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Saturday, December 18, 1999

White House Prepares to Launch 'All-Out Offensive' Against
Second Amendment

from Press Reports

The Clinton-Gore Administration is clearly frustrated over its inability this year to advance legislation attacking our right to keep and bear arms. Now it appears that its frustration is being transformed into action above and beyond the well-publicized lawsuit aimed at intimidating the firearms industry.

According to a Dec. 15 Washington Post story, an unnamed but "senior White House official" stated that the Administration will "prepare an all-out offensive on guns in the coming year." The meeting was run by White House Chief of Staff John D. Podesta, and include Domestic Policy Chief Bruce N. Reed, Deputy Treasury Secretary Stuart E. Eizenstat, Deputy Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr., Vice Presidential Counsel Charles W. Burson, Presidential Adviser Joel Johnson, and HUD Secretary Andrew M. Cuomo. The White House official stated that Podesta would ask those attending the meeting "to come up with a series of actions to build pressure on the gun industry for an agreement and intensify the pressure on Congress to break the logjam on the gun bill and provide the president with a series of executive actions he can take in the weeks and months to come."

While the source would not give details, he did state that the Clinton-Gore plan would include extra spending by the Department of Justice and Department of the Treasury. However, White House Press Secretary Joe Lockhart tipped the President's hand somewhat, when he stated in a Dec. 15 press conference that, "We're exploring using...our executive authority invested in the President...."

The White House is convinced the public wants more "gun control," even though public opinion polls state otherwise, and Americans seem especially united in their opposition to using the courts to attack lawful businesses such as gun manufacturers. A recent poll by the Tarrance Group, for example, found that 84 percent of the public feels that people who use firearms illegally should be held responsible, and only 5 percent feel that manufacturers or retailers should be held responsible for third-party firearm misuse. And in a Dec. 17 editorial, even the Washington Post came out against the Clinton-Gore team's threatened suit. While the Post is in full support of increasing restrictions on law-abiding gun owners, going so far as to support handgun bans, it concedes that Congress, not the courts, is the appropriate venue for making such public policy changes. The editorial refers to the Clinton-Gore-HUD suit as "an abuse of a valuable system, one that could make it less valuable as people come to view the legal system as nothing more than an arm of policymakers."