Originally published on this website on June 7, 2000
Dear Representative Lazio,
I am a local political (Republican) activist in the 12th largest market in
the US (Tampa Bay), and I promote or oppose positions and candidates nationwide
through a variety of discussion groups. I view the election of Hillary Clinton
to the US Senate as a prelude to disaster in this country. Accordingly, although
not a prospective constituent, I promoted the candidacy of Rudy Guiliani, and I
support yours, to this point.
As a conservative, I do not agree with all your views. But, since I am not a
"one-issue" voter, total agreement is not a requirement. However, I
ask, as a Republican, that you, like a doctor, "do no harm" to those
Party issues which we may not support in common, mindful that we also have a
presidential election to win.
I viewed your appearance on "Evans-Novak" last evening. While your
portion of the dialogue was generally commendable (acceptable), your response
when asked if you would accept NRA support was, as I understood it, an implied
"No", citing that you didn't object to folks having firearms for sport
or skeet shooting, but that you wanted to keep them out of the hands of
criminals and those with mental problems (or words to that effect).
In my opinion, your reply had two effects:
First, it displayed a measure of contempt for the NRA, who might have given
you at least moral support in your campaign to defeat Clinton, and I'm sure that
it alienated the substantial number of New York voters who are NRA members
and/or firearms owners.
Second, it demonstrated (justifiably or not) your lack of a grasp of the
subject of gun control. You realize, or should, that accessibility to firearms
to the groups you cited is already unlawful. You should also realize that the
NRA supports the prohibition of possession of firearms by those groups. Your
spurious implication that The NRA position is otherwise, frankly, leaves me
wondering just what your political principles consist of.
Therefore, your response was disingenuous, at best, but also harmful to your
candidacy, and our common goal. I'm sure you will be hearing from a number of
your proposed constituency on this matter. I'm also sure that there are a large
number of NRA members in that group.
Keep in mind that the NRA is not a bunch of unrestrained bureaucrats in
Fairfax, VA, but is composed of its membership, an elected Board, and officers
appointed by that Board. Too many politicians make the mistake, to their peril,
that it is the former, instead of the latter, if you get my drift. The
membership votes to promote a civil rights agenda which supports the Bill of
Rights, with the Second Amendment as its guarantor, while the elected Board
directs the officers to implement this agenda. This same membership is also an
important and influential part of the electorate in every political race in the
country, including New York State.
You might have said something to the effect "While the NRA understands
that I do not share all of their positions, I welcome the support of any group
that supports my candidacy". While I am not trying to put words in your
mouth, and understanding the "tightrope" you must walk in this unique
campaign, I do admonish you, again, to "do no harm".
"God, Duty, Honor, Country"
"US Army, Retired ... and still serving proudly"