RIVERS BLEW IT BY MAKING ELECTION A GUN REFERENDUM

Wednesday, August 7th, 2002

BELLEVUE, WA – Faced with a choice between two Democrats with similar sentiments on most issues, voters in Michigan’s 15th Congressional district made the clear choice for gun rights Tuesday when they decisively rejected anti-gunner Lynn Rivers.

“Rivers blew it by making the campaign a referendum on gun control,” said Joe Waldron, executive director of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. “Despite all of her celebrity support, voters in the strongly Democratic 15th District were not impressed. When Rivers brought anti-gunners Sarah Brady, Michael Douglas and Linda Carter in for the campaign and attacked John Dingell’s gun rights record, she gave voters a clear choice. They clearly rejected the gun control candidate, and the philosophy she represents.

Waldron was amused by remarks from Michael D. Barnes, president of Handgun Control, Inc., which now calls itself the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. After Rivers conceded, Barnes insisted that, “Dingell squeaked by,” and that “standing with the gun lobby jeopardizes your congressional seat.”

“Once again, Michael Barnes, himself a former Democratic congressman from Maryland, has emerged from his fantasy world long enough to demonstrate just how wrong he is,” Waldron stated. “Returns show Dingell trounced Rivers, 59 percent to 41 percent. If that’s what Barnes considers ‘jeopardizing your congressional seat,’ perhaps more candidates ought to stand up for gun rights this fall, and make a career out of defending the Second Amendment.”

Waldron suggested that Dingell’s defeat of Rivers in the hotly contested primary should “send a message” to other politicians that defending the right to keep and bear arms is a priority with voters. He said the Dingell-Rivers race proves that “the gun control mantra has lost its appeal except to a minority of vocal extremists outside America’s mainstream. It doesn’t even appeal to voters in key Democrat strongholds, like Michigan’s 15th District.”

“Gun rights is a winning issue, while gun control is a loser,” Waldron stressed. “The pundits may scramble to find lots of reasons why Lynn Rivers lost, but clearly it was her anti-gun message that made the significant difference.”