Presidential Campaign Advisory


Presidential Campaign Advisory

(Tuesday, February 29, 2000) — Gun Owners of America has received a large number of inquiries from members about the presidential primary candidates, particularly in the Republican primary.

Members have heard a great deal about how anti-gun the two Democratic contenders are from their own mouths. Both former Senator Bill Bradley and Vice President Al Gore have called for gun owner licensure and registration. If they got their way, the stage would be set for the kind of gun confiscation looming in California and that has occurred already in New York City.

Of the remaining GOP candidates, Sen. John McCain (AZ) and Gov. George W. Bush (TX) are engaged in an increasingly tight race for the brass ring.

GOA finds minor differences between McCain and Bush on firearms issues. If anything, McCain has voted on measures somewhat more anti-gun than Bush.

Both McCain and Bush support the NRA position of closing off private sales at gun shows with the instant background check, although McCain voted for the three day background check if necessary while Bush only supports a one day delay. In either case, GOA thinks this an unwise policy.

Additionally, McCain and Bush both support trigger locks legislation, or as Gun Owners of America more correctly describes it — Lock Up Your Safety. Both candidates would also raise the age for which a young person could own certain semi-automatic rifles or shotguns.

Sen. McCain did support Sen. Bob Smith’s successful effort to gain Senate passage of a funding shut off of the FBI’s registration of gun owners who have their backgrounds checked when buying a gun from a dealer. He also voted against banning guns in school zones, which GOA more aptly describes as the Criminal Protection Act of 1996. However, that same day he voted for the misdemeanor gun ban which has disarmed people for “offenses” as slight as pushing or even yelling at a family member.

On behalf of the shooting community, Gov. Bush did sign into Texas law bills that legalized the carry of concealed firearms in Texas and that made it illegal to bring phony product liability lawsuits against firearms manufacturers.

GOA does not see either Sen. McCain or Gov. Bush as a champion for gun rights or leading the charge against gun owners.

McCain, however, has greatly concerned Gun Owners of America because of his crusade to change the campaign finance laws. His proposal, the McCain-Feingold bill, would make it illegal for GOA to criticize an incumbent candidate within sixty days of an election. In the current situation, that would have been a date in early December 1999. Gov. Bush has little interest in changing the campaign finance laws.

Alan Keyes, who takes a very staunch pro-gun stand, has so far not risen above five percent of the vote in the primaries and shows no likelihood of winning a single delegate.

GOA sees the U.S. House of Representatives as critical to the defense of the Second Amendment. That is where gun owners have the best chance, based on past performance, to stop bad legislation and get proactive legislation started. GOA urges its members to actively support pro-gun candidates in House races with their time, money and votes.

Larry Pratt’s weekly talk radio show can be heard at on the Internet. You can listen live at 11:30 AM Eastern Saturdays and call in to the show toll free at 1-800-773 TALK (8255). The show is archived for 60 days and can be heard that way 24 hours a day, seven days a week by going to the same URL.