No matter what I say, I always receive comments such as:
"Yeah, all, that, but the NRA is our most powerful and best political weapon against confiscatory and other unconstitutional gun laws."
Okay, it's never stated exactly thus, but the point remains that when people get elected to a leadership position in the NRA, they turn into instant wusses.
I object to that, because it inevitably seems as if the NRA leadership is conceding that the second amendment is based upon hunters being able to keep their favorite goose gun. I've never believed that. I always thought that the 2nd Amendment was about the inalienable right for civilians to own firearms, period.
Now, and for several years past (at least for a decade, which is proven by citations exhibited below), the official spokesmen for the NRA have consciously and deliberately espoused "assault weapon" and "Zero Tolerance" limitations on this right.
Both of these terms are anathema to me, because they have been so easily tolerated by leaders in the NRA.
Why do these supposed supporters of the 2nd Amendment say these things? Are they becoming "politically correct" in order to demonstrate that they are not so radical that they are beyond compromise?
Or is it that they really don't believe in the 2nd Amendment, in its literal interpretation?
I think it's a combination of the two, and the only question is whether they're going more Number One or Number Two.
Let's look at quotes from two Elected Leaders of the NRA, and see which is which.
Number One: Zero Tolerance
The following is thanks to a link from The War on Guns, under "Wayne Says No" Speech by Wayne Lapierre (NRA National Meeting of Members; Denver, Colorado; May 1, 1999)
So I would like to take this opportunity to clearly state our positions in a comprehensive way.(Emphasis added)
More than anything, I want to frame my remarks as part of a constructive, respectfully-conducted discourse that will surely follow in the weeks to come.
I wouldn't stand before you today if I didn't believe, and I couldn't prove, that our common-sense policies can have a more immediate impact on violence, and make more citizens safer, than anything that anyone else is proposing.
So I'd like to speak in response to the President's recent press conferences and news appearances. And please, listen not just for what we've done, but for what more we can all do.
First, we believe in absolutely gun-free, zero-tolerance, totally safe schools. That means no guns in America's schools, period ... with the rare exception of law enforcement officers or trained security personnel.
Strike 1: "Zero - Tolerance" policies are the C.Y.A. guidelines which allow incompetent education-plebe bureaucrats to suspend a middle-school boy for drawing a picture of a gun at school.
Or "In late October 2003, a 9-year-old boy was arrested at gunpoint and handcuffed for waving a toy gun over his head while seated on a bench in downtown Lorain as his mother was getting her hair done at the Northern Institute of Cosmetology on Broadway. ... A police officer pointed his gun at the boy's head, ordered him down on the ground and handcuffed him, according to the report.
No, I'm not in favor of "Zero-Tolerance" rules. God forbid that they become laws. But Wayne LaPierre is in favor of them.
Strike 2: Mandatory "Safe Storage" of firearms
That's why, for over a century, we've written the book on safe storage of firearms. We support and encourage the distribution, development and use of safety locks, trigger locks, gun safes, or any voluntary means necessary and appropriate to keep firearms away from, or inoperable by, those who shouldn't have them. We have always condemned anything less.So why does the NRA-ILA publish a "Fact Sheet" opposed to Mandatory Storage/Trigger-Lock Legislation?
Everyone knows that firearms must be stored safely, but most Americans feel that it is not the government`s business to dictate how people store things in their homes. There is no compelling need for such invasions of privacy ..."<>Uh ... wait a minute.
LaPierre says: "We support ... voluntary means necessary and appropriate to keep firearms away from, or inoperable by, those who shouldn't have them." The NRA-ILA is against "mandatory storage/trigger-lock legislation"
Okay, never mind.
Let's move on to Charlton Heston's "There is no reason for anyone to own an AK47" statements.
On May 6, 1997, in a KGO-TV (San Francisco) 'drive-time' interview with Ted Wygant of KGO, newly elected President of NRA Charlton Heston made the following comments:
(Transcript courtesy of WYLDONE on "The Firing Line", December 01, 2001)
VMS TRANSCRIPTVideo Monitoring Services of America, L.P.720 Harrison Street, Suite 320San Francisco, CA 94107(415)543-3361 (415)543-6148 DATE May 6, 1997 TIME 8:00 - 9:00 AM (PT) STATION KGO-AM (ABC)LOCATION San Francisco PROGRAM Morning Drive Time(NB: Boldface emphasis from the source)
Ted Wygant, anchor: Well this is very appropriate to talk with Moses as we talk about it, at least. Now let's say good morning to the man who played it so well, Charleton Heston. Good morning, sir!
Charleton Heston (Actor/NRA Board Member): And good morning to you, Mister Wygant.
Wygant: Well, we're delighted to have you with us, and we appreciate your time because you have taken on a task that I think a lot of folks might have backed away with because a lot of concern about the National Rifle Association.
Heston: Our country belongs to Hercules, doesn't it?
Wygant: Yeah, right. What made you do it? How come you want to get in the middle of this?
Heston: Well, I've, of course, been- found myself in the arena, if you will, on a number of public sector causes. I suppose starting back when I started demonstrating for civil rights back in 1961. Long before it got fashionable in Hollywood. And then the Screen Actors Guild, and the National Endowment For The Arts, and the Separate Theater Group, and so on- and then the Presidential Task force, and the Arts and Humanities. And I've been a member of- of the National Rifle Association for, oh, twenty years or more. When I was a kid in Michigan, in the Depression, I lived in a little hamlet in Northern Michigan with about, oh, a hundred houses which contained easily two hundred and fifty, three hundred fire arms of various kinds. Mostly being used for hunting, of course- food for the table. But I was asked, as is true with all of the jobs I've done. Somebody asked me.
Wygant: Well, you've got quite a task. And- and you've been named first vice president. You- you're a member of the board at-at one point, and gee, you just zipped right up.
Heston: I just was elected to the board on Saturday.
Heston: It's the primary defender of the second amendment of the Bill Of Rights, which is, of course, a core document. The Bill Of Rights is right at the basis of the American idea, those wise old dead white guys that made up the country knew what they were about. And you- it is a mainstream issue. Most Americans, in fact, support the second amendment's right to bear and carry arms, and there are, as you suggest, a few extremists, and some of them are- are on the board. And we have, however, we- they elected- or re-elected in the case of Wayne LaPierre, and elected in my case and Cain Robinson's case- police chief Cain Robinson is now second vice president. We re-elected Marion Hammer as president.
Wygant: Mister Heston, could I ask you to stand by here for just a moment? We have to get to traffic, but I- I do want to continue talking with you. Could you hang in for a minute?
Wygant: Okay, good. Thanks. ****************
Wygant: Okay, right now let's get back to Charleton Heston talking to us from his home in Southern California. Let me ask you, you mentioned that there are some right wing folks- far right wing, still around the NRA. Are you going to try to get them off the board and out of the picture?
Heston: That- that's certainly the intention, and I think it's highly doable. Wayne LaPierre is- is a superb leader, Marion Hammer's a strong president. And I think Cain Robinson and I can provide some useful support there.
Wygant: Now the image of- of the NRA has been an organization that supports the right of people to buy any legal firearms, and, of course, you go to any- any gun store- gun shop and you see things there that are big, and brutal, and deadly, and far more than you need for- for hunting or home protection. Do you stand by- I mean, the image is...
Heston: AK-47's are inappropriate for private ownership, of course.
Wygant: Yeah, but the image is that they're- the fire power of these weapons is far more than a hunter or a homeowner would need. Why is it necessary to have those guns available anyway?
Heston: I just got through telling you. The possession- private possession of AK-47's is entirely inappropriate.
Wygant: Right, but AK-47's one thing, but I've been in a gun shop- I've been in gun shops, and there's fire power there that doest's seem necessary and that people worry about being out there in- in the hands of, you know, potential criminals.
Heston: I'm not certain what you're point is- that there are guns available in gun stores?
Wygant: No, guns that go beyond what a hunter would need. In other words, why does the NRA support guns that have overkill? Let's put it that way. Shouldn't there be some sort of limit?
Heston: Well, for any certain time, AK-47"s are entirely inappropriate for private ownership, and the- the problem, of course, is not guns held by private citizens, but guns held by criminals. And where we have failed, where the government has failed is with entirely cosmetic actions like the Brady Bill, which is meaningless. I'm not even- don't even think it should be repealed because it doesn't do anything. and it's been in- on the books for more than two years. In the course of that time, I think it is, nineteen people have been arrested, and two have been imprisoned felons with felony records for trying to purchase a firearm.
Wygant: Well, we've- we gotta- I really appreciate talking with us. It'll be interesting to see- interesting to see how you handle the public image of the National Rifle Association and those in the far right in the group. And if you don't mind, we'd like to talk to you again.
Heston: I hope we can do that.
Wygant: Alright, thanks very much.
Heston: Mister Wygant.
Wygant: Thank you. Charleton Heston from his home in Southern California, and the KGO Radio News time is 8:23. # # #
I saw this interview on television, and I think it's telling that the original video is not available now, nor was it available within a few days of the original interview. Unfortunately, at the time I first saw it I made no effort to capture the film clip. Well, I was a lot less "geeky" then.
I was then incensed, as I am still, that Charlton Heston stated "