Gun Laws & Legislation
Attorney General Eric Holder appeared on C-SPAN on January 30, 1995 to talk about gun control strategies Attorney General Eric Holder appeared on C-SPAN on January 30, 1995 to talk about gun control strategies  

Holder in 1995: ‘Really brainwash people’ to be anti-gun

Photo of Matthew Boyle
Matthew Boyle
Investigative Reporter

Attorney General Eric Holder supported using Hollywood, the media and government officials in order to “really brainwash people” into opposing firearm ownership, according to a 1995 C-SPAN video that emerged Sunday online.

Holder, who was then the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, was addressing the Women’s National Democratic Club on Jan. 30, 1995. In his speech, he held up anti-smoking campaigns as a model for an anti-gun campaign.

“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,” Holder said.

Video of the speech was discovered by Breitbart.com.

Holder explained that he wanted to use influential figures like then-Washington, D.C. Marion Barry and the Rev. Jesse Jackson, as well as widely watched TV shows like “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” and “Martin,” to forward his anti-gun campaign. He sought to push that same agenda through public schools as well, “every day, every school, at every level.”

Holder said these resources would be the driving force behind a campaign to “really brainwash people into thinking about guns in a vastly different way.”

It’s unclear whether Holder still seeks to “brainwash” Americans into opposing gun ownership. Department of Justice spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler did not return The Daily Caller’s request for comment on the matter.

The White House also did not return TheDC’s request for comment about whether President Obama agrees with Holder’s 1995 remarks.

The revelation that Holder wanted to “brainwash” people into being “anti-gun” appears to be supported by what Congress and the American people have learned about Operation Fast and Furious.

In Fast and Furious, the Obama administration’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives – in a program overseen by Holder’s Department of Justice – sent about 2,000 guns south to Mexican drug cartels. The Obama administration did this via “straw purchasers” who bought guns in the United States with the intention of illegally trafficking them somewhere else.

Some have charged that Obama administration officials, including Holder, implemented Fast and Furious as part of a strategy to generate anti-gun outrage among the U.S. population.

In a July 2010 email that surfaced in a congressional investigation, ATF Assistant Director Mark Chait asked Bill Newell, his agency’s lead agent in Phoenix to “see if these guns were all purchased from the same [dealer] and at one time.  We are looking at anecdotal cases to support a demand letter on long gun multiple sales.”

Statistics collected from the program eventually formed the backbone of that new long-gun reporting rule, which the administration implemented after Fast and Furious became a national scandal.

The rule was upheld in a January ruling from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Also supporting allegations that Fast and Furious was a gun-control stalking horse are comments made by California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein during a November 2011 hearing.

“My concern, Mr. Chairman, is there’s been a lot said about Fast and Furious, and perhaps mistakes were made, but I think this hunt for blame doesn’t really speak about the problem,” Feinstein said.

“And the problem is, anybody can walk in and buy anything, .50-caliber weapons, sniper weapons, buy them in large amounts, and send them down to Mexico. So, the question really becomes, what do we do about this?”

In his own written testimony in November, Holder complained that Congress “voted to keep law enforcement in the dark when individuals purchase multiple semi-automatic rifles and shotguns in Southwest border gun shops.”

And on Sunday another sign of Holder’s anti-gun advocacy surfaced when the blog The Right Scoop published excerpts from a Washington Post op-ed Holder wrote shortly after 9/11, in which he used the terrorist attacks as a rationale to push for more gun control laws.

South Carolina Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy told TheDC in February that he was prepared, but had no opportunity, “to prove to the Attorney General — which he already knows — that there are plenty of gun laws on the books right now … The notion that the fix is: ‘We just got to get Congress to pass more gun laws’ is just sheer sophistry. And I could have proven that.”

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