In a contest of who has more integrity and credibility -- the National Rifle Association or President Bill Clinton -- there is no contest. The NRA wins by a landslide.
No president in the 20th century has abused the office, the Constitution and the truth more than William Jefferson Clinton, who is certainly a sociopath. And, you're darned right: He exploits human tragedy to pursue his own political agenda.
He used the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma as an excuse to attack Rush Limbaugh, a harmless radio critic of the president, and to push through an anti-terrorism bill that was aimed at Palestinians and has nothing to do with domestic terrorism.
When a little boy shot a classmate recently, Clinton exploited that to call for gun-control laws that would have had no bearing whatsoever on the case at hand. Does anyone believe that a low-life uncle with a criminal record would have kept a trigger lock on the stolen pistol the little boy used? And because it was stolen, what has that to do with gun shows?
By the way, you hear to the point of nausea that guns are sold without background checks at gun shows, and that is a classic case of a falsehood by omission. Most guns sold at gun shows are sold by federally licensed dealers, and these dealers must do the background check the same as if they had sold the gun in their store. The only exception to the background check is private collectors who are not dealers but occasionally sell one or two pieces of their collections.
You may think that is a loophole, but only a small number of guns are sold by collectors. The majority of guns used in crimes are either stolen or bought from the back of cars or vans on the street. And, of course, always keep in mind that criminals, by definition, do not obey laws, including any gun-control laws.
The National Rifle Association is a convenient whipping boy for those politicians who want to repeal the Second Amendment and deprive Americans of their right to keep and bear arms. The NRA, however, is one of the most respected and respectable organizations in the United States. It is exactly right when it accuses Clinton of hypocrisy because, although he incessantly has demanded more restrictive laws, Clinton's Justice Department has been woefully inadequate when it comes to enforcing the already-existing laws.
Clinton, who has so often lied, so often disgraced and abused his office, has perfected the art of outrage whenever anyone confronts him with the truth. His diatribe against the NRA is just one more performance of his finger-wagging, "I did not have sex with that woman" routine.
I've had enough of Clinton's posturing and lies. I wish he would take the rest of his term off and go on a long cruise. He doesn't deserve a vacation, but we do deserve one from him.
As for the NRA, you would do well to join it. It was formed in the late 19th century to foster marksmanship and gun safety. It has a long, proud history of supporting and promoting the shooting sports, law enforcement and the U.S. government. The NRA was calling for extra penalties for the illegal use of firearms long before the subject became fashionable.
The only gun-control laws the NRA opposes are those that would restrict honest citizens from exercising their freedom to own and to enjoy their firearms.
On the other hand, the history of the gun-control crowd is one of chicanery, lies, misrepresentations and character assassination attempts against its opponents.
Don't be misled. The subject of the gun-control debate is not guns. It's the Bill of Rights and the rule of law. It's your freedom not your guns they really want to take away.
Published in The Orlando Sentinel on March 21, 2000
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