[Congressional Record Volume 141, Number 69 (Thursday, April 27, 1995)]
[Pages S5745-S5747]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


  Mr. DODD. Mr. President, earlier today my colleague from Arkansas, 
Senator Pryor, spoke about a very disturbing letter circulated by the 
National Rifle Association [NRA]. I commend him for his remarks. I do 
not want to get into a lengthy discussion of this issue, but I urge all 
of my colleagues, regardless of where you stand on the issue of gun 
control, to read this letter, which was sent out by the NRA under the 
signature of Mr. Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice president.
  I do not know of anyone here, no matter how strongly they feel about 
the legitimate issue of what we do about gun control, that would not be 
offended by this letter and the language in it.
  Again, I am not going to spend a great deal of time here this 
morning, but there is language in the letter which talks about:

       . . . jack-booted government thugs [given] more power to 
     take away our Constitutional rights, break in our doors, 
     seize our guns, destroy our property, and even injure or kill 

  That is how the letter refers to our Government and the hard-working 
members of our Federal law-enforcement agencies. And the letter goes 
on, in reference to the Clinton administration:

       . . . if you have a badge, you have the Government's go 
     ahead to harass, intimidate, even murder law-abiding 

  And there is even more:

       Waco and the Branch Davidians . . . Not too long ago it was 
     unthinkable for Federal agents wearing Nazi bucket helmets 
     and black storm trooper uniforms to attack law-abiding 

  Law-abiding citizens? People who shot Federal agents, who burned 
their own buildings, and killed their own families and friends? I mean 
this is incredible.
  And this is not a letter from some fringe organization. It is a 
letter from the NRA--a national organization that usually has 
credibility. Quite simply, the NRA ought to know better.
  Please read this letter. It is five or six pages. And if you are not 
as offended as I have been by reading it, I will be surprised.
  Someone needs to ask for a retraction of this letter. Put aside the 
tragic events in Oklahoma for a moment, I do not want to suggest that 
this letter is linked to that terrible tragedy. I do not want to cloud 
the issue. But someone needs to apologize for this letter. It goes way 
beyond the kind of rhetoric that is appropriate on these issues.
  Remember this letter went, apparently, to millions of homes. I have 
no problem with people sending out fundraising letters and even using 
strong language in those solicitations. But the NRA's letter goes way 
beyond the pale. At first, I was so shocked, I thought it might be a 
hoax. But apparently it was not. I understand the NRA has confirmed 
that it sent the letter.
  Again, I urge my colleagues to read the letter and I ask unanimous 
consent that this letter be printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the letter was ordered to be printed in the 
Record, as follows:
                                       National Rifle Association.
       Dear Fellow Americans: I've worn out a lot of shoe leather 
     walking the halls of Congress. I've met key leaders, I've 
     talked with old allies, I've met with the new Congressmen and 
     many staff members.
       What I'm hearing and seeing concerns me.
       Many of our new Congressmen are ignoring America's 80 
     million gun owners. Some have forgotten what we did to elect 
     them. Others say our demands to restore our Constitutional 
     freedoms are ``politically out of line.''
       Don't get me wrong, not all of them are like this. Senator 
     Phil Gramm, House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and Congressmen Bill 
     McCollum, Bill Brewster and Harold Volkmer are all coming to 
     our aid. But too many others are not.
       And without a major show of force by America's 80 million 
     gun owners, America will resume its long march down the road 
     to gun bans, destruction of the Constitution and loss of 
     every sacred freedom.
       I want you to know I'm not looking for a fight.
       But when you consider the facts of our current situation, 
     you too, will see we have no other choice.
       Fact No. 1: The Congress' leading anti-gunners, Senators 
     Dianne Feinstein, Ted Kennedy and Congressmen Charles Schumer 
     and Major Owens all survived their last elections.
       They've pledged to fight us to the bitter end for Brady II 
     and its ammo taxes, licensing and registration schemes, gun 
     rationing, bureaucrats with the power to determine if you 
     ``need'' a gun and yes, the repeal of the Second Amendment.
       It doesn't matter to them that the Brady Law is a failure.
       It doesn't matter to them that the Brady Law has become one 
     more tool that government agents are using to deny the 
     Constitutional rights of law abiding citizens.
       It doesn't matter to them that the semi-auto ban gives 
     jack-booted government thugs more power to take away our 
     Constitutional rights, break in our doors, seize our guns, 
     destroy our property, and even injure or kill us.
       Schumer, Feinstein, Kennedy, Owens and the rest of the 
     anti-gunners want more and more gun control.
       It can be something small and subtle like a regulation 
     expanding the disqualification criteria for the Brady Law. 
     They're fighting for anything that makes it harder for you to 
     own a gun.
       The gun banners simply don't like you. They don't trust 
     you. They don't want you to own a gun. And they'll stop at 
     nothing until they've forced you to turn over your guns to 
     the government.
       Fact No. 2: If the anti-gunners fail to achieve their goals 
     in Congress, they have a fall-back position in Bill Clinton, 
     the most anti-gun President in American history.
       In two short years, Bill Clinton launched two successful 
     attacks on the Constitution. He signed two gun control bills 
     into law. He has sworn to veto any repeal of the semi-auto 
     ban and any restoration of our Constitutional rights.
       His Interior and Agriculture Departments have set their 
     sights on closing hunting lands.
       And his Environmental Protection Agency is attempting to 
     take jurisdiction over existing uses of lead. This, of 
     course, includes gun ranges and spent shot.
       What's more, gun owners aren't the only ones Clinton's EPA 
     has set its sights on. 

[[Page S5746]]

     They're after fishermen, too. They want to BAN the use of 
     small lead fishing sinkers and, of gravest concern, they want 
     to stop the home casting of these sinkers.
       If fishing sinkers are on the Clinton bureaucrat's list, 
     you know what's next: lead shot, lead bullets, bullet casting 
     and reloading.
       Clinton's State Department is also adding to the attacks on 
     gun owners and our Constitutional freedoms. In December, he 
     signed the Summit of the Americas agreements which pledges 
     that the U.S. Government will push for additional gun 
       Over in the Justice Department, Clinton's Attorney General 
     Janet Reno has signaled her intent to ``squash'' the states' 
     rights movement and deny states their Constitutional power.
       And worst of all,
       Fact No. 3: President Clinton's army of anti-gun government 
     agents continues to intimidate and harass law-abiding 
       In Clinton's administration, if you have a badge, you have 
     the government's go-ahead to harass, intimidate, even murder 
     law-abiding citizens.
       Randy Weaver at Ruby Ridge . . . Waco and the Branch 
     Davidians. . . . Not too long ago, it was unthinkable for 
     Federal agents wearing nazi bucket helmets and black storm 
     trooper uniforms to attack law-abiding citizens.
       Not today, not with Clinton.
       Our calls to investigate these outrageous assaults on our 
     Constitutional freedoms are routinely silenced by the anti-
     gun media. But that's no surprise.
       Fact No. 4: They've launched a new wave of brainwashing 
     propaganda aimed at further destroying our Constitutional 
       CBS, ABC, NBC, USA Today, Time, Newsweek and The New York 
     Times have launched another round of phony polls and slanted 
     stories to help the anti-gunners achieve their goals.
       Their latest phony poll shows 70% of America support the 
     ``semi-auto'' assault weapon ban.
       That's simply not true. When it's explained that ``semi-
     autos'' are used in less than a fraction of one percent of 
     crimes; that the ban only affects the law-abiding; and, that 
     the ban is only one more way to deny Constitutional rights to 
     the law-abiding, support for the ban drops to 30%.
       But the media still uses this 70% statistic to trumpet the 
     call for gun control.
       What scares me the most about this 70% number is that the 
     media has brainwashed 70% of Americans into believing that 
     the government--and not each individual--is responsible for 
     their personal protection.
       Even worse, this 70% number means that there are enough 
     people who can be brainwashed by the media to vote for a 
     repeal of the Second Amendment if it were put to a vote.
       The media, Clinton, the anti-gunners in Congress . . . this 
     combination is a powder keg that could blow at any moment and 
     it's set squarely underneath the Constitution.
       And what this means is:
       Fact No. 5: Congress must be forced to restore the 
     Constitution, repeal the gun bans, investigate abuse by 
     government agents and focus the public debate on criminal 
     control, not gun control. . .
       . . . Or what we're seeing now will only be a momentary 
     patch of sunshine on the road to doom for the Second 
     Amendment and our Constitution.
       There is hope, though. Despite the current situation, I'm 
     encouraged by you and your fellow NRA members.
       Everywhere I go, to every gun show, every NRA-ILA 
     grassroots operation, every Friends of NRA Dinner, even in 
     cabs and airports around the country, I run into NRA members 
     who understand the stakes and stand ready to fight.
       The question I hear from almost every one of these NRA 
     members is the same: ``What can I do next?''
       If you're one of those members, I want to thank you for 
     your courage, your conviction and your spirit. You keep me 
     going. You keep me on the road. You give me strength to lead 
     the battle.
       And if you want to join me in taking the next step, I need 
     you to do these two things today.
       First, I need you to sign the enclosed Petitions to the 
     United states Congress.
       These petitions are addressed to the leaders of the U.S. 
     Congress, Senator Robert Dole and Speaker Newt Gringrich, and 
     your U.S. Senators Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Alfonse M. 
     D'Amato and Congresswoman Sue Kelly.
       Please be sure to sign all five petitions, then fold them 
     and place them in the enclosed, postage-paid envelope 
     addressed to me at NRA Headquarters.
       These petitions spell out, in black and white, our agenda 
     of repeal, reform, investigate and limit government power.
       In the first amendment of the Bill of Rights, we are 
     guaranteed the right to ``petition our Government for a 
     redress of grievances.''
       And that's exactly what we're going to do: redress our 
     grievances in the biggest and most powerful display of 
     political clout and commitment to the Constitution.
       I want to personally deliver your five petitions, and the 
     petitions of all 3.5 million of your fellow NRA members--17.5 
     million petitions in all--to Congress.
       And I want to show the leadership in Congress, and your 
     Senators and Congressmen from New York, that the number one 
     priority in their Contract With America must be defending and 
     restoring our Constitutional freedoms.
       17.5 million Petitions to Congress is the largest ``redress 
     of grievances'' since the Constitution and the Bill of Rights 
     were written.
       So I KNOW Congress will get the message. And I know they'll 
     act on our agenda of Repeal, Reform and Investigate if only 
     you and I speak out.
       Your Petitions to Congress also sends another message--a 
     message not spelled out on the Petitions themselves.
       Each Congressman, on the average, will receive 8,000 
     Petitions from NRA members demanding action. 8,000 messages 
     from angry voters sounds an alarm in every Congressman's 
       You see, most Congressional elections were won or lost by 
     5,000 votes or less. So, they'll realize that failing to 
     defend the Second Amendment and failing to retake the 
     Constitutional freedoms lost to the anti-gunners, could 
     result in big losses at the next election!
       That's why it's critical you take a few minutes to sign 
     your Petitions to Congress and return them to me as soon as 
       These petitions are our D-Day.
       Armed with these petitions and our First Amendment rights, 
     we are going to storm Congress, knock our anti-gunner 
     strongholds and recapture every bit of ground we lost since 
     Bill Clinton took office.
       And if we're successful, these petitions will be the 
     turning point in the history of the Constitution . . . . A 
     day when our sacred right to keep and bear arms will be 
     secure for the next generation of law-abiding Americans.
       Second, when you return your signed Petitions to Congress, 
     I need you to make a special contribution to the NRA of $15, 
     $20, $25, $35, $50 or the most generous amount you can 
       Most Americans don't realize that our freedoms are slowly 
     slipping away.
       They don't understand that politicians and bureaucrats are 
     chipping away at the American way of life.
       They're destroying business, destroying our economy, 
     destroying property rights, destroying our moral foundation, 
     destroying our schools, destroying our culture . . .
       . . . Destroying our Constitution.
       And the attack, either through legislation or regulation, 
     on the Second Amendment is only the first in a long campaign 
     to destroy the freedoms at the core of American life.
       You can see it in the gun bans, certainly. But you can also 
     see it in closed ranges, closed hunting lands, confiscated 
     collectors' firearms, banned magazines and ammunition taxes.
       You can see it when jack-booted government thugs, wearing 
     black, armed to the teeth, break down a door, open fire with 
     an automatic weapon, and kill or maim law-abiding citizens.
       America's gun owners will only be the first to lose their 
       If we lose the right to keep and bear arms, then the right 
     to free speech, free practice of religion, and every other 
     freedom in the Bill of Rights are sure to follow.
       I am one American who is not going to sit on the sidelines 
     and watch this happen.
       And if you want to help me stop this destruction of the 
     Constitution, then I hope you can make that special 
     contribution of $15, $20, $25, $35 or $50 to the NRA today.
       With your special contribution, I'll have the financial 
     ammo I need to keep Congress focused on the mission we've 
     assigned them.
       First, with your help, I will expand our petition campaign 
     to involve as many of America's 80 million gun owners as 
       If we can double the number of Petitions flooding Congress, 
     we'll double the speed Congress deals with our demands to 
     Repeal, Reform and Investigate. And with double the show of 
     clout, we'll wipe out anti-gunner opposition.
       Second, with your special contribution, I can increase the 
     NRA's public exposure on talk shows, at rallies and shows, in 
     radio and T.V. advertising and through broadcasts like the 
     NRA's Town Meeting that first sounded our alarm in 16 million 
     households, last summer.
       Part of our problem is that far too few Americans 
     understand what's at stake in these battles.
       My ultimate goal is to educate the American people that 
     this issue is not just about guns, not just about hunting, 
     not just about personal protection; this issue is about 
     freedom--Your Freedom.
       I want to use the power of T.V. and radio to show the 
     American people that, if the NRA fails to restore our Second 
     Amendment freedoms, the attacks will begin on freedom of 
     religion, freedom of speech, freedom from unreasonable search 
     and seizure. . . .
       . . . And that unless we take action today, the long slide 
     down the slippery slope will only continue until there's no 
     freedom left in America at all.
       I know you see it. The elbow room you have to hunt, shoot 
     and live life the way you see fit is slowly disappearing.
       And the truth is, NRA members have been hardened by 
     legislative battles. And only NRA members have the courage, 
     the conviction to draw the line in the sand.
       That's why I'm hoping you can take a few moments to sign 
     and date the enclosed Petitions and return them to me with 
     your special contribution of $15, $20, $25, $35, $50 or more 
     in the enclosed postage-paid envelope 
     [[Page S5747]] today. Or, you can charge by phone by calling 
     800-547-4NRA today.
       You know, besides going shooting, I love to go to football 
     games. And every time I go, I always hear my fellow fans talk 
     about the impact of ``the 12th man.''
       The 11 players calling the plays and doing the hitting get 
     a lot of their motivation from the 12th man in the stands. 
     I'm talking about the crowd who cheers wildly when our team 
     is on the offense, and drowns out the signals of the opposing 
     team when they're on the defense.
       I need you to be that 12th man.
       I need you to sign your Petitions to Congress and return 
     them to me today. That simple act will give our allies the 
     political courage to do what's right, to push ahead with our 
     agenda of Repeal, Reform and Investigate.
       Likewise, your signed Petitions to Congress will confuse 
     and demoralize the anti-gun team and their agenda of bans, 
     taxes, intimidation, harassment and destruction of the 
       I know I've said what I'm about to say before. But this is 
     a message that resonates with NRA members across the land. 
     It's something I hope you, too, will say whenever you have 
     the occasion to defend our Constitutional freedoms.
       This, the battle we're fighting today, is a battle to 
     retake the most precious, most sacred ground on earth. This 
     is a battle for freedom.
       Please tell me you're ready to take the next step by 
     returning your signed Petitions to Congress and special gift 
     to me in the enclosed postage-paid envelope today.
       Thank you, I look forward to hearing from you soon.
           Yours in Freedom,
                                                   Wayne LaPierre,
                                         Executive Vice President.

       P.S.--As a special thank you for making a special 
     contribution of $25 or more, I'd like to send you a copy of 
     my national best-selling book, Guns, Crime, and Freedom. 
     Guns, Crime, and Freedom is 263 pages of truth about guns, 
     gun control, gun owners, the anti-gun media and what's 
     happening to our freedoms.
       I hope you'll read it and use it in your own personal 
     campaign in New York to defend the Constitution. Use Guns, 
     Crime, and Freedom to help you keep the pressure on Congress, 
     write letters to the editor and teach other Americans about 
     the battle we're fighting today. Thanks again for your 
     support and friendship.

  Mr. DODD. I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator's time has expired.