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What do you think of this politician?
A follow-up to the KABA poll

June 14, 2003

KeepAndBearArms.com -- The politician who is the subject of KABA's most recent poll was former President Ronald Reagan, now in death enjoying near-universal acclaim from gun owners as the best president in our lifetime.

In the midst of all the “conservative” sentimentality being expressed, we mustn’t ignore some uncomfortable facts that anyone who considers himself a Constitutionalist needs to reconcile—especially since the nearly 80% of you who voted based solely on his actions deemed them “traitorous,” and the vast majority of the balance deemed them “misguided.”

Now that you know who we were talking about, how many of you want to take back your vote? Why? Did the nature of his actions suddenly change? Are “gun control” laws tyrannical? Does it matter who it is who imposes them?

The edicts President Reagan endorsed and enacted could very well have resulted in your death—or the deaths of people you love—or the destruction of your life if found in defiance of them, if caught claiming the birthrights supposedly guaranteed by the Constitution he swore an oath to defend.

It’s not like he didn’t know better. “Ronald Reagan: The Gun Owner's Champion,” reveals a man fully aware of the true intent behind the Second Amendment, as well as its applicability in modern times. As a young man, he actually used a gun to rescue a nursing student. He even “began packing a .32 Smith and Wesson pistol, holstering the gun on every morning for months and wearing it until he stepped into bed at night,” in response to a threat. Yet in spite of this, he still imposed “gun control” on America.

The KABA poll presented six “gun control” examples. Here are our sources:

Items 1, 2 and 4:

“Reagan last week declared his support for a bill requiring a seven-day waiting period for handgun purchases. He did so at a George Washington University ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the shooting that almost killed him and permanently disabled his press secretary, James S. Brady.

“It is called the Brady Bill, and Reagan said Congress should enact it without delay. ‘It's just plain common sense that there be a waiting period to allow local law enforcement officials to conduct background checks on those who wish to buy a handgun,’ the former president said.’”

Item 3 and 5:

“It was Governor Ronald Reagan of California who signed the Mulford Act in 1967, ‘prohibiting the carrying of firearms on one's person or in a vehicle, in any public place or on any public street.’ The law was aimed at stopping the Black Panthers, but affected all gun owners.

“Twenty-four years later, Reagan was still pushing gun control. ‘I support the Brady Bill,’ he said in a March 28, 1991 speech, ‘and I urge the Congress to enact it without further delay.’"

Item 6:

“All those magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds will be legal to manufacture again. It will once again be legal to import the group of shotguns administratively banned by Ronald Reagan and the group of semi-automatic rifles similarly banned by the first President Bush. (Both of these executive bans were codified in the 1994 law.)”

Since the KABA poll was released, additional information has resurfaced concerning President Reagan’s support for the 1994 “assault weapon” ban: “Kenneth J. Cooper & Ann Devroy, Backers of Assault Weapons Ban Make Final Push for Undecided Votes, WASH. POST, May 5, 1994, at A5. Former Presidents Gerald R. Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan announced their support of the ban in a letter.”

Finally, know that gun owners are not alone in mourning the passing of President Reagan. A touching memorial tribute can be found here, written by people who professed to love him and call him “friend."

With this clear evidence of Mr. Reagan supporting the Brady Bill, a ban on shotguns and semiautos, and a ban on carrying firearms in public, it seems fair to ask:

Why is NRA republishing their 1983 resolution (issued, incidentally, 16 years after he signed the Mulford Act) where they proclaimed “President Reagan has forcefully stood by his convictions in support of the second amendment right of citizens to keep and bear arms for any legitimate purpose, including self-defense; and…vigorously rejects the myth that gun control is crime control…”?

And why is the Second Amendment Foundation telling its supporters, “President Reagan knew the value of gun ownership?”

Finally, some apologists are maintaining Reagan’s support for the Brady Bill was the result of his being manipulated in his senility by opportunistic anti-gunners and/or reporters. Some people will do anything to maintain their illusions—or to convince others that the illusions are true. The fact is, Reagan announced his support for the Brady Bill in 1991 and wasn’t diagnosed with Alzheimer’s until three-and-a-half years later—in late 1994. But this is a false argument anyway, as his support for the Mulford Act, which ended the open bearing of loaded arms in public places throughout California, took place a full 27 years earlier. The purpose of the poll and this article are not to denigrate the memory of a man literally revered by millions throughout America and the world. It is merely to establish the undeniable historical record that—in spite of the special place he evidently held in the hearts of gun owners—the man’s actions, as they related to the Second Amendment, did not merit it.

It was not our intention to offend anyone. We realize the options presented in our poll were strongly worded—and that was intentional: only by having gun owners characterize the actions of an anonymous subject could their true assessment be determined.

Others have suggested that now is not the time for this information to come to light. But the deception about Mr. Reagan’s Second Amendment legacy is being perpetuated now—and through outlets that reach millions. Besides, for anyone who is against these facts being presented, there will never be a “right time.” And since when is there a “wrong time” for the reality?

The strongest weapon we have in the fight to reclaim the free exercise of our right to keep and bear arms is the truth. When confronted with painful truth, we have two choices: accept it, or deny it and resent the messenger.

Our struggle is far too serious for us to cede painful fact to comfortable illusion. If denial and emotion-based belief systems prevail, we will not.


Related reading:

The Brady Campaign, and NBC`s Katie Couric, Try to Re-write History

Reagan's Assault Weapons Ban Legacy

At this writing, we have been unable to locate a copy of the letter signed by Presidents Reagan, Ford and Carter. A transcript, which appears credible, is posted at Packing.org.

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