A look at the top three Republican Presidential contenders

Gun Owners of America

The top three Republicans who have declared their candidacy for president are Senator Bob Dole (KS), commentator Pat Buchanan and Senator Phil Gramm (TX).

The following is a brief summary of these three men's views and actions on gun rights:

Senator Bob Dole

On passing the Brady bill:

* On November 23, 1993, the Brady bill was considered dead for the year, having been successfully killed by a bipartisan filibuster.

On November 24, Bob Dole agreed to stop the filibuster and to let the Brady bill pass. This agreement was reached when there were only three senators on the floor -- everyone else was home for Thanksgiving. Just one of the senators on the floor -- Bob Dole being among them -- could have objected to the agreement and thereby prevented the bill's passage. Bob Dole did not object. The Brady bill passed. (Source: Congressional Record, November 24, 1993, pp. S 17090-91.)

* Here's what Sen. Dole had to say about his actions:

I know the Gun Owners of America, another group, have a little different view. They are blaming me for the Brady bill that passed because I sat there with the majority leader and everybody else had gone home, and we made an arrangement. We let that bill pass. I was picketed, and they called me a traitor, and everything else . . . because that happened. (Source: Congressional Record, August 23, 1994, p. S 12363.)

On compromise and banning guns:

* On November 19, 1993, Bob Dole voted for the crime bill -- a bill which also contained the Feinstein gun ban on more than 180 firearms. Moreover, less than two weeks earlier Dole had brokered an agreement which prevented a filibuster on the Feinstein amendment from ever taking place. (Source: Congressional Record, November 10, 1993, p. S15584-5.)

* In January, 1994, Bob Dole urged the President -- on nationwide T.V. -- to support the Senate version of the crime bill that contained the Feinstein gun ban. (Source: Dole's rebuttal to Clinton's State of the Union Address, reprinted in the The Washington Post, 1/26/94.)

On contradictory remarks:

* In March of 1995, Sen. Dole stated that the repeal of the semi-auto ban "is one of my legislative priorities. The Senate will debate this issue in the near future, and I hope to have a bill on President Clinton's desk by this summer" (Sen. Bob Dole to Tanya Metaksa of the NRA, 3/10/95).

* In May of 1995, Sen. Dole asked for a "unanimous consent" agreement that kept the gun ban repeal from being voted on. Dole said, "I further ask unanimous consent that no assault weapons amendments be in order to the terrorism bill . . . " (Congressional Record, 5/26/95, p. S 7610). Per Dole's solicitation, the official Senate calendar for the first day of debate on the terror package clearly stated that, "No assault weapon amendments [shall] be in order to S. 735."

On gun sweeps and amnesties:

* In February of 1994, Dole introduced S. 1815, a bill requiring the government to pay people to turn in their guns.

* Dole also introduced a resolution supporting President Clinton's position on the Chicago gun sweeps (Source: The Washington Times, 4/22/94). The Clinton administration has favored allowing cops to sweep through Chicago's apartment buildings -- without warrants -- to search for guns. Bob Dole supported these efforts.

On support for the BATF

* On June 7, 1995, Dole voted for the terror package (S. 735) which contained a provision to increase the BATF budget by $100 million. (This bill also contained provisions to expand the ability of the military to enforce civilian law and to allow the government to wiretap one's home if a person subject to a wiretap order visits the home.)

Pat Buchanan

On individual rights:

* "The Second Amendment guarantees the fundamental individual right to own, possess, and use personal firearms. This right is a personal and individual right that the Constitution says shall not be infringed. If I am elected President, it won't be." (Source: 1992 Presidential Campaign, Position Statement.)

On states using the 10th Amendment to ignore the Brady law:

* "In Montana, Sheriff Jay Printz refused to enforce the Brady law mandating background checks on gun buyers. . . . U.S. District Judge Charles Lovell ruled in favor of Printz, striking down that part of the Brady law. Under the 10th Amendment, ruled the judge, the federal government cannot force states to allocate resources to carry out federal responsibilities. . . . The 10th Amendment rebellion is a cause that populists and conservatives ought not only to be behind, but out in front of." (Source: New York Post, July 23, 1994.)

Senator Phil Gramm

On compromise and banning guns:

* On November 19, 1993, Sen. Gramm voted for the Crime Bill which contained the Feinstein ban on semi-automatic firearms and the limitation on magazine capacity.

* On August 19, 1994, Gramm argued that if enough money were cut from the pork in the Crime Bill, and that if mandatory minimum sentences were included, the Crime Bill should be supported -- even though the gun ban would remain in the bill. Gramm said,

Take out the $8 billion in pork, take out the get-out-of-jail provision, and let us pass this crime bill. . . . So my plea to the administration is, "Look, don't do a job twice; do it right the first time and let us go ahead and pass this bill." (Source: Congressional Record, August 19, 1994.)

* On August 12, Gramm made similar comments, saying that:

I and others are going to move to take the pork out, take the get-out-of-jail-free provision out, and put the get-tough provisions back in. With those changes made, the bill will pass, and then the President can give America a real crime bill. (Source: Congressional Record, August 12, 1994.)

NOTE: This "real crime bill" which Gramm was supporting would still contain the ban on more than 180 semi-automatic firearms and the limitation on magazine capacity.

On support for the BATF:

* In 1993, Gramm cosponsored S. Con. Res. 12 to "recognize the heroic sacrifice of the Special Agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in Waco, Texas." The bill states that the "sacrifice and dedication" of BATF agents is "a cornerstone of our system of justice" and is a cause for pride.

* On June 7, 1995, Gramm voted for the terror package (S. 735) which contained a provision to increase the BATF budget by $100 million. (This bill also contained provisions to expand the ability of the military to enforce civilian law and to allow the government to wiretap one's home if a person subject to a wiretap order visits the home.)

On support for anti-gun politicians:

* Gramm said that he would consider having Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld as his running mate. (Source: The Boston Globe, February 8, 1995.) Weld has angered gun owners by his broken promise to oppose banning guns. Once in office Weld joined the ranks of those trying to disarm the citizens of the country when he threw his support behind a ban on semi-automatic firearms.

* Sen. Gramm was responsible for Mikhail Gorbachev receiving a $50,000 honorarium from the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee when he spoke at a fund raiser in 1993. (Source: The Washington Times, November 5, 1993.) It did not escape gun owners that Gorbachev was a dictator who not only kept the Russian people disarmed, but also disarmed the Lithuanian people when he invaded their country during his reign of terror at the helm of the Soviet Union.

On the failure of gun control:

* "The sad reality is that we know gun control does not work. The District of Columbia has an outright ban on handguns and assault rifles, and you must register a shotgun. But the District of Columbia with the strongest gun ban in America is, per capita, the murder capital of the world. Why? Because they ban guns, but they do not do much about capital crime. They have crime without punishment. It is really an extension of what we have in America." (Source: Congressional Record, August 25, 1994.)

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