June 18, 2012
By Chris Cox
A video on President Barack Obama's 2012 campaign website tells his supporters "Together, we will change America." Another video says that if Obama is re-elected in November, "it's [game] on, because we don't have to worry about re-election." And, by now, everyone knows that early this year, Obama told then-Russian president Dmitri Medvedev, "This is my last election. After my election, I have more flexibility."
On Election Day, Americans will decide not only whether Barack Obama will have the "flexibility" to do what he wants to America until January 2017, but also whether scores of his anti-gun political appointees will have the same "flexibility" to work against gun owners.
At the top of the list of those appointees is a longtime anti-gun crusader: Attorney General Eric Holder. His commitment to the anti-gun cause goes far back in his career. Recently, Breitbart.com unearthed a 1995 C-SPAN video in which Holder, as the Clinton administration's chief federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C., advocated that the government and media "really brainwash people into thinking about guns in a vastly different way" with a campaign "every day, [in] every school, at every level."
Fourteen years later, during Senate hearings on his nomination to the Justice Department's top post, Holder advocated so-called "gun show" legislation that would prohibit private transfers of firearms, even between family members and friends, and equally misnamed "cop killer bullet" legislation that would prohibit most center-fire rifle ammunition.
Then, several weeks after Inauguration Day 2009, Holder — who had been the senior legal adviser to Obama's presidential campaign in 2008 — announced, "As President Obama indicated during the campaign, there are just a few gun-related changes that we would like to make, and among them would be to reinstitute the ban on the sale of 'assault weapons.'"
Congress quickly told Holder and the president that "assault weapon" legislation would be a non-starter on Capitol Hill, and Holder seemed to let the subject drop. But within a few months, agents of Holder's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives began "Operation Fast and Furious." The now-infamous gun-running scheme was intended to let Mexican drug cartels obtain guns from the U.S. and use them to commit crimes in Mexico, so that the administration could point to those crimes as the reason to impose new gun control measures, such as its illegal reporting requirement on multiple rifle sales.
Gun registration schemes like this are nothing new to Holder. He's been advocating them for more than a decade. In 1999, as Deputy Attorney General in the Clinton administration, Holder supported legislation to require firearms dealers to report all firearms received from individual gun owners, along with a three-day waiting period on the purchase of handguns, an increase in the minimum age for handgun possession from 18 to to 21, and a one-per-month limit on handgun purchases. After Clinton left office, Holder wrote in the Washington Post that the BATFE should have "a record of every firearm sale."
Perhaps most telling about Holder's outlook on guns was the position he took in District of Columbia v. Heller, the case that challenged the constitutionality of D.C.'s ban on handguns and having operable firearms in the home. With the case hinging on whether the Second Amendment protects a fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms for self-defense, Holder signed on to a legal brief claiming that the amendment "does not protect firearms possession or use that is unrelated to participation in a well-regulated militia."
Eric Holder may not be the most important reason to defeat Barack Obama in November. The main reason is Obama himself. But with the Department of Justice responsible for enforcing all federal gun laws and representing the government's position on the Second Amendment, our right to keep and bear arms would be better served by sending Holder into retirement.
Chris W. Cox is the Executive Director of the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action and serves as the organization's chief lobbyist. Please give your support to NRA-ILA today by going to www.NRAILA.org/donate.
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