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Is NRA Afraid of the "Repeal" Issue?

Why does NRA's Spokesperson Evade the "Repeal" Issue?

by Angel Shamaya

May 12, 2002

Transcript excerpts below are taken from:
National Public Radio's "Talk of the Nation" Program
Show Title: "The Second Amendment"
Date: May 9, 2002
Host: Steve Inskeep -- The Justice Department's recent statement supporting the Second Amendment as an individual right "to possess and bear" firearms sparked a 48-minute segment on National Public Radio's "Talk of the Nation" program. Called "The Second Amendment" and hosted by NPR's Steve Inskeep, the segment featured Eugene Volokh (Law Professor at UCLA), Akhil Amar (Constitutional Law Professor at Yale) and two other guests. One guest was Matt Nosanchuk -- Litigation Director of the radical gun prohibitionist Violence Policy Center. The other was Trish Gregory, introduced and invited to the show as a Spokesperson for the National Rifle Association.

The segment with NRA's spokesperson, Trish Gregory, begins at 33:05 into the above-linked audio file. Partway into that interview, the host, Mr. Inskeep, mentioned the thousands of gun laws that might be subject to legal scrutiny under DOJ's "individual right" position. He then asked Mrs. Gregory the following question:

"Would you go farther than this administration has gone so far -- would you repeal some of these gun laws if you had your way?" [34:58 into audio file linked above]

Having just been introduced as "an NRA Spokesperson, from her office in Fairfax, Virginia," Mrs. Gregory's response was:

"Me personally? I mean, because I can't speak for the whole organization, but NO. Now, ask me the question again, could you please?"

Mr. Inskeep responded:

"You would not repeal the Brady Law if you had a chance? You would not repeal bans on machineguns?"

Mrs. Gregory replied:

"You know what, you know what, I wouldn't take like this sweeping approach. If somebody was advocating repealing a particular law, I think that we'd be willing to hear them out and take it one step at a time."

Mr. Inskeep punctuated her answer with:

"OK. Trish is a spokesperson for the National Rifle Association."



Given the fact that the Justice Department, via their Solicitor General, has just informed the United States Supreme court that the Second Amendment does in fact address an individual right to keep and bear arms, and given the fact that there are thousands of gun laws that flatly usurp this individual right -- a right to which NRA leadership proudly professes undying loyalty -- one would think that the National Rifle Association's spokesperson would speak directly to that issue when handed a national audience and the perfect opportunity to do so.

One must also wonder why someone invited to National Public Radio as an NRA Spokesperson would immediately disavow her authority as an NRA Spokesperson when asked a simple question. NRA surely didn't send Trish Gregory to a national radio broadcast merely to share her personal opinions, nor would she have been invited to the show merely as a relatively unknown individual. Mrs. Gregory's evasion of the issue and of her responsibility and authority as a spokesperson for the NRA is at least very odd. And her "NO" answer to the question of whether or not to repeal rights-infringing gun laws is out of step with many of NRA's own members. New York City NRA members, and members in Missouri, New Jersey, D.C., Kansas, Iowa, California and many other states are crystal clear that gun laws need to be repealed immediately -- why is NRA's spokesperson so unclear on this vital issue?

Any statement resembling the following, in my opinion, would have been appropriate from the NRA spokesperson:

"The Justice Department's position calling the Second Amendment an individual right is historically, technically, logically and Constitutionally accurate. But there are gun laws that effectively ban a woman's right to protect herself from a violent sexual predator. Such a law is repugnant to the Constitution, abhorrent to the natural right of self-defense that supersedes even the Constitution itself, and wholly inhumane. As an NRA Spokesperson, as an American, and as a woman who considers my safety and human dignity superior to the sport of rapists, here is my very clear answer to your very clear question: YES -- the repeal of anti-self-defense, anti-woman, pro-rapist gun laws is long overdue."