With Congress reconvening it is very important to keep in contact with your legislators with regard to your Second Amendment rights. We kept our rights from deteriorating in 1999; we must keep up the pressure. The Juvenile Justice Bill is not dead....
Many state legislatures reconvene in January. Our focus over the past several months has been riveted in Washington, D. C. While Congress fortunately remained in gridlock, we have achieved several important victories - and suffered some losses - in...
The 106th Congress has adjourned for the winter break, and most of our legislators have returned to their home districts. This is the best time to show them that there is a pro-gun element of their constituency that is politically active and vocal....
Â With the school year beginning nationwide some serious attention must be paid to exactly how the school systems are dealing with the recent spate of school shootings. The gun grabbers and their media toadies would like to believe that the answer...
The biggest battle of the year to keep our gun rights has begun in Washington, D. C. With generous and broad-based media support, the Clinton Administration has pushed the notion that some sort of gun control legislation must be passed. With just a...
Congressman Mike Kelly
Sen. Jerry Moran
MORAN EARNS ‘DEFENDER’ RECOGNITION
When Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran recently led a bipartisan group of his colleagues in the Senate to remind President Barack Obama that the controversial United Nations Arms Trade Treaty would not get a warm welcome on Capitol Hill, he was being true to form.
It was Moran who, in early 2012, introduced legislation to protect Second Amendment rights from the U.N. gun control effort, and was developed with the help of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.
When the letter was sent with the names of 50 senators, Moran noted, “The Administration’s recent signing of the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty was a direct dismissal of the bipartisan Senate majority that rejects this treaty. Throughout this process, it has been disturbing to watch the Administration reverse U.S. policies, abandon its own ‘red line’ negotiation principles, admit publicly the treaty’s dangerous ambiguity, and hastily review the final treaty text…The Senate will overwhelmingly oppose ratification, and will not be bound by the treaty.”
The Moran-led group inspired four more senators, all Democrats, to send their own letter to the president. That letter also made it clear that the Arms Trade Treaty, signed in September by Secretary of State John Kerry, could not garner a required two-thirds majority vote to ratify if a vote were held before the entire senate.
Sen. Moran’s Second Amendment Sovereignty Act unveiled in March 2012 was a political shot across the White House bow, warning the Obama administration against attempting to influence Arms Trade Treaty negotiations that might restrict the Second Amendment rights of U.S. citizens. But the president instead cranked up his support for the treaty just hours after his re-election was confirmed last November.
CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb to this day remains alarmed about the impact this treaty, if it were ever to be ratified, could have on hunters, target shooters and every other citizen who exercises his or her Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. CCRKBA kept close tabs on treaty progress over the past year, and it got plenty of discussion during the recent Gun Rights Policy Conference.
“Senator Moran has been on point for American gun owners and the Second Amendment over this treaty since he was elected to the Senate three years ago,” Gottlieb noted. “Some people give lip service to gun rights, but Jerry Moran ‘walks the walk’.”
Sen. Moran first served in the U.S. House of Representatives prior to his 2010 election to the Senate. During his time in the House, he worked on agriculture programs and also was a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee.
He still travels back Kansas every weekend to meet with constituents and stay in touch with the Heartland.
Moran attended Fort Hays State University and the University of Kansas, earning a degree in economics in 1976. After that, he worked at a bank and then went back to the University of Kansas School of Law to earn his J.D. in 1982.
He and his wife, Robba have two daughters, Alex and Kelsey.
When Kerry signed the treaty, Moran was quick to draw a line in the sand. He noted then that signing the treaty was “a direct dismissal of the bipartisan Senate majority that rejects this treaty.”
“Throughout this process,” he stated, “it has been disturbing to watch the Administration reverse U.S. policies, abandon its own ‘red line’ negotiation principles, admit publicly the treaty’s dangerous ambiguity, and hastily review the final treaty text. It is regretful that the Administration has nonetheless continued to press forward and sign the treaty…”
‘HEAD’ OF HIS CLASS, CO. PLUMBER SHOWS HOW TO FIGHT BACK
Call Victor Head a “Don Quixote” if you want, but the Colorado plumber who spearheaded a recall campaign against anti-gun Democrat State Sen. Angela Giron in September showed America once again that one determined person can inspire determination in others, and ultimately make a difference.
Giron is now out of a job, and Colorado voters in her district, and that of fellow anti-gun Democrat Sen. John Morse, fired a political bow shot heard ‘round the world. The message was simple and lawmakers all over the American landscape have taken notice: If you vote against a constitutionally-enumerated fundamental civil right, there are consequences.
The newspapers have called this recall campaign a classic case of “David versus Goliath” because head not only faced awesome resistance from a political machine that had the financial backing of anti-gun New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, state Democrats and anti-gunners from all over the nation, but also from people in his own Republican party, and from a high-profile Colorado-based gun rights activist.
By some accounts, pro-Democrat groups spent some $3 million to keep Giron and Morse in office. That would mean they outspent recall supporters many times over.
The recall of any public official is a monumental undertaking, and many such efforts have failed, sometimes miserably. Recall campaigns can get ugly, personal and financially devastating, and it takes something special to champion a cause, see it through and win.
Twenty-nine-year-old Victor Head appears to have what it takes, and then some. In March, after Colorado Democrats rammed through extremist gun control measures, Head emerged as one of many Centennial State gun owners who had had enough, and he has become something of an icon among conservative organizations that promote grassroots activism.
A native of Pueblo, he runs a plumbing operation with his brother, Adam. Both had lived out of state for a while, but returned to be with their parents and siblings, landing right in the middle of history.
As he told it to Point Blank, Victor is a recreational shooter and Adam is the hunting enthusiast. Between them, they own several firearms, and Colorado’s new laws make it difficult, if not impossible, for them to share guns back and forth. Head even has concerns that his girlfriend could not legally use his Remington Model 870 shotgun for home defense if the need arises.
That inability to legally loan or borrow firearms, he explained in a telephone interview, was the catalyst for his activism.
As the Colorado Observer noted in a profile of Head’s effort, the plumber “had virtually nothing: No money, no college degree, no support from national or state gun-rights groups, and probably no clue as to what he was getting himself into.”
That sounds like a description that could fit a lot of Americans who stand up when the need arises. During the course of his political summer, Victor observed a birthday and so did his brother, but they couldn’t celebrate until after the election, and then they really had something to celebrate.
Against the odds, Victor Head’s effort demonstrated that angry citizens can fire the people they hire to represent their interests, even when those interests involve gun rights, a subject that is none too popular with the mainstream press.
Political pundits gave Giron slight odds of success, figuring that she would squeak through and emerge the victor, even if by the proverbial skin of her teeth.
When the votes were counted, she took what many might call a political drubbing, losing in her heavily-Democratic Third District by 56 to 44 percent. What this proved is that Democrats are not all anti-gunners, and they can be just as ferocious about defending their gun rights when push comes to shove.
“Little people” aren’t so little, after all. What Victor Head demonstrated in Colorado is that when politicians turn a deaf ear to the concerns of their constituents, the voters can crank up the volume. The noise they make is like the sound of a freight train that no amount of money from a New York mayor can derail.
All it takes is for someone to climb into the engineer’s seat. Victor Head stepped forward and because of that, he’s our Gun Rights Defender of the Month.
Sheriff David A. Clarke, Jr.
MILWAUKEE COUNTY, WI SHERIFF DAVID A. CLARK EARNS ACCOLADES FOR BLUNT TALK
Milwaukee County, WI Sheriff David A. Clarke, Jr. made headlines earlier this year when he advised residents in his jurisdiction to take a firearms safety course and arm themselves against criminals while waiting for a police response.
More recently, he was in the news for suggesting that armed citizens who defend themselves with lethal force should get their firearms returned within 48 hours of being cleared of criminal charges. This occurred when he attended a packed house event at Kochanski’s Concertina Beer Hall on Milwaukee’s south side where a concealed carry class was being held just nine days after bar owner Andy Kochanski fatally shot one of three would-be robbers.
Sheriff Clarke said current procedures take away Kochanski’s freedom “to possibly have to act again tonight.”
“If Andy would have reached for the phone instead of his firearm,” the sheriff said, “we might been here today for a memorial service for Andy.”
Point Blank had spoken to Kochanski about one week after the shooting, and just a few days after the prosecutor had determined that he acted in self-defense when he fired.
Considering Sheriff Clarke’s background, it would have seemed unusual for him to not appear at the event, as he has been an outspoken advocate of armed self-defense for some time.
The 56-year-old sheriff grew up in Milwaukee and began his law enforcement career as a patrolman with the Milwaukee Police Department in 1978 at the age of 21. He later worked as a homicide investigator promoted to detective in 1989 and rose through the chain of command, as a detective lieutenant three years later.
He was promoted to captain in 1996 and became a commander of the department’s First District. Three years later he took over as commander of the department’s Intelligence Division.
In 2002, he was appointed sheriff and was re-elected to that position by wide margins twice, in 2006 and again in 2010.
“Clarke graduated summa cum laude from Concordia University Wisconsin with a degree in Criminal Justice Management,” according to his biography. “In May 2003, Concordia honored him with the Alumnus of the Year Award. Sheriff Clarke is a graduate of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia. This prestigious school trains law enforcement executives from all over the world, and provides management and leadership instruction. In July 2004, he completed the intensive three-week Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government, at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.”
A member of the Milwaukee County Council Boy Scouts board of directors and several organizations, Sheriff Clarke came out candidly when he did a public service announcement early in 2013 that said this:
“I’m Sheriff David Clarke and I want to talk to you about something personal: your safety. It’s no longer a spectator sport; I need you in the game. But are you ready? With officers laid off and furloughed, simply calling 911 and waiting is no longer your best option. You can beg for mercy from a violent criminal, hide under the bed, or you can fight back. But are you prepared? Consider taking a certified safety course in handling a firearm so you can defend yourself until we get there. You have a duty to protect yourself and your family.”
Clarke’s message infuriated anti-gunners, but it made perfect sense to firearms owners who know that even with the best effort, police cannot be everywhere all the time, and it takes time for them to respond to emergency calls.
For his candor in explaining the obvious about firearms and self-defense, Sheriff Clarke is recognized as September’s Defender of the Month.
He lives on Milwaukee’s northwest side with his wife, Julie, a realtor, in a home they built. They are members of the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist parish.
Gov. Rick Scott
FL GOV. SCOTT REFUSED TO SUCCUMB TO HYSTERIA
When protesters angry over the verdict in the George Zimmerman case demanded that Florida Gov. Rick Scott do something about the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law, the Republican governor stood his own ground and said “No.”
Stand Your Ground was not an issue in the Zimmerman trial and Gov. Scott knew that. He also realized that the country was watching, and it required some serious political backbone to take a position that was hardly popular with the protesters or many in the media.
The governor met with several of the protesters, who reportedly wanted him to call a special session of the Legislature to repeal the statute, and he wouldn’t do it. In a statement to the press following that meeting, Gov. Scott noted, “The protesters again asked that I call a special session of the Legislature to repeal Florida’s Stand Your Ground law. I told them that I agree with the Task Force on Citizen Safety and Protection, which concurred with the law. I also reminded them of their right to share their views with their state legislators and let them know their opinions on the law.”
Rather than succumb to government by mob rule, Gov. Scott obviously gave the protesters a quick lesson in the real legislative process, no small feat when the crowd has broad media support that was hardly secretive about its sentiments.
A video of the meeting that was aired by MSNBC had Scott telling the protesters, “If you believe that stand your ground should be repealed, tell them why and give them your experiences and why if you believe that it causes people actually to do the opposite of what was the intention, give me your examples.”
Pressure on Scott started more than a year ago, leading him to do the right thing by appointing a task force to examine the SYG law. Public meetings were held around the state, and when it was finished, the task force concurred with the law.
A Navy veteran and graduate of the University of Missouri-Kansas City and Southern Methodist University law school, Scott is Florida’s 45th governor. He came to the Sunshine State in a roundabout way. According to his biography, Gov. Scott was born in Bloomington, Ill., but grew up in Kansas City, Mo. His father, a WWII veteran who served with the 82nd Airborne, was a bus and truck driver and his mother was a clerk at the JC Penney store.
Scott married his high school sweetheart, and the couple has two daughters, Allison and Jordan, and a grandson, Auguste.
The governor not only has a law degree, he also has a degree in business administration from UMKC.
He worked at the Johnson & Swanson law firm in Dallas for a time, and started Columbia Hospital Corporation with his wife. He also started the Conservatives for Patient’s Rights organization.
The governor has considerable experience working tough issues, and perhaps none have been so politically volatile as the aftermath of the Trayvon Martin shooting by Zimmerman, who was found not guilty of second-degree murder in July. That trial and verdict set off a chain of events that included protests and demonstrations across the nation. Florida’s self-defense laws fell under the spotlight, with the focus of anti-gunners being squarely on SYG, which had nothing to do with the actual case, but became a convenient target because the Left dislikes armed self-defense.
But after occupying his office for more than a day, the governor finally met with protesters and told them he would not go along with their proposal to bring back the Legislature to deal with the law.
The right of armed citizens to defend themselves in any place they have a right to be is a cornerstone of self-defense. More than half of the states have such laws, and Gov. Scott made it clear he would not throw his state law under a political bus. It was a courageous move that earns him recognition as the Defender of the Month.
Mayor Lawrence J. Morrissey
ILLINOIS MAYOR SHOWS BACKBONE
When it comes to making a point, it might be hard to find anyone who could do it with quite the splash exhibited in June by Lawrence J. “Larry” Morrissey, the mayor of Rockford, Ill.
This native-born son, first elected to office in 2005, just won re-election in April to a third term, and at a public event about seven weeks later, he announced that he would be applying for a concealed carry permit when the Legislature finally adopts a carry law.
As if that wasn’t enough of a bombshell, the politically independent Morrissey revealed that he had quit the Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the gun control group disguised as a mayors’ organization that was founded by anti-gun New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. That got headlines, not for the fact that he resigned from the group, but for what he said in the process.
According to the Rockford Register Star, the hometown newspaper that endorsed his re-election and has covered his political career, Morrissey told an audience, “”The reason why I joined the group in the first place was because I took the name for what it said, against illegal guns.”
He told the crowd that he hadn’t anticipated the Bloomberg group’s focus would turn to banning so-called “assault weapons” or original capacity magazines for those and other firearms.
“As the original mission swayed,” the newspaper quoted him as stating, “that’s when I decided it was no longer in line with my beliefs.”
Morrissey is not the first mayor to leave the MAIG collective. But he certainly did it with style.
Mayor Morrissey’s announcement came coincidentally with a string of embarrassing revelations for the Bloomberg group that left CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb calling on New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to launch an investigation. One of the disclosures was that MAIG’s website was owned by the New York City official government server. Translation: City employees were apparently administering the site, on public time at public expense.
This came only a few days after it was revealed that the MAIG “No More Names” anti-gun-rights bus tour was including the names of murder suspects and Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev on their list of “gun violence victims.”
According to the Rockford Register Star, Morrissey is the recipient of death threats. That may not be unusual for a politician, but his approach to the dilemma is not to make a big media splash about banning guns, but to announce that as soon as he is legally able, he’s going to be carrying a gun. How many other chief executives of large cities in Illinois or elsewhere have made that announcement?
“Any doubt that I might have had in my opinions about concealed carry when I first came into office changed quickly as I became an elected official and became very familiar with the types of crimes we’re dealing with,” Morrissey told an audience of about 200 people at a local watering hole and restaurant. “The focus should not be against law-abiding citizens.”
It takes a certain amount of backbone for a public official to essentially tell the world that he is going to be armed at the same time he’s poking one of the wealthiest anti-gunners in the country that he’s finished with the Bloomberg organization.
But Mayor Morrissey appears to have a solid handle on the problem. The majority of gun-related crime in his community, as it is elsewhere, is committed by people who cannot legally own or possess firearms in the first place. The answer to that, he explained, is not cracking down on law-abiding citizens.
SHEPHERD PROMOTES ACTIVISM IN NAT’L TOUR
In early May, veteran outdoor writer and media professional Jim Shepherd launched a “road trip” tour to promote what he calls the “My Time to Stand” campaign, aimed at building activism and involvement at the grassroots level.
Shepherd, editor and publisher of The Outdoor Wire Digital Network and partner in 357 Media – the company that produces Guns & Gear, the television show hosted by Tom and Ryan Gresham – is not simply a proponent of the Second Amendment, he is a devotee. When Point Blank contacted him recently, he was at the Bianchi Cup as a participant; the all-too-rare media professional who “walks the walk” as well as “talks the talk.” When this guy talks about guns, you know he’s handled them, shot them and owned a few.
He joked about his poor performance at Bianchi, but then noted that others were having the same experience, which suggests that his gun hand is a little sharper than he lets on, and that he doesn’t take it too seriously when he is enjoying an activity without winning.
Shepherd’s “MyTime2Stand.com” effort is going to travel all over the country between now and the second week of November, when he will end up at the Smith & Wesson Academy for the first-ever “back-up gun championships.” In the meantime, he will be at the Gun Rights Policy Conference in Houston, which is co-hosted by the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and the Second Amendment Foundation. He will also be showing up at gun-related events in Washington, Oregon, Arkansas, Kentucky, Iowa, Indiana “and a couple of others I don’t remember right now.”
A Kentucky native, he has worked for CNN, was the executive producer of the PBS Nightly Business Report and went to New York as the news director of the Financial News Network before moving to Birmingham, Ala., in 1990. He worked for the Golf Radio Network, and he has also owned two television production companies and studios in Atlanta, Dallas, Colorado Springs, Stamford and Los Angeles.
But this guy’s heart has never been far from the outdoors, nor any distance at all from the Second Amendment, and he recognizes now that gun rights is part of the American fabric even when it is disguised as hunting, competition or recreational shooting.
Shepherd’s road trip effort will be high-profile, with a specially-painted Jeep and small trailer bearing the red, white and blue stars and stripes of the American flag. With him, it’s a very personal endeavor, as he believes that more people need to be involved in the system, they need to stand for what is right and now is the time to do that.
Married for 34 years to his wife, Leigh, they have two daughters, Lauren and Erica.
Shepherd not only operates the weekday-published Outdoor Wire, he also has the Fishing Wire, Tactical Wire, and Birding, Shooting, Archery and Dealer wires.
“We have nearly 500,000 individual subscribers across the services, and deliver more than 3,000,000 copies per week,” he says.
This summer-long odyssey that will stretch into mid-autumn, touching several states and hopefully tens of thousands of people is already getting attention. That Jeep and trailer are pretty hard to ignore as they cruise along the highways and city streets.
He will not be constantly on the road, of course, but the schedule will put him in front of a lot of people, and perhaps earn some media attention.
A true “gentleman of the old school,” Shepherd’s pro-gun digital news services are considered daily “must” reading by sportsmen and activists all over the map. For his contribution to public awareness and the promotion of responsible firearms ownership, sportsmanship and safe shooting, he earns recognition as the Defender of the Month.
Sheriff Ken Campbell
INDIANA SHERIFF IS GUN RIGHTS DEFENDER
In the midst of this year’s controversy over magazine bans and limits, one Indiana sheriff stepped forward to pop some myths regarding these accessories, and he did it on camera in a video that streaked all over cyberspace.
Boone County Sheriff Ken Campbell was not attempting to defend the Second Amendment, but he was interested in telling the truth. For a public official who puts facts ahead of causes and perhaps puts his credibility on the line, what the veteran lawman did was above and beyond.
The video, obtained by the Citizens Committee for the Right to keep and Bear Arms showed a series of shooting exercises involving an experienced male shooter and novice female. Sheriff Campbell demonstrated that shooters using smaller capacity magazines can fire just as fast, and in some cases even faster despite having to reload. The video was funded by ArmaLite and Campbell supervised the testing and shooting.
Sheriff Campbell told CCRKBA Communications Director Dave Workman that the video demonstration was filmed at the American Institute of Marksmanship near Cave City, Ky. Because of his background as an instructor and range master at the famous Gunsite Academy, Sheriff Campbell was recruited to provide a no-spin, matter-of-fact explanation of what is in the video.
CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb said at the time that the 14-minute video “throws cold water on anti-gunners who argue that magazine limitations are necessary to prevent mass shootings. We are all indebted to ArmaLite for this informative effort.”
No small amount of credit goes to Campbell for coming across the Ohio River to a Kentucky gun range, in uniform, to appear in the video.
The sheriff said he hoped that viewers would observe the exercise and its findings and conclude “there’s some credibility there.”
“They said they want to do this and be non-partisan about it,” Sheriff Campbell explained to Workman, “and let the data speak for itself.”
But what Sheriff Campbell said next underscores why he is being recognized this month as a Gun Rights Defender.
“I’m an office holder,” he explained. “I’m not a department head. A chief of police serves at the pleasure of a mayor and the chief needs to do what the mayor says to retain that position. I answer to the voters every four years.”
Sheriff Campbell notes in the video that, “One of the reasons that the magazine restrictions are being proposed is the perception that if the active shooter has fewer bullets in magazines he will have to reload sooner and this will create an opportunity for someone to tackle him during the reload.”
The video corrects that misimpression, and thanks largely to his matter-of-fact presentation of the facts, Sheriff Campbell helped put the myth to all of the anti-gun rhetoric.
Sen. Tom Coburn
COBURN EARNS DEFENDER RECOGNITION!
U.S. Senator Tom Coburn has, as a cornerstone to his career, been a stalwart when it comes to gun rights and the Second Amendment, so when he accepted the invitation to join the national advisory council for the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, Chairman Alan Gottlieb was delighted.
“American gun owners know Tom Coburn as a devoted defender of the Second Amendment, and his addition to our National Advisory Council can only be seen as a considerable asset in our efforts to protect the right to keep and bear arms,” Gottlieb stated. “His ability to recognize these attempted backdoor erosions of gun rights is exactly what makes his addition to our advisory council so important at this moment in history.”
A former businessman, Sen. Coburn graduated from Oklahoma State University in 1970 with a degree in accounting. After operating and growing a successful business, he returned to college to become a physician, graduating from the University of Oklahoma Medical School in 1983, where he was class president. He interned as a general surgeon at St. Anthony’s Hospital in Oklahoma City, and did a family practice residency at the University of Arkansas.
Recently, the senator made headlines when he walked away from an invasive background check measure proposed by anti-gun Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY). He raised serious concerns about proposed background check legislation that could establish a de facto gun registration system. The Senate Judiciary Committee passed the measure on a strict 10-8 party line vote, but it may not fare as well before the entire Senate.
“Tom Coburn is smart, attentive to details and he is not afraid to ask the tough questions on Capitol Hill,” Gottlieb observed. “That’s the kind of fellow whose advice on Second Amendment issues might easily be considered the gold standard.”
Prior to serving in the U.S. Senate, Coburn served three terms in the House of Representatives, stepping down in 2001 to fulfill his promise of self-imposed term limits. He was elected to the Senate in 2004. He and his wife, Carolyn, also a graduate of Oklahoma State University, have been married since 1968. They have three children and seven grandchildren.
“CCRKBA is proud to welcome Sen. Coburn to our advisory council,” Gottlieb noted. “With anti-gun rhetoric spreading like an epidemic, Tom Coburn’s experience and skill on Capitol Hill is strong medicine.
“Likewise,” he added, “we are fortunate to have such a Second Amendment champion on Capitol Hill. His public service has been highlighted by a series of efforts to protect the right to keep and bear arms, and that’s why he is so deserving of recognition as the Gun Rights Defender of the month.”
Sen. Ted Cruz
The blood literally had not dried in Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. last December when the latest major assault on guns and gun owners began.
It was clear from the outset that gun control had been selected to be the showpiece — the Obamacare — of President Obama’s second term, but rising to stand in the way was freshman Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who has earned recognition as the CCRKBA’s Gun Rights Defender of the Month award winner for March.
Anti-gunners wasted no time in going into full campaign mode, complete with choreographed events ranging from a blue ribbon “Commission on Gun Violence” headed by Vice President Joe Biden and populated by anti-gun police executives and like-minded individuals to a stage-managed State of the Union address filled with victims of “gun violence” with a Presidential mantra of “give them a vote” to special hearings on Capitol Hill by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
As the rhetoric has heated up, Senator Cruz willingly took a lead role on countering this campaign. He distinguished himself on a number of fronts.
Chicago Mayor (and former Obama White House Chief of Staff) Rahm Emanuel introduced thuggish Chicago politics into the equation, demanding banks that loaned money to firearm manufacturers to cut their line of credit. This was an unprecedented and totally inappropriate invasion of private commerce by a governmental agent. Senator Cruz immediately responded by sending a letter to the banks in question and to the firearm manufacturers condemning Emanuel’s actions in the strongest term. In the letter, he said “We (in Texas) do not accept the notion that government officials should behave like bullies, trying to harass or pressure private companies into enlisting into a political lobbying campaign.” He went on to invite gun companies to move to Texas. As a courtesy, he also sent a copy of the letter to Mayor Emanuel.
On Jan. 30, the Senate Judiciary Committee opened the next stage of the gun-grabbing campaign by holding a hearing with the title “What Should America Do About Gun Violence.” Not violence in general — but only “gun violence.”
The hearing was obviously staged for the evening news, with only a single panel invited to speak. NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre and eminent gun scholar Dave Kopel were on the panel, as were Baltimore County, Md., Police Chief James Johnson and former astronaut (and husband of former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who made a cameo statement to the committee) Mark Kelly.
Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Charles Schumer (D-NY) tried to set the tone for the hearing, promoting largely unworkable “solutions” and attacking pro-gun testimony. The Republican line-up was equally impressive on behalf of gun rights, with Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Jeff Flake (R-UT) and others. Texas was represented on the Committee by both of its senators, former state Attorney General, now Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Sen. Cruz (R-TX).
While all of the GOP committee members made good points in opposition to the Democrat proposals, Sen. Cruz immediately and accurately got to the heart of the matter, using graphics to demonstrate the fact that there is essentially no difference between so-called “assault weapons” available on the open market and firearms so clearly suited for legitimate sporting or defensive use that they are on the “good guns” list in S.150 Senator Feinstein’s latest attempt to shut down the “evil black rifle” market. A picture is worth a thousand words, and Cruz’s effective use of graphics brought the point home to everyone present.
On the campaign trail, then-candidate Cruz promised if elected he would “go to Washington and shake up the status quo.” In just over a month in the Senate, he has kept that promise.
This was not Cruz’ first foray into gun politics. He played a critical role in the case of District of Columbia v Heller (2008), the landmark case where the Supreme Court overturned the District of Columbia’s ban on new handgun registrations and ruled that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep arms, not subject to militia service. In that case Cruz worked to build a coalition of 31 states that submitted amicus briefs in support of the individual right to keep and bear arms.
Sen. Cruz was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, where his Cuban-American father and Delaware-born mother were both employed in the oil business. He spent his formative years in Texas before he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Princeton University and graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review, an executive editor of the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Safety and a founding editor of the Harvard Latino Law Review.
He served as a law clerk to then-Chief Justice William Rehnquist, followed by similar service at the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Senator Cruz and his wife, Heidi Nelson Cruz, have two daughters.