Giuliani Seeking Support From NRA, Group He Once Likened to 'Extremists'

By Chad D. Baus

Just how stupid does he think we are?

The Washington Post is reporting that today is the day Rudy Giuliani will go before the rank and file of the National Rifle Association - a group he once likened to "extremists" for its efforts to repeal the ban on assault weapons - seeking support for his Republican presidential campaign.

The Post notes that even as the former New York mayor strives to erase our collective memory of his anti-gun record, at the gathering in Washington, a panel of federal judges in his home town will be hearing arguments on the lawsuit that Giuliani filed seven years ago aimed at putting the nation's gun manufacturers out of business.

From the story:

    Announcing the lawsuit in 2000, then-Mayor Giuliani wrote in his weekly column about issues facing the city that "this is an industry which profits from the suffering of innocent people. The lawsuit is intended to end the free pass that the gun industry has enjoyed for a very long time, which has resulted in too many avoidable deaths."

    He called the lawsuit "an aggressive step towards restoring accountability to an industry that profits from the suffering of others."

    ...A spokeswoman for Giuliani's presidential campaign yesterday declined to say whether he still supports the lawsuit or the goals he laid out in 2000.

The Post story goes on to remind readers of a 1995 interview with PBS's Charlie Rose, in which Giuliani said the NRA goes "overboard."

    "The extremists on the left and the extremists on the right have essentially the same tactic," he said, adding later that "the NRA's, in essence, defense of assault weapons, and their unwillingness to deal with some of the realities here that we face in our cities is a terrible, terrible mistake."

    Giuliani's support for the assault weapon ban won him the admiration of then-President Bill Clinton, who sent him an autographed picture of the pair sitting in the White House.

    "To Mayor Giuliani," Clinton scrawled, "with thanks for your help on the assault weapons legislation. Bill Clinton."

The newspaper notes that, as a Presidential candidate, the anti-gun mayor has worked to gradually soften his stance on guns. But the fact is that Rudy Giuliani established a solid anti-gun record in New York. In the 1990s, Giuliani and anti-gun President Clinton talked about establishing uniform national gun control laws. And in 2000, while defending his use of taxpayer dollars to file junk lawsuits designed to put gun manufacturers out of business, he accused these American businesses of knowingly calculating sales to an illegal market by intentionally overproducing guns.

Early in his presidential campaign, Giuliani was unapologetic for his record of support of the Clinton Gun Ban and credited his use of New York City's gun control schemes for crime reduction crime in New York. After apparently realizing that America's gun owners aren't as gullible as he first hoped, he tried a different way of insulting their intelligence - spin. He began to test a talking point designed to fool Mr. and Mrs. American Gun Owner, telling FOXNews' Sean Hannity he understands that what works in the city may not work in more "rural" areas. And as the Post story observes, his campaign website was launched with the statement "Rudy Giuliani is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment", and that "Rudy understands that what works in New York doesn't necessarily work in Mississippi or Montana."

In recent months, the Post observes, Giuliani has sought to focus the discussion of guns by declaring himself dedicated to upholding the right of individuals to own weapons. In a speech at the end of April, Giuliani is quoted as saying that "whatever my personal views, the Constitution of the United States decides this . . . you have a personal right to carry arms, to have arms. That personal right is as strong as the right to free speech."

I suppose next we'll be treated to awkward photos of Mr. Giuliani squatting in an Iowa wheatfield sporting a borrowed shotgun and a blaze orange vest.

Is it just me, or is it incredibly insulting every time a politician expects America's hunters, sportsmen, concealed handgun license-holders and gun owners to fall for a couple of drunken one-liners in an election year? It's as if Giuliani (and Sen. John Kerry, and Gov. Mitt Romney, and Sen. John McCain, and all those who have come before) think we're all like some airheaded college girlfriend. They seem to expect that we'll watch as they repeatedly grope and fondle waitresses while we're out on a date together, but forgive them as soon as they say "I love you baby. Now go get me another beer."

The Post reports the NRA invited Giuliani and other presidential candidates, including pro-gun former Senator Fred Thompson, to be speakers at their "Celebration of American Values" conference in Washington on Friday. But a spokesman said no decision had been made about whom they will support or oppose.

"We will judge candidates on their past, on what they're saying today and also on what they say they will do if they're elected," Andrew Arulanandam, an NRA spokesman, is quoted as saying.

Chad Baus is a Member of the Fulton County, OH Republican Central Committee and the Buckeye Firearms Association Vice Chairman and Northwest Ohio Chair.

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