Sen. John F. Kerry | Information Services | Thursday, October 21, 2004
A Letter from John Kerry
(Posted at by John Kerry on November 6, 2003 at 02:22 PM at http://blog.johnkerry.com/blog/archives/000647.html#more
I've spoken to you before about the need for sensible gun safety, but this issue is so important, it deserves another hearing. I believe we must put the safety of our children and families ahead of special interests like the National Rifle Association. I will never pander to the NRA for personal or political expediency.
The Assault Weapons ban is up for renewal next year and under President George W. Bush it could expire. With statistics showing that one in five law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty were killed with assault weapons, we need a President who will ensure that the ban gets extended. I will do just that.
Join with me in my run for the Presidency and together we can fight for reasonable gun safety protections.
Howard Dean, who is also running for President, opposed restrictions on assault weapons. This week the New York Times revealed: "Back when Howard Dean was running for governor of Vermont in 1992, he told the National Rifle Association in a signed questionnaire that he opposed any restrictions on private ownership of assault weapons." [10/31/03].
Dean said he opposed a ban on assault weapons and even opposed the Brady Bill's short waiting period, which allowed law enforcement to conduct background checks on gun purchasers. Howard Dean's opposition to sensible gun safety measures -- important measures that are now on the books and saving lives that the NRA would like to overturn -- is indefensible. And it explains why he has been endorsed by the NRA eight times. More times, by the way, than he's been endorsed by the National Education Association. That means more support from the NRA leadership than from Vermont's teachers.
Howard Dean says he opposed common sense restrictions because he is from Vermont. Yet, two years before Howard Dean told the NRA he opposed a ban on assault weapons, both of Vermont's U.S. Senators had the courage to vote for the assault weapon ban in the U.S. Senate. And other rural state governors - Republicans and Democrats alike - were calling for a waiting period for handgun purchases. Even Ronald Reagan supported the Brady bill. This was an important fight and Howard Dean was on the wrong side.
Now that he's running for President, Howard Dean will tell you that he is a supporter of the Assault Weapons Ban .
I want everyone to understand that you can be responsible about guns -- support the right to own them --and still vote for common sense in this country. I also believe that real leadership is standing up when it counts. That's what I did when we were fighting for the Assault Weapons Ban. The Ban saves lives, protects our police and law enforcement officers and makes sense; and that's what I'll do as President.
I will stand up for gun safety and I'm not afraid to take on the NRA. I'm a hunter and believe in the right of law abiding citizens to own guns, but I've never gone hunting with an AK-47.
We must do more to reduce gun violence in this country. We need a President who will actively urge Congress to extend the Assault Weapons Ban, and stand up to the National Rifle Association. If I am elected President, I will do just that. Help me today by donating to my campaign.