By James Porter, NRA President
I recently heard the Brady Campaign described as “a supporter of the Second Amendment and moderate voice for common-sense gun safety.” The description involved the Brady Campaign’s giddy support for the latest insane gun laws in California—a new series of what the gun-ban crowd always calls “sensible first steps” in that state’s long march toward felonizing and disarming its innocent, peaceable citizens.
Some of what the Brady bunch bubbled on about was so draconian—including a new list of hunting and collector-grade long guns to be declared contraband as so-called “assault weapons”—that they were actually deep-sixed by normally anti-gun Gov. Jerry Brown’s veto. The notion that the Brady Campaign is “moderate” and supports the Second Amendment is the very definition of The Big Lie.
To understand the present and future danger to our liberty from this group, you have to know their past. Once known as Handgun Control, Inc., the Brady Campaign has spearheaded virtually every attack on the basic concept of the individual right to keep and bear arms.
In their worldview, that right never existed. Even today, the Brady website boasts a long list of citations and links to articles articulating the organization’s long-standing denial of our right to keep and bear arms. Here’s a sample: “The notion of a right to own guns is a constitutional myth. … there is no personal right to own guns.”
They claimed credit for the Clinton gun ban and supported the massive confiscations of registered firearms from licensed owners in Australia and England, which President Obama recently embraced as examples of “common-sense” gun control.
A bizarre example of the Brady Campaign view on the “right” of government to criminalize private firearm ownership came in a brief filed in opposition to the NRA’s 2004 initial suit in federal court challenging the District of Columbia’s gun ban.
Brady lawyers claimed “… those who created the Bill of Rights did not believe that the Second Amendment constrained the freedom of the states to exercise their police powers by regulating the ownership of dangerous weaponry within their borders. This interpretation of the Second Amendment is also consistent with the fact that local regulation of firearms both preceded and survived the revolutionary era.
“In the mid-eighteenth century, for example, Maryland prohibited the ownership of guns by Catholics. …” (emphasis added)
To defend their warped interpretation of the Bill of Rights, they cite the tyranny of King George under pre-revolutionary British rule. What and who on God’s green earth do they think the Bill of Rights was drafted to protect?
But the Brady Campaign’s existential denial of the individual right was best spelled out in its brief inDistrict of Columbia v. Heller. A heading in their brief said it all:
“THE SECOND AMENDMENT GUARANTEES NO RIGHT TO POSSESS FIREARMS UNLESS IN CONNECTION WITH SERVICE IN A STATE-REGULATED MILITIA.”
With the U.S. Supreme Court’s earthquake decision in Heller recognizing the Second Amendment as an individual right and striking down the D.C. gun ban, the Brady campaign’s denial of that fundamental liberty was reduced to dust.
Instantly, out of that dust, Paul Helmke, then-president of the Brady Campaign, conjured up a new position.
Literally seconds after the breathtaking June 26, 2008 Heller decision was announced, Helmke told the nation that the decision “eliminated the extremes. … We’re dealing with this issue in the middle ground, the common sense area that we in the Brady Campaign have been supporting for all our existence.” (emphasis added)
The enormity of that instant fabrication was astonishing.
The very next day, Helmke blogged on the Huffington Post that “Over the years, I have seen the gun lobby effectively thwart efforts to pass many sensible gun laws by arguing that even modest gun control would lead down the path to a complete ban on gun ownership.
“The ‘slippery slope,’ however, is now gone. The U.S. Supreme Court took it off the table.”
Fast forward to the here and now.
Look at California, New Jersey or Connecticut where, prodded by the Brady Campaign and billionaire Michael Bloomberg, real bans criminalizing gun ownership have become law.
Our friends, neighbors and co-workers could buy the big lie perpetuated by the Brady Campaign and the gun-ban media. We need to personally educate them so they know full well that the enemy of the past is the enemy of the future. Urge each and every one to join the NRA—today—to preserve our precious rights for the future.
The “President’s Column” by James W. Porter II, appears in NRA’s American Rifleman and American Hunter. Join the NRA through the Daily Caller and get a $10 discount on an annual membership. Give a gift membership or join yourself by clicking here.