Other NRA claims in the mailer include a 1995 quote from Attorney General Eric Holder. The mailer quotes him saying we need to “really brainwash people” against guns. The comment came in a discussion about the need to change public opinion about firearms. As a U.S attorney, Holder said, “What we need to do is change the way in which people think about guns, especially young people, and make it something that’s not cool, that it’s not acceptable, it’s not hip to carry a gun anymore, in the way in which we’ve changed our attitudes about cigarettes.”
The NRA mailer also targets Obama’s regulatory adviser, Cass Sunstein, for saying in 2007 that he wants to ban hunting and that animals should be represented in court. Sunstein, a law professor at Harvard University, did say those things but he also walked back most of his comments in 2009 as he was joining the Obama administration. “I strongly believe that the Second Amendment creates an individual right to possess and use guns for purposes of both hunting and self-defense,” Sunstein said in part. Politifac rated this claim against Sunstein “half true.”
The NRA did earn a “True” for its claim that Obama is “trying to slash funding for the Armed Pilots Program designed to prevent terror attacks.” However, it’s not necessarily clear that a cut to the program — which was scrapped by the Republican-controlled House — should be considered anti-gun. The federal government has budgeted $25 million a year since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to deputize and train volunteer commercial pilots to carry firearms on commercial flights. But as part of his proposed 2013 budget, Obama wants to cut funding for the program in half. “In an ideal world, one without budget constraints, we would fully fund the program. We’re not in that environment, so we are taking reductions,” Transportation Security Administrator John Pistole said. Critics say the move was political. The $12 million-$13 million in potential savings comprises about 0.15 percent of the entire TSA $7.6 billion proposed budget.
Relying on a secondhand quote of Obama — relayed to Washington Post by gun control advocate Sarah Brady — the NRA claimed that “Obama admits he’s coming for our guns, telling Sarah Brady, ‘We are working on (gun control), but under the radar.” The genesis of the quote is a brief 2011 White House meeting between Obama, Brady, her husband Jim, and former Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence president Paul Helmke. Helmke told PolitiFact there was no promise from Obama on gun policy, and certainly no dramatic pledge to come for anyone’s firearms.
Brady told Politifact that her quote has been misinterpreted and that she never spoke with Obama about gun policy. “Whatever I might have said or agreed to was purely speculative as I never spoke to the president myself about this issue,” she said. Whatever was said and what it was referring to is murky, but the NRA took a fragment of an unclear quote and prescribed the most far-reaching, conspiratorial conclusion — when there simply isn’t enough evidence for such a sweeping claim. Politifac rated that claim “Pants on Fire.”
Against the failed lobbying efforts by the NRA, on September 13, 1994, President Bill Clinton signed into law the Federal Assault Weapons Ban that included a prohibition on the manufacture for civilian use of certain assault weapons. This 10-year ban expired on September 13, 2004, as part of the law’s sunset provision. Congress never re-enacted the ban because of the deep-pocketed 4 million member NRA that has a vice-grip on Washington and the unwavering alliance of the Republican Party.
In a recent interview on Fox News Sunday, Supreme Court Judge, Anthony Scalia, said that, “the [second] amendment does not apply to arms that cannot be hand-carried. It’s to keep and bear. So, it doesn’t apply to cannons. But I suppose there are handheld rocket launchers that can bring down airplanes that will have to be (looked at) … it will have to be decided.” “Yes, there are some limitations that can be imposed,” he said. Justice Scalia, the most conservative judge on the Court, is suggesting that limitations on assault weapons could be imposed by the Court if a direct challenge to the Second Amendment were made. I believe that the ban should be reinstated especially in light of the recent Colorado murders, but that’s just my take.