The Brady Campaign, And Nbc's Katie Couric, Try To Re-write History


June 10, 2004, 05:54 PM

Exploiting tragedy for political gain is nothing new for the media and the Brady Campaign, but this morning's appearance on NBC's Today Show reached a new low. Katie Couric and Sarah Brady used the tragic occasion of President Reagan's passing to shamelessly forward the gun-ban agenda with deliberate misinformation. Led by carefully crafted questions from Couric, Sarah Brady claimed that President Reagan wasn't actually an NRA member, and that he "worked hard" for passage of the so-called "assault weapons" ban.

In fact, President Reagan, the owner of an AR-15, was a strong and consistent supporter of the Second Amendment and the NRA. He was a long time member who actively courted the NRA's endorsement in both of his presidential campaigns, and was the first presidential candidate in history to receive that endorsement. He appeared on the cover of NRA magazines four times. In 1983 he was offered, and accepted, an NRA Honorary Life Membership, the highest honor bestowed by the NRA.

He was the first, and to date, only, sitting president to speak at our Annual Meetings, saying, in part, "The NRA believes America's laws were made to be obeyed and that our constitutional liberties are just as important today as 200 years ago. And by the way, the Constitution does not say Government shall decree the right to keep and bear arms. The Constitution says 'the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.'" In 1986, President Reagan signed the landmark Firearms Owners Protection Act (FOPA), and he never blamed law-abiding gun owners for the actions of criminals.

Don't allow these offensive lies to go unchallenged! Please immediately contact Tom Touchet, Executive Producer of the "Today Show," to express your outrage and demand that equal time be given for a rebuttal. Mr. Touchet can be reached by phone at (212) 664-3222, or by e-mail at

National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action

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R.H. Lee
June 10, 2004, 06:10 PM
Ah, these two have been studying history. They understand totalitarianism cannot be implemented before history is erased. And they waste no time, RR's funeral is not even til tomorrow.

Highland Ranger
June 10, 2004, 07:25 PM
I received the NRA-ILA warning as well and fired off a note to ABC.

Don Gwinn
June 10, 2004, 07:36 PM
OK, I'll buy all that, but is there an objective source where we can find out it he actually called 10 Senators to lobby for the AWB as Brady claimed? I'm not going to abandon Reagan--nobody's perfect, and he certainly did more good than bad--but I'd like to know. I notice the NRA did not debunk that particular assertion.

Lots of people, especially politicians, honestly consider themselves pro-gun but are unwilling to take public criticism for supporting "assault weapons."

June 10, 2004, 08:11 PM
Reagan certainly was an NRA member!

Whether he lobbied for the AWB I dunno and I don't care. He got Alzhiemer's soon after.

June 10, 2004, 08:56 PM
RR had more sense after 10 years of his disease than KC does currently! She is a complete waste of good air.

June 10, 2004, 09:01 PM
Reagan lost his memory due to disease. Katie and the Brady Bunch selectively lose their memory by choice.

June 10, 2004, 09:10 PM
Long time lurker - just registered and here's first post,

Got the same NRA email . Searched around & found this link to Today Show video (you must have NET Passport)

Look forward to chatting down the pike.:)

El Rojo
June 10, 2004, 11:50 PM
Everyone ought to watch the video that Aut2no posted. Welcome Aut2no and good post. I tried to transcribe a little bit of it myself. They sure are making some big claims about Reagan and it would be interesting to know exactly what is the truth. I was not too impressed with Sarah's speaking abilities and it would be interesting to see if anyone can shoot her little speech apart. From what the NRA says about him speaking at NRA dinners, that already is shooting holes in her story.

Sarah, "Ronald Reagan was totally supportive, endorsed and worked hard for the brady law and the assault weapon ban."

Sarah, "[Reagan] called and said I was for waiting periods and background checks I signed that bill in California, you know they say I was a life member of the NRA, but they just sent me a card, I never joined."

Sarah, "He did a press conference, huge major speech, called members of congress, wrote letters to the editor. "

Catie, "Do you think people are surprised to hear this."
Jim, "No"
Sarah, "Well I Think a lot of them are. Congress at the time it gave wonderful coverage to some of them the conservatives because Ronald Reagan had come out so strongly for them."

Catie, "I know the assault weapon ban is expiring."
Sarah, "We are working so hard and i just hope people realize, especially members of congress, that Ronald Reagan supported this with all of his heart and soul. And ah I hope that they'll the last thing we want to see is assault weapons, in this time of terror to see them back on the streets."

June 11, 2004, 12:11 AM
When Reagan was guvernator of california he signed an open carry ban that exists to this day and he signed FOPA '86 despite the ban on new civilian legal machineguns :(


June 11, 2004, 12:59 AM
and it isn't good. It does seem to me that Reagan popped up just before the AWB debate got going in the House/Senate with some encouraging words for the antigunners.

IOW, this was after his Presidency, and when Clinton was building his political coalition to get this damn thing passed....

I don't know how to research this--but does anyone else have more resources to try to sort this issue out?

June 11, 2004, 01:36 AM
I just sent this e-mail to Mr. Touchet

Mr. Touchet,
After watching Sarah and Jim Brady's interview on this mornings Today Show, I feel you should give equal time to the N.R.A. to dispute Mrs. Brady's selective memory. She made the comment that former President Reagan said "I never joined the N.R.A., they just sent me a card.". If this is true, why did he give speaches at several N.R.A. events and dinners ? Please give the N.R.A. a chance to set the record straight. More gun laws are not needed because criminals don"t obey laws. Washington D.C. and New York City have some of the toughest gun laws in our nation. If gun laws worked, that would mean they should have the lowest crime rates. Is this the case ?

June 11, 2004, 02:19 AM
unfortunatly, they could come up with PLENTY of evidence that Reagon was on THIER side of gun control. Some of the nastier and more persisitant gun control measures in our history had crossed his desk.

NY Patriot
June 11, 2004, 02:32 AM

Stop wasting your time worrying about what Katie Couric has to say & write some more letters! Redirect & harness your anger towards her & Brady, and use it for motivation! Pick up a phone and actually CALL your elected reps. Tell them that you will no longer tolerate the abridgement of that which "... shall not be infringed." E-mail the Washington elite until you are sick to death of your computer & tell them in no uncertain terms that a renewed AWB means NO votes & NO money from you ever again! Go out & buy a cheap fax machine and make sure that your Congresscritter knows you by name!

Seriously... I know that many of us are giving it our all, but there is always room for improvement. Let's not get bogged down in pointless discussions about what happened 10 years ago.

It's "GO TIME" folks... keep your eyes on the prize & we WILL win this fight!!!

The Essential End the AW Ban Contact List & Sample Letter Thread (

Foreign Devil
June 11, 2004, 07:22 AM
NY Patriot is right on the money. No time for naysaying, doomsaying, or worrying about what happened years ago - we have a chance to reclaim our rights NOW.

June 11, 2004, 08:57 AM
When Reagan was guvernator of california he signed an open carry ban that exists to this day and he signed FOPA '86 despite the ban on new civilian legal machineguns

Actually, he asked the NRA whether or not he should sign FOPA, and they (erroneously) felt that the compromise was worth it, and they told him to go ahead.

June 11, 2004, 09:19 AM
They understand totalitarianism cannot be implemented before history is erased.
Shades of 1984...

Art Eatman
June 11, 2004, 09:24 AM
The Democrats controlled the House of Representatives throughout Reagan's tenure as President. After his first term, the Democrats regained control of the Senate.

The FOPA in its final form was the best compromise against a far, far worse amount of gun control legislation.

Stop and think: Most machine gun enthusiasts are collectors, not particularly interested in the new stuff. Protecting travellers from idiocies such as Massachusetts' BS against guns was seen as a big plus.

The NRA got a lot of bad amendments killed that really would have been bad. E.g., as usual, the old registration thing was there, and a lot of nattering about Saturday Night Specials and "concealable" handguns. Dodd or Kennedy wanted "concealable" to include stuff up near the size of a (bleep) Redhawk!

So, yeah, don't sweat 10 years gone. Dry bones have little marrow...


Bartholomew Roberts
June 11, 2004, 11:13 AM
Reagan did support the 1994 AWB it turns out. He signed a letter in support of the law in June 1994 with Carter and Ford. He would write the letter detailing his Alzheimer's diagnosis in November of that same year.

As for the 1986 FOPA, you have to understand that this law was a pro-gun bill. It has been proposed for seven years running and had been killed every year until Volkmer managed to force it out of committee with a discharge petition. At the last minute (literally - in the last four minutes of debate) the committee attached the machinegun ban on on a controversial voice vote.

The Senate was forced to either pass the bill as is or send it back to a Democratic dominated conference committee where it would be dead. They chose to pass it as is. Here are just a few of the things the 1986 FOPA did for gun owners.

1) Removed the registration requirements for ammo purchases and made mail-order ammo sales (Internet) possible

2) Restricted the ATF to one warrantless search of an FFL per year. Before this the ATF could conduct limitless inspections with no warrant and could "inspect" dealers out of business by holding repeated inspections until they went bankrupt from being closed. This was used instead of allowing them their due process under license revocation.

3) Specifically said that a citizen making sales from their personal collection was "not engaged in the business of selling firearms" and did not need an FFL.

4) Allowed FFLs to sell to contiguous states and sell at gun shows (away from their storefront)

5) Forbade the federal government from establishing a central database for firearms registration.

Without this law, gun shows would be dead. Gun show background checks would be a moot point since FFLs could not sell from storefronts and all it would take to choke private sales is an ATF ruling that selling private guns requires an FFL. Anyone imagine Clinton with this power?

Considering the antis were successful just eight years later in banning look-alike guns that were nowhere near machineguns, I'd have to question what we would have achieved by losing the rest of the 1986 FOPA just to gain an extra eight years of MG buys.

Reagan also signed two other pieces of gun legislation that passed the Democratic Congress with veto-proof majorities of 97-1 in the Senate and 400-21/413-4 in the House.

The original non-existent plastic gun ban
Ban on AP ammo for handguns

June 11, 2004, 07:05 PM

The FOPA things depends a lot on what you view as more important. The positive things it did for gu owners are obvious. but the not so obvious consequence of the FOPA is a long term problem that many people don't see.

Browning, Thompson, etc... they all designed small arms for the military. Some of those designs are still used today. But military contracts alone couldn't have supported them: they needed civilian sales. Granted, Browning could have stayed in the business for a long time just on his designs that are legal to manufacture right now, but the point is that the civilian market tends to keep people in the firearms design business that perhaps wouldn't be there if they failed to get a lucrative military contract.

The Hughes Amendment (btw, did you know that bastage is currently an ambassador? to Brazil I think) killed any incentive for a free market to design better small arms for the military. Sure, we'll have big gun companies that submit designs & some of them will be promising, but quite a few of our small arms were designed by Browning, who was not an employee of a major gun manufacturer (he more or less freelanced with Winchester for a while & then started his own company with the help of FN). Thomspon, Williams, Stoner, etc... they all were individuals in private sectors who designed firearms that were eventually accepted by the military.

The point I'm trying to make is the FOPA's downside was the elimination of incentive for another JMB to come along in the field of martial arms. This won't completely stop small arms development, but I feel it will do us great harm in forcing JMB's potential intellectual heir to spend his/her life designing fabric weaving machinery while our troops are stuck with less than ideal arms.

Couple that with the price increase & limited availability of select fire arms & I'd say the FOPA has a more significant downside than people realize.

The $200 tax was very burdensome in 1934. By 1965 it was becoming more rasonable (if a tax on a Right can be considered such) & by 1980 a lot of people could afford the $200 tax for a $300 STEN copy newly manufactured (that's a rough guess on the going rate for a then new STEN copy). Now a $200 tax on a STEN copy wouldn't be that imposing - especially if said STEN retailed for under $400. A lot of people could own a decent subgun for less than they paid for their Kimber. In 20 years the $200 probably would seem like nothing.

& having a STEN-like gun chambered in .40 S&W? I think a lot of people would have looke dinto that.

More or less the pricing was becoming more reasonable for newly manufactured machine guns & I think machine gun ownership would have increased a bit by now. The populace may not need machine guns if the 2nd amendment's purpose was to be realized, but having them damn sure couldn't hurt.

So when I look at the FOPA I see the good things (although I think we all can agree that it could've went farther - like abolishing the ATF altogether or allowing for any type of carry in your car across state lines) but they don't outweight the bad (discouragement of new martial arms from the private sector, discouragement through pricing & availibility of machine gun ownership by the populace).

You may not agree, but those are the reasons why some such as myself see the FOPA as a bad thing overall.

Everyone else,

& Brady wasn't too far off. Reagan's NRA membership was given to him. He accepted but from a certain point of view it's not inaccurate to say he didn't join. While technically correct though he did accept the membership so the debate of whether he joined or was gifted in as a member is mainly a side issue of no real consequence.

& look, the NRA supports gun control. Not all of it, but it does support some gun control laws. Why would it be surprising that Reagan supported some as well? I've read some of his speeches & he speaks elequantly of the Right to Arms. I'd even go so far as to say he was the most pro-gun president since Roosevelt (the good one, not FDR). But unless you're an absolutist (such as myself) odds are you think some gun control is okay.

I'm not shocked by Brady's statements & I wouldn't be surprised if they all panned out as factual. Reagan didn't see the 2nd as absolute, just like he didn't see taxation as something to be eliminated completely. He thought they should be minimized, but I've never seen him say they should be done away with entirely.

I remember his signing the ban on "cop killer" bullets. I didn't recall the "plastic gun" thing but it sounded familiar enough that I probably knew it & forgot about it.

Hell, the NRA supported the Brady bill in its final version - why the surprise or disbelief that Reagan supported it too?

The only way we're ever going to get a truly pro-gun (read absolutist) president is to either A: convince the Republicans to back Ron Paul or perhaps Alan Keyes or B: try to elect a third party candidate.

I won't discouarge anyone who advocates either option but both have about the same odds of success: slim. We;re sutck for the time being in a system where the lesser of two evils wins. Maybe we shouldn't be so shocked that some things done by the lesser of those evils is in fact evil?

Reagan was a decent man from my understanding. & I think he meant well. But the fact is he supported some gun control, just as the NRA supports some gun control, just as both Bush's support some gun control, just as the Brady's support some gun control, just as the VPC supports some gun control. What y'all are arguing about is merely a matter of degrees. with that in mind why are you so surprised that the anti-gunners would use his support for some gun control to bolster their position?

June 11, 2004, 09:58 PM
They support some gun control cause they want to get reelected.

You darn well know the field day the press would have over "plastic guns".

But not even law enforcement can have "plastic guns" so I don't care.

And the AP handgun ammo ban passed with veto-proof majoritiies.

Did you know Dick Cheney opposed both measures?

Bartholomew Roberts
June 12, 2004, 07:10 PM
You may not agree, but those are the reasons why some such as myself see the FOPA as a bad thing overall.

Publicola, I agree that the machinegun ban portion of FOPA was bad for America in general and gun owners both. However, like I pointed out initially, eight years later the antis are going to be successful in banning guns that just look like machineguns and are actually nothing like them - do you think real machineguns would have been given a pass on that legislation?

Vetoing FOPA because of the machinegun ban would have likely gotten us a machinegun ban anyway but with none of the good parts of FOPA.

June 12, 2004, 08:35 PM
I remember listening to the Michael Reagan Show on the radio several years ago. MR was adopted by RR.

When Reagan did his AWBan actions, Michael Reagan told his father, "But, Dad. This would ban the very rifle you used to teach me how to shoot."

On the other hand...
(6)Nursing student rescued from mugger ... by Ronald Reagan
The Iowa Channel

"Former President Ronald Reagan is known as the 'Great Communicator,'
but one Iowa woman will always know him as her hero. Melba King was a
22-year-old nursing student in Des Moines in 1933. She was walking
home one autumn night when a mugger came up behind her with a gun and
demanded her money. At that moment, Ronald Reagan -- who was a Des
Moines radio sportscaster at the time -- came to her rescue. Reagan
pointed a .45-caliber revolver at the robber from the window of his
second-floor rented room. And he said, 'Leave her alone or I'll shoot
you right between the shoulders,' King told KCCI. ... King didn't see
Reagan again until 1984, when Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad heard her
story and invited her to an Iowa caucus campaign event. After King
and Reagan hugged on stage, Reagan laughed, and said to the crowd,
'This is the first time I've had a chance to tell you the gun was
empty. I didn't have any cartridges. If he hadn't run when I told him
to, I was going to have to throw it at him.'" (06/07/04)

Harry Tuttle
June 13, 2004, 06:52 AM
• Reagan's Assault Weapons Ban Legacy. While the nation mourns President Reagan,On Target looks at the conservative icon’s enlightened stands on gun policy in his later years.

Later, in 1994, Reagan directly lobbied Members of Congress to pass the federal Assault Weapons Ban. The ban passed the U.S. House of Representatives 216-214, a margin of just two votes. One of those votes was cast by former Rep. Dick Swett (D-NH), who credited Reagan’s direct involvement for his "aye" vote. Swett told the Boston Globe, "he made up his mind after being lobbied by the idol of GOP conservatives, President Ronald Reagan."

Reagan also won over the second vote that made the Assault Weapons Ban law. According to Wisconsin's Capital Times, former Rep. Scott Klug (R-WI) voted for the assault weapons ban only after a "last-minute plea" from Reagan.

Said the Times: "For Klug...the defining moment came when he received a personal message from former President Ronald Reagan. A handwritten note from Reagan was faxed to Klug, asking the Wisconsin congressman to support the ban. The note said, in part: 'Dear Scott: As a longtime gun owner and supporter of the right to bear arms, I, too, have carefully thought about this issue. I am convinced that the limitations imposed in this bill are absolutely necessary. I know there is heavy pressure on you to go the other way, but I strongly urge you to join me in supporting this bill. It must be passed. Sincerely, Ronald Reagan.'"

Bartholomew Roberts
June 13, 2004, 09:36 PM
Rep. Dick Swett (D-NH) - voted out of office in 1994 coincidentally...

Rep. Scott Klug (R-WI) - retired from Congress after he decided Republicans were becoming "too extreme" for him in 1998.

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