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GUN RIGHTS LEADERS TELL DEMOCRATS HOW TO REGAIN TRUST OF FIREARMS OWNERS

Friday, March 1st, 2002

BELLEVUE, WA – Offering some critical advice to Democrats in their highly-publicized campaign to regain the trust of American gun owners, spokesmen for two leading firearms rights organizations today released a strongly-worded opinion piece to newspapers across the country.

“Among the things Democrats might do to regain the trust of gun owners is to … pledge that they will work to repeal gun laws that have infringed upon the rights of law-abiding citizens,” suggested Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation.

Added Dave Workman, communications director for the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms: “The party must turn its back on the extremists in their ranks and the inflammatory rhetoric that demonizes firearms and gun owners.”

Gottlieb and Workman, who recently collaborated on the book Double Trouble: Daschle and Gephardt, Capitol Hill Bullies, said Democrats are correct in attributing many of their losses to the gun issue. But, party officials are wrong in blaming the GOP and gun lobby for “inventing” the anti-gun image of Democrats, they say.

“Republicans and gun rights organizations haven’t invented any anti-gun image for Democrats, they have accomplished that all by themselves,” Gottlieb writes. “Having worked with many Democrats over the years, we can say for the record that not all members of that party are extremists on the gun issue…just their leadership.”

To regain the trust of American gun owners, the authors advise Democrats to “be a lot more sincere than Al Gore was … when he transparently tried to reinvent himself as a pro-gun, pro-hunting Democrat.” They should “back away from radical organizations that work to ban hunting on public lands,” and “work tirelessly to restore our civil rights.”

“If Democrats want gun owners to ever trust their party again, they must accomplish all of this first,” the authors conclude. “To restore our trust in the party, the party must … end the pattern of social bigotry that has driven us away. Only then will Democrats…be able to once again earn even a small amount of trust and respect from a segment of the American population that their leadership has, for years, steadfastly labored to destroy.”