George Bush Sr. on Gun Control

President of the U.S., 1989-1993; Former Republican Rep. (TX)


1995: Ripped up NRA card for calling feds jack-booted thugs

The President had held out on the Brady Bill to appease the NRA, but by then he had alienated the powerful gun lobby as well as its opponents. In 1992, all fled from him. The NRA withheld its endorsement. James Brady left the Republican Party & endorsed Bill Clinton who promised to sign the Brady Bill, which he did in 1993.

Bush exacted his revenge in May 1995, when he read about an NRA fund-raising letter that described federal agents as "jack-booted thugs". Ripping up his NRA membership card, Bush wrote a letter of resignation, which his office made public. He accused the NRA of slandering dedicated officials "who are out there day and night laying their lives on the line for all of us."

Bush's act of principle received national publicity but not national respect. Gun-control advocates were unhappy that he had not resigned from the NRA when he could have made a difference, and the gun lobby dismissed his resignation as an act of pique, nothing more than petty payback.

Source: The Family, by Kitty Kelley, p.505-506 , Sep 14, 2004

1995: Resigned from NRA after NRA called feds "thugs"

Bush resigned his lifetime membership in the National Rifle Association over the group's reference to federal agents as a collection of "jackbooted government thugs." In a May 3, 1995 letter to the NRA's president, the former president protested the comments made by Wayne LaPierre in a NRA mass-mailing to its membership.

In the solicitation letter, LaPierre wrote, "If you have a badge you have the government's go-ahead to harass, intimidate, even murder law-abiding citizens." He also referred to the ATF: "Not long ago, it was unthinkable for federal agents wearing Nazi bucket helmets and black storm trooper uniforms to attack law-abiding citizens."

"Your broadside against federal agents deeply offends my concept of service to country," wrote an uncharacteristically angry Bush, who as president and political candidate, frequently had praised the NRA. "I am outraged. Please remove my name from your membership list."

In a brief statement, LaPierre refused to apologize.

Source: Fortunate Son, by J.H.Hatfield, p.154 , Aug 17, 1999

Ban semi-automatic imports; but committed to gunowner rights

Our problem has been that, while fully automatic AK47s are banned in this country, semiautomatic ones present another whole set of issues. ATF has decided to ban temporarily the importation of more than 110,000 semiautomatic rifles, pending a ruling on whether such guns are suited to sporting purposes.

Although my commitment to the rights of sportsmen and others who own guns legitimately remains firm, I'm eager to do anything within reason to keep these weapons out of the hands of criminals.

Source: Letter from George Bush in All The Best, p.419 , Mar 28, 1989

Opposes gun control because it does not work

No law will stop someone from taking a pistol and shooting another human being. We have had laws on this general subject since the greatest of them all was brought down from Mount Sinai, and they have had scant effect.

A law controlling firearms would be no different. What we in this country have is a human problem, infinitely complex in composition and certainly in solution.

When a person intends to kill another, he or she will proceed to do so with whatever tool is at hand. It can be a knife, a shovel, or a firepoker. Yet no one seriously proposes outlawing every sharp or blunt instrument within the reach of a possible murderer.

I do not oppose gun control because I am insensitive to the sort of brutality that [hospital staff] see every day. I do so because I believe gun control does not work. The actual solution lies far beyond the power of lawmakers, in the vast territory of the human mind. There it is either adopted in moments of anger or thrust aside in the impulse to kill.

Source: Letter from George Bush in All The Best, p.291 , Mar 10, 1980

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Other past presidents on Gun Control: George Bush Sr. on other issues:
Former Presidents:
Barack Obama(D,2009-2017)
George W. Bush(R,2001-2009)
Bill Clinton(D,1993-2001)
George Bush Sr.(R,1989-1993)
Ronald Reagan(R,1981-1989)
Jimmy Carter(D,1977-1981)
Gerald Ford(R,1974-1977)
Richard Nixon(R,1969-1974)
Lyndon Johnson(D,1963-1969)
John F. Kennedy(D,1961-1963)
Dwight Eisenhower(R,1953-1961)
Harry S Truman(D,1945-1953)

Past Vice Presidents:
V.P.Joseph Biden
V.P.Dick Cheney
V.P.Al Gore
V.P.Dan Quayle
Sen.Bob Dole

Political Parties:
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Democratic Party
Libertarian Party
Green Party
Reform Party
Natural Law Party
Tea Party
Constitution Party
Civil Rights
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Homeland Security
Social Security
Tax Reform

Page last updated: Feb 22, 2022