Bill Pryor

Wednesday, October 1st, 2003

Sometimes it is said the mettle of a man is known by the enemies he makes. If that is true, the mettle of this month’s CCRKBA Gun Rights Defender of the Month is absolutely solid, noted CCRKBA Public Affairs Director John Michael Snyder, who nominated the Attorney General of the State of Alabama, Bill Pryor, for the Award.
 “Pryor,” said Snyder, “is so forthright, forceful and effective in defending the individual Second Amendment civil right to keep and bear arms that his nomination by President George W. Bush to the Federal Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit has brought forth virtually the entire gun-grabbing establishment in opposition to the appointment. From perennial anti-gun U.S. Senators such as Charles E. Schumer of New York, Dianne Feinstein of California and Richard J. Durbin of Illinois to the publicity grabbing anti-gun national organizations such as the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence and the so-called Million Mom March, the gun haters are out in force against this man. Schumer and others have mounted a filibuster in the Senate to prevent an up and down vote for his confirmation, even though the nomination has been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
 “Pryor deserves our support. He certainly merits this award.”
 Pryor gave a speech three years ago, while Bill Clinton was still President, during a conference at the Cato Institute in Washington, D. C. The title of his speech was, “Extortion Parading as Law: The War on Guns.”
 In that speech, Pryor condemned the Clinton Administration policy of using government power to attack the firearms industry.
 “Rather than recognizing that crimes are caused by criminals and punish those criminals in the traditional public litigation known as criminal law, the Clintonians argue that crimes are the responsibility of the firearms industry and should be addressed in a new form of public litigation,” Pryor said. “The Madisonian respect for individual responsibility, as embodied in the private law of torts, with its principles of assumption of risk and contributory negligence, is discarded in favor of a Clintonian framework of a new public law of torts with theories of negligent marketing and negligent design. The resolution of social problems, such as gun violence, is no longer primarily the responsibility of individuals in a free society; only the government allegedly can solve the problems.
 “Gun control through litigation, in the end, will produce only more crime,” he said. “As the costs of guns increase and their supply diminishes, the consumers who are most responsive to these economic factors, law-abiding citizens and law enforcement agencies, will become less able to combat crime.  Meanwhile, criminals, whose demand for firearms is nearly inelastic, will become more powerful adversaries and their black market for firearms will become even more profitable.  The proponents of this litigation ignore the substantial evidence that laws allowing concealment of firearms by law-abiding citizens actually reduce crime.”
 Pryor stated also that, “when this new paradigm fails, as is inevitable,” the Clintonians will offer “more government” as the next solution. “While freedom is superior to pervasive regulation,” he declared, “the Clintonian framework promises a vicious cycle of failure that, with more regulation, continually produces even worse results. That is why the war on guns, like the war on tobacco, is ultimately another stage of the war on freedom.”
 Pryor also angered anti-gunners by getting 17 other state Attorneys General to join with him in sending a letter to U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft supporting Ashcroft’s interpretation and enforcement of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
 In that letter, Pryor and the others commended Ashcroft’s “position that ‘the text and the original intent of the Second Amendment clearly protect the right of individuals to keep and bear arms.’  We agree that this is the proper reading of the Second Amendment, and that this policy best protects the fundamental interest of Americans in security and self-preservation.” They offered Ashcroft “our wholehearted support for your efforts.”
 Bill Pryor took office as Attorney General of Alabama in January of 1997. He was appointed by Gov. Fob James to complete the term of Jeff Sessions who was elected to the U.S. Senate.  In November 1998, Pryor was elected to a full four year term and reelected in 2002 with 59 percent of the vote.