Below is an interview I conducted exclusively for Red State with John Velleco, Director of Federal Affairs, for Gun Owners of America. Gun Owners of America, a national organization with about 300,000 member, is described by Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) as the “only no compromise gun lobby in Washington.” Gun Owners of America has declared that they will score a vote on the nomination of Eric Holder to be the next Attorney General. Holder will be testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee this Thursday, January 15th at 9:30 am.
The nomination of Eric Holder is a cynical slap in the face to all gun owners. Holder’s active opposition to the right to keep and bear arms disqualifies him from being the highest ranking law enforcement officer in the land.
Brian Darling, Red State: John, thanks for agreeing to be interviewed by Red State about the nomination of Eric Holder to the next Attorney General. It is widely known that Holder signed a brief supporting the District of Columbia handgun ban and argued that the Second Amendment is not an individual right. Do you have any other examples where Eric Holder evidenced his hostility to the Second Amendment?
John Velleco of Gun Owners of America: Yes. President-elect Obama could not have come up with a more divisive anti-Second Amendment nominee. Eric Holder supports a 3-day waiting period for handgun purchases, one-gun-a-month purchase limits, licensing and registration of all gun owners, and more restrictions on law abiding citizens.
Holder was Janet Reno’s go-to guy on gun control issues. In 1999, Holder supported sweeping new gun control laws, urging Congress not to cave in to “the special interest that value the cold hard steel of guns more than the lives of children, neighbors and police officers.”
In 2000, Holder was instrumental in the Clinton Administration’s effort to strong-arm firearms manufacturers into voluntarily accepting regulations that were stalled in Congress. In a legislation-by-extortion scheme, the federal government filed suit against gun makers but offered to drop the suit if the companies would accept the demands of the administration. Thankfully, the program died when Clinton left office.
After he returned to private practice, Holder continued to advocate for more anti-gun laws. After 9/11, Holder argued in a Washington Post op-ed that Congress should close the misnamed gun show “loophole,” even though the terrorists were armed with box cutters that could be purchased at any hardware store.
Darling, RS: Holder has an impressive resume — former Deputy Attorney General under President Bill Clinton, Acting Attorney General for a short period for President Bush, U.S. Attorney and a federal judge. He is clearly qualified by virtue of his experience. How would you explain to Senators why Holder’s position on the Second Amendment disqualifies him from being Attorney General?
Velleco, GOA: Obviously, Holder has an impressive and extensive resume. But he apparently disagrees with the incoming President and the Supreme Court on a core constitutionally protected liberty. Namely, Holder believes that the Second Amendment protects a collective right rather than an individual right to keep and bear arms. Holder’s active opposition to the right to keep and bear arms disqualifies Holder from being the highest ranking law enforcement officer in the land.
Darling, RS: What will GOA do to oppose the confirmation of Eric Holder?
Velleco, GOA: We have asked our members to contact their own Senators, urging them to vote “No” on Holder. In addition, we will score any vote on Holder for our 2010 Senate rating.
Darling, RS: President-elect Barack Obama stated on the campaign trail that “there is an individual right to bear arms, but it’s subject to commonsense regulation.” Is the Holder nomination consistent with this promise by Obama when he was on the campaign trail?
Velleco, GOA: No, Barack Obama seems to have abandoned any pretense that he will “govern from the middle,” particularly concerning gun rights. Obama’s nomination of Holder shows that Obama may not support the Second Amendment as an individual right and calls into question statements he made on the campaign trail. The nomination of Eric Holder is a cynical slap in the face to all gun owners, and will be viewed as such by the pro-gun community.
Darling, RS: Thanks John.