Giuliani's latest try: Election year conversion on guns happened...6 years ago?

By Chad D. Baus

Ever since he began campaigning for President, Rudy Giuliani has known that his past as a staunch gun control advocate would be at issue. The stumping began in earnest in 2007, and since then, Giuliani has tried on a number of different strategies to try and work his way past well-documented historical fact.

In February 2007, he tried being largely unapologetic, telling FOX News' Sean Hannity he thought New York City's gun control laws, which Hannity described as some of the toughest in the country, as "appropriate", and reiterating his support for the Clinton Gun Ban (for which he lobbied).

When he finally remembered he was running for the Republican nomination for President, he tried the line that what works in New York might not work in Montana. Apparently Giuliani expected it to be ok with urban voters that he considers certain Constitutional rights appropriate for rural areas, but not for them.

By late summer he was settling on yet another angle, attempting to reassure gun owners that he would appoint judges who are strict constructionists. But as economist John Lott pointed out recently, gun owners counting on this "might be more than a little disappointed: At least 89 percent of Giuliani’s nominees were Democrats, with some pretty outlandish decisions that no one would classify as fitting in with “strict constructionism.”

The first time I heard his latest strategy was in remarks made at the NRA's presidential candidate forum in Washington D.C.. Giuliani is now claiming that he became a gun rights convert after the 9-11 attacks. By repeating this claim to the Associated Press, Giuliani makes it clear that he has finally figured out he cannot hide from his anti-gun past, or make us forget his hard work to destroy gun rights and gun manufacturers in the 1990's. So instead he hopes we will forget the anti-gun comments he made AFTER 9-11-01.

From the Associated Press:

    Rudy Giuliani, who sued firearms manufacturers and called for tough gun control as New York's mayor, said Tuesday the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and a recent court ruling framed his current defense of a right to own guns.

    "You have to look at all of these issues in light of the different concerns that now exist, which is terrorism, the terrorists' war on us," the Republican presidential contender told The Associated Press in an interview. He also mentioned immigration and border security.

    He said his thinking on gun rights also was influenced by a federal appeals court decision that overturned a 30-year-old ban on private ownership of handguns in Washington on the grounds that the Constitution gives individual citizens the right to own guns.

    "It is a very, very strong description of how important personal liberties are in this country and how we have to respect them," he said of the ruling, adding it "sort of maybe even did more to crystalize my thinking on the whole gun issue in light of Sept. 11."

    "I think, after Sept. 11 — I mean I probably would have had the same impression before, I'm not sure — but after Sept. 11, all that seemed much more powerful to me," Giuliani said.

It's a nice story, and really no surprise that Giuliani is trying to use 9-11 to overcome his gun control problem - the terror attacks are what he has based his entire campaign on. But the simple, easily provable fact is, it is a lie.

Again, from the Associated Press:

    His embrace of gun rights appears to have occurred more recently than the months after the 2001 attacks. He was quoted in 2002 and 2004 — years later — staunchly supporting gun control.

Remember the Clinton Gun Ban - the one Giuliani received an autographed picture and a note from Bill Clinton thanking him for helping get the law passed? Giuliani is on record as recently as 2004 calling for the law's renewal, and as noted earlier, he defended his support for it on the Hannity & Colmes in February 2007.

9-11 conversion? Hardly. As John Lott wrote in commentary published this week at, "this is the same Giuliani who six years ago supported Federal gun
licensing and seven years ago said that 86 to 88 percent of the guns
sold in the United States should not be sold because gun makers
'would have to know that they are supplying an illegal market.'"

From the op-ed:

    Some of those present at the NRA meeting were moved by Giuliani’s
    comments. Giuliani apparently had at least neutralized their
    concerns. Yet, a careful reading of Giuliani’s speech finds it filled
    with caveats.

    Take his answer to a question about gun control:

    "My position is the law should be left the way it is now. Given the level of crime in this country, I think the emphasis and the energy should be spent on enforcing the laws that presently exist, and if changes in the law are necessary later, that'll respond to other social conditions.

    "I think the single most important thing that the next president has to do is to organize an effort in the Department of Justice and with state and local law enforcement to work in a cooperative way to enforce the laws that presently exist. After we do that, and we see the impact of that, then we can take a look at whether new laws are necessary; they may or may not be. "

    "Given the level of crime in this country?" Would his position change if crime increased? It would certainly seem so. Surely Giuliani has frequently claimed that gun control reduces crime. Indeed, he has claimed that most of the reduction in New York City’s crime rate during the 1990s was due to gun control: "the single biggest connection between violent crime and an increase in violent crime is the presence of guns in your society...the more guns you take out of society, the more you are going to reduce murder. The less guns you take out of society, the more it is going to go up."

    Giuliani is justifiably proud of New York City’s dramatic reductions in violent crime during the 1990s, but his claim that "the single biggest" factor was taking guns off the street is weak, to say the least. There is no academic research by economists or criminologists that indicates that gun control mattered at all.

    There are other more obvious explanations, especially the massive increase in full- time sworn police officers. The number grew from 26,844 in 1990 to 39,779 by 2000, roughly five times faster than in other big cities. New York City also improved its police department by raising hiring standards and increasing officer pay.

    What about Giuliani’s statement, "After we do that . . . we can take a look at whether new laws?" The only restriction that this implies is that the Federal and state governments must first do what they can to reduce crime. After that, all restrictions are off.

    Giuliani’s statement on lawsuits against gun makers is no more
    comforting. He now disavows the lawsuits because of "twists and turns I disagree with." But there is absolutely no mention about what these changes were. His own statements, when originally announcing New York City’s lawsuit, contained a laundry list of complaints. Indeed, his claims seemed the same as those in other city lawsuits.

    ...Despite the assurances of the press, Giuliani clearly did not say that he would oppose new gun laws. Compared to what conservatives call the “just about flawless performance” by Fred Thompson, Giuliani’s presentation just didn’t cut it.

When it comes to gun control, American's gun owners know that Rudy Giuliani didn't just vote the wrong way, he LED the fight against our gun rights. As such, it's going to take alot more than ever-changing trial-ballons floated during his Presidential campaign to convince gun owners that his conversion is genuine.

Rudy, if you're reading this, let me put it to you straight: nearly two decades of actions have spoken far louder than seven months'-worth of words. Simply put, we just don't trust you.

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