Handgun Control Inc. (HCI) announced on Sept. 6 that it was beginning a $1.2 million TV ad campaign in five major cities that highlights the pro-gun record of Texas Gov. George Bush, the Republican candidate for president.
The TV spot links Bush to the NRA and focuses on his signing of right-to-carry legislation in Texas. The campaign ad buy is the largest the anti-gun organization has ever made.
HCI and other anti-gunners have been trying to turn the presidential campaign into a referendum on the right to keep and bear arms. After getting so much support from the Clinton-Gore Administration for the last eight years, they are hoping that if Vice President Al Gore wins the presidency and the Democrats regain control of Congress, they will be able to realize their whole agenda.
S-2099, filed on Feb. 24 by Sen. Jack Reid (D-RI), seems to be distracting many gunowners this fall. While it will not go anywhere in the present Congress, it is a harbinger of what Gore and HCI have in store after the election.
HCI claimed their anti-Bush campaign ad is scheduled to air initially in Philadelphia, Cleveland, Milwaukee, Detroit and St. Louis, with other markets to be announced at a later date.
The television ads combine with a HCI van tour that will travel to several states. The van tour started on Aug. 23 and has already made stops in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Washington, DC. It will continue through Midwest states, particularly Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan and Missouri, where the right-to-carry issue has been prominent because most of those states do not allow concealed carry of firearms for self-defense.
At a press conference in Washington to announce the TV campaign, Mike Barnes, president of Handgun Control, called Bushs record on gun issues dangerous and said it is matched by what he called absolutely bizarre votes against gun control in Congress by his vice presidential running mate, Dick Cheney.
Standing in Lafayette Square with the White House as a backdrop, Barnes and allies said they will discuss Bushs record on guns at length during a tour this fall of states likely to be decisive in Novembers presidential election, according to Associated Press.
According to AP, Nina Butts, a lobbyist for Texans Against Handgun Violence, said: Gov. Bush has been a dream come true for the National Rifle Association. What the NRA wants, Gov. Bush supports. What the NRA doesnt want, Gov. Bush defeats.
How the gun issue plays in one state, however, may be entirely different from how it is treated in another. While the pro-Gore HCI campaign is claiming Bush is too pro-gun, union leaders in states like Pennsylvania are trying to tell their membership that Gore is more pro-gun.
John Snyder, public affairs director of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA), reports receiving calls from pro-gun union members in northwest Pennsylvania who complained that union officials were telling members that Gore was the pro-gun candidate.
This is not the first campaign in which dirty tricks campaigns have been run behind the scenes while candidates and their supporters say the opposite on the stump or on television.
The ways of politicians are so serpentine, that leading anti-gunners such as Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) still send out letters claiming that they are pro-Second Amendment.
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