for registration, of course, is that it would make it easier to trace these guns through their various incarnations. And I think you can make a strong argument for it. What I have said is that look, I canít even pass a bill closing the gun show loophole through this Congress. If the people want more done, I think that should be heavily debated in this presidential election. Vice president and Governor Bush are dramatically different (sic) positions on the whole issue of guns and I think it ought to be a big issue in the presidential election so because itís one of the things that will determine the shape of 21st-century America, how we handle safety, whether we keep bringing crime down.
SAM DONALDSON But of course, the gun that killed Kayla Rolland I think it was a .32 apparently had been in the home for some time with the little boy who used it. None of this would have stopped that.
BILL CLINTON Well, one thing that might do something it was another provision that I asked the Congress to pass that I asked them again to pass which is to impose upon adults some responsibility for gun crimes committed by young children if the adults knowingly or recklessly permitted the child to get ahold of a gun. I think that should be a part of the law.
SAM DONALDSON The last time you and I talked about this was after Jonesboro, and one of those shooters there was, I think, 11 years of age. Now we have a child six years of age. What should we do about that child, that little kid?
BILL CLINTON Well, first, I think that what happens to this child in terms of custody who has custody over this child, whereís this child going to go ought to be very carefully debated. Apparently he was in miserable circumstances. I think that in addition to that, heís clearly below the age of criminal responsibility.
SAM DONALDSON And we canít punish that...
BILL CLINTON No, but he...
SAM DONALDSON ...six-year-old, can we?
BILL CLINTON No, but he human nature being what it is, heíll probably wind up punishing himself as time goes on and he comes to realize what heís done.
SAM DONALDSON And do you think people, as he grows up, will point at him and say, ĎThat was the boy who shot that little six-year-oldí...
BILL CLINTON If they know.
SAM DONALDSON ...Ďmany years ago?í
BILL CLINTON If they know. But even if they donít know, heíll know. And one of two things will happen, unless heís very fortunate. Either he will grow up with no conscience because he wonít be able to live with it and then heíll repeat bad acts, or heíll grow up consumed with guilt for something that was beyond his ability to understand when he was six. So that child is going to need a lot of help...
SAM DONALDSON Mr. President...
BILL CLINTON ...and needs to be in a more constructive upbringing. But, you know, look, all of our sympathies are with the child that was killed and that and with her family and trying to prevent that. But the idea that six-year-olds can get ahold of guns is outrageous. And I I I think the adults should be held responsible in some way.
SAM DONALDSON When we come back, the president takes on the National Rifle Association and tells us how he feels about the NRA calling him a liar.
In 1998, 10,994 murders in the U.S. were committed with firearms.
Source: FBI Estimate
ANNOUNCER From ABCNEWS, This Week with Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts, brought to you by...(Commercial Break)
SAM DONALDSON Debate over public issues can be an intense and tough thing. Everyone knows that. But the debate over gun control has suddenly turned very mean and very personal. We resume our interview with President Clinton. By the way, do you own a gun today? You used to, I know.
BILL CLINTON Yes. But I donít have them here in the White House. I have owned when I was a boy I had a .22 when I was 12 and then I had a shotgun and Iíve owned a handgun or two that had been given to me. But I have never kept them in a residence where my daughter slept.
SAM DONALDSON Do you still shoot them today?
BILL CLINTON No, when I Iíve gone hunting a few times since Iíve been president, but Iíve always just gone with friends and borrowed a shotgun when I got there.
SAM DONALDSON Recently?
BILL CLINTON Oh, I when was the last time I went duck hunting? Couple of years ago, I guess.
SAM DONALDSON OK. Well, we started by...
BILL CLINTON But let me say that, you know, I grew up in this culture. Iíve never called for banning guns, banning hunting. Iíve never been against sport shooting. I I believe that people ought to have the right to do these things. The thing that you know, I even had a good relationship with the NRA at one time when I was governor. They did a lot of good things in my state. They helped train people and gun safety courses, young hunters, for example. They helped to resolve property disputes in rural areas of my state where we were worried about people hunting in various areas. They you know, I just think that their knee-jerk reaction to any gun safety measure is wrong.
SAM DONALDSON Well, sir, you you may have once had a good relationship with the NRA, but you donít have it today. Iím sure youíre aware of the new television ads...
BILL CLINTON I am.
SAM DONALDSON ...that they are running. Charlton Heston, himself, very effective, looks in the camera and let me just read a portion of one of them. He says, "Bill Clinton says the NRA stands in the way of sensible gun safety. But it was the NRA who pioneered the criminal background check on gun buyers, not Bill Clinton." He goes on, but he concludes this way, sir. "Mr. Clinton, when what you say is wrong, thatís a mistake. When you know itís wrong, thatís a lie." And thatís tough.
BILL CLINTON Well...
SAM DONALDSON Thatís tough, sir.
BILL CLINTON Hereís a well, let me true or false? The NRA was opposed to the Brady Bill? True. True or false? The NRA was apposed to the assault weapons ban? True. True or false? The NRA happily ended the Congressional careers of brave members of Congress of my party who stood up to them and voted for the Brady Bill and the assault weapons ban? True. Now, they can say they pioneered background checks. You know, thatís a little slight-of-hand, artful wording designed to cover up the fact that they were opposed to the Brady Bill, theyíre opposed to measures that are necessary to in fact close the gun show loophole. Theyíre saying, ĎIf you can do an instant check, itís OK to do those. So we donít we donít mind you checking as long as weíre not put to any inconvenience whatever. But the public safety is not nearly as important as our convenience.í Well, you know, we all go through these airport metal detectors all the time. And a lot of us have to go through two, three, four times if we have a money clip or something. And itís a minor inconvenience but we like it because we all get to stay alive that way. My view is, I have not asked the hunters and sportspeople of this country or the the sellers at these gun shows to undertake inordinate inconvenience, but some little inconvenience to preserve the public safety and to do more to keep guns out of the wrong hands. And you know, all this this sort of wounded rhetoric by the NRA, given how ruthlessly brutal they were to members who were brave enough to vote for the Brady Bill and the assault weapons ban, is a you know, these crocodile tears I donít think itíll wash with the voters.
SAM DONALDSON Mr. President, I...
BILL CLINTON Even with Moses reading the script.
SAM DONALDSON Well, I Iíve been around a long time. Iím old enough to remember people calling Harry Truman, when he sat there in this office, a Communist and a lot of things. But I donít recall a series of well-produced television ads which call the president of the United States a liar. How do you feel about that?
BILL CLINTON Well, thatís the way theyíve treated me for more than a decade. I remember in 1991, the NRA lobbyists in Arkansas came up to me and wanted me to sign a bill that would have prohibited any city in Arkansas from having gun control legislation stronger than the state had. Little Rock at the time was being deluged by these gang members coming back with such serious weapons and cop-killer bullets. They didnít want cop-killer bullets banned. You remember, this is the same NRA true or false? They didnít want cop-killer bullets banned. I heard the true. They didnít want to ban them. So I I vetoed the bill and this young NRA lobbyist in the lobby of the state capitol in Arkansas said, ĎGovernor, youíre going to run for president in 1992 and if you veto this bill we want, we will wipe you out in Texas.í And there were 50 people watching and they were just aghast that this lobbyist would talk to a governor this way. And I knew I was growing up when I didnít hit him. I smiled and I said, ĎYoung fellow, if thatís the way you feel, you saddle up, you get your gun, Iíll get mine, Iíll see you in Texas.í And the rest is history. You know, they basically win through intimidation. People are scared of them. And...
SAM DONALDSON They have almost three and a half million members.
SAM DONALDSON Well, letís forget the name-calling. The NRA spokesman said to me, ĎWeíd like to debate President Clinton.í Would you consider debating Charlton Heston on this issue? No name-calling, debate the issues.
BILL CLINTON Well, I tell you what I want to do. I want to see the issues debated in the Congress.
SAM DONALDSON Mr. President, thanks very much for letting us sit down with you.
BILL CLINTON Thank you.
SAM DONALDSON When we come back, the other side. Cokie Roberts and George Will question the executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, Wayne LaPierre, about all this, in a moment.
75% of Americans say parent should be charged with a crime if their child uses a gun to shoot someone.
Source abcNEWS.com Poll +- 3% Error of Margin 3/7/00
Sunday, March 12, 2000
(This is an unedited, uncorrected transcript.)
Prepared by Burrelleís Information Services, which takes sole responsibility for accuracy of transcription
COKIE ROBERTS Weíre back with George Will. Now that weíve heard President
Clintonís thoughts on gun control, itís time to hear the other side, and
joining us is Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National
Thanks very much for being with us, Mr. LaPierre.
WAYNE LAPIERRE, NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION Thanks. Good being with you.
COKIE ROBERTS Those commercials that weíve seen some of and that Sam referred to in his interview with President Clinton, pretty tough commercials.
WAYNE LAPIERRE Mm-hmm.
COKIE ROBERTS Think theyíre justified?
WAYNE LAPIERRE I do. I mean, Cokie, let me define the level of hon dishonesty that this man is capable of. And Iíve been in this town for 20 years through the political storms. He could have had a bill last summer that included mandatory safety locks with the sale of every gun, included checks at all gun shows on all gun sales with a 24-hour delay, included juvenile Brady, where violent juveniles would be forever prohibited from owning guns, would even have included Dianne Feinsteinís import ban on high-capacity magazines, and he killed it all over the issue of a 72-hour wait. I mean, Iíve come to believe he needs a certain level of violence in this country. Heís willing to accept a certain level of killing to further his political agenda. And the vice president, too. I mean, how else you can can you explain this dishonesty we get out of the administration?
COKIE ROBERTS Thatís a rather extraordinary thing to say, Ďthe president needs a certain level of violence in this country.í
WAYNE LAPIERRE Mm-hmm.
COKIE ROBERTS What are you implying here?
WAYNE LAPIERRE Well, Iím implying that when you look at what works, which is enforcing the gun laws on the books, this president has presided over a complete lack of enforcement. Letís talk about project Exile in Richmond, Virginia: cut murder with guns by 65 percent. NRA, most vocal advocate of it. He has refused to take it nationwide. Theyíve held meetings in DOJ, how to deflect support for the program if it starts to rise on Capitol Hill. Heís been nowhere to be found when we came up with the money for Philadelphia, which I went to Senator Specter and came up with for the program. Theyíve now written the intake rules on cases where, unless you have three or more felony convictions, they donít pick you up for prosecution, so theyíve ruined the program. The money was approved for Camden a year and a half ago. They still havenít launched in Camden. And when Janet Reno, representing Bill Clinton, was sitting before the Senate Judiciary Committee, she looked at the he looked the Senate Judiciary Committee looked at the horrible, shameful rate of prosecutions and said, ĎCan we expect any improvement in this?í and she shook her head and said, ĎNo.í I mean, you canít care about stopping crimes with guns and give the country a complete lack of enforcement of the gun laws on the books, which is what this presidentís done.
COKIE ROBERTS Well, you you you heard the president go through a list of true/false and the list of things that he delineated. He was right. They they were you the NRA did oppose cop-killer bullets, did oppose the Brady law, did oppose the assault weapons ban.
WAYNE LAPIERRE Cokie, we actually wrote the bill that became law that banned armor-piercing what they call cop-killer bullets. We opposed the...
COKIE ROBERTS But in that in I I...
WAYNE LAPIERRE ...opposed the initial definition but...
COKIE ROBERTS Youíre talking about being here for 20 years, I remember when that was being debated.
WAYNE LAPIERRE But keep in mind, the Brady Bill was a it was a wait a volunteer a wait with a voluntary check. What the NRA supported was the instant check thatís on the books today. What we take issue with the president is of these 500,000 cases heís talking about, he doesnít do anything to them except let them walk out the door. I mean, heís had a check on 60 percent of sales at gun shows for the last seven years let them walk out the door. Itís like Clyde is going home to Bonnie after being and saying, ĎBonnie, no gun for us. The president says no.í Youíve got to prosecute these cases and every cop on the street knows it.
COKIE ROBERTS But let me show you something. In the poll that we talked about earlier today, the question, ĎOn whom do you trust to handle gun control?í Gore, 47 percent, Bush 36 percent. Clearly the American people donít agree with you here.
WAYNE LAPIERRE Well, I think they need to understand whatís happening. And when they do understand and weíre going to take the issue face-to-face with the president, the vice president, all through this campaign. They want better enforcement of whatís on the books, according to the brand new John Zogby poll that came out last week. Better enforcement, more laws. They say better enforcement every time.
GEORGE WILL, ABCNEWS As John McCain might say, the the NRA wants everybody. They want Democrats, Republicans, Independents, vegetarians, libertarians maybe not vegetarians, but the NRA wants everybody. But is it safe to say that you would prefer, given the differences in the two parties, to have a Republican president and a Republican Congress?
WAYNE LAPIERRE We have a lot of supporters in both parties. I mean, the truth is the Republican Party as a whole has been much more supportive of the freedom of people to own guns. And also tougher on prosecuting criminal misuse. You know, the president and the vice president have a strategy here: the pollsters and the consultants are telling them, ĎScare suburban women on this issue.í And thatís their strategy. But where those suburban women live, itís as safe as all those foreign countries the president talks about. The violence in this country is a issue of pockets of poverty. And the people that are committing those violence (sic) are drug dealers with guns, gangs with guns and violent felons with guns. Everything theyíre doing with a gun is already prohibited. And the president needs the only way youíre going to get to the bottom of that problem is to start prosecuting and take those people off the street and put them in jail. Suburban women donít have to fear a police officer with a gun or their next door neighbor with a gun.
GEORGE WILL I got...
WAYNE LAPIERRE They have to fear those drug dealers and felons.
GEORGE WILL But the ans...
WAYNE LAPIERRE And weíll get them off the street.
GEORGE WILL But the answer to my question is, yes, that basically youíd prefer to have Republicans controlling Congress and the White House. Given that thatís the case, is there any concession you can make, cosmetic if you will, that will help Republicans on this issue because as Cokie just indicated, theyíre losing on this issue.
WAYNE LAPIERRE I I think the fact is the Republicans offered what the American public Republicans offered last year, they said, ĎMr. President, hereís a bill, mandatory safety locks with the sale of every gun. Hereís checks on every sale at every gun show. Hereís juvenile Brady. Hereís...í And and the president, heís the one who was unbending and he killed it. It I mean, people have to realize the level of rhetoric coming out of this White House is at the outer limits of excess. I mean, I heard the president the other day speculating about the nurturing, loving relationship that crack dealers have for their children. I mean, in my lifetime thereís not been another president capable of this nonsense. If the president would enforce the laws against drug dealers with guns, heíd stop things like that crack house in Michigan.
GEORGE WILL Leaving aside questions of federalism, would the NRA support a law codifying the responsibility, the criminal responsibility of adults who allow guns to fall into the hands of children with harm to follow?
WAYNE LAPIERRE George, we define safety. We have been the number-one safety organization for years. Weíve spent $20 million in the last five years, president hasnít spent a nickel. We if you leave owning a gun...
GEORGE WILL Would you support such a law?
WAYNE LAPIERRE We have. Owning a gun is a responsibility. If you have young children in the house, you leave a loaded gun on a bed, youíre grossly negligent and you ought to be prosecuted.
COKIE ROBERTS But youíre opposing that law in Ohio right now.
WAYNE LAPIERRE You know, it all depends on the wording, Cokie, but we want people that are gross negligent with firearms to be prosecuted. My gosh, we always have. Weíre the safety organization. But but hereís how you keep people safe. President brags about 5,000 prosecutions. Thereís 100 US attorneys. If they were only bringing 10 cases a month against the worst people, heíd have 12,000 prosecutions. If youíre bringing 20 youíd have 24,000. Thereís no way this president can look in a camera and justify those numbers on prosecutions.
COKIE ROBERTS Weíre out of time Mr. LaPierre, but I just want to ask you, the president talked about and Sam talked to the president about a debate with the NRA. Would you like to have that debate?
WAYNE LAPIERRE Iíd love to, Cokie, and I hope youíll put the resources of ABC to check out what I said here today on the prosecution numbers and report back whether Iím telling the truth, Wayne LaPierreís telling the truth, or whether Bill Clinton is. Youíll find Iím telling the truth on these numbers.
COKIE ROBERTS Thank you very much.
WAYNE LAPIERRE Thank you.
COKIE ROBERTS Thanks for being with us. The coming next, the campaign 2000 as John McCain returns to Capitol Hill. Will his reform plans get the reception he hopes? Weíll find out after this.
Handguns comprise one-third of all guns in America but are used in 80% of US gun-related crimes.
[PotowmackForum], interactive posting