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1995: George H.W. Bush Resigned Lifetime NRA Membership Over LaPierre Fanaticism

by David Badash on December 22, 2012

in Guns,News,Politics

Post image for 1995: George H.W. Bush Resigned Lifetime NRA Membership Over LaPierre Fanaticism

“On April 13, less than a week before the Oklahoma City bombing, Mr. LaPierre signed a fund-raising letter asserting that President Clinton’s ban on assault weapons ‘gives jackbooted Government thugs more power to take away our constitutional rights, break in our doors, seize our guns, destroy our property and even injure and kill us,’” The New York Times reported in May of 1995:

From a “special report” in “The American Rifleman,” the N.R.A. magazine, June 1994 edition, written by Wayne R. LaPierre Jr., the association’s executive vice president. It is titled, “The Final War Has Begun.”

“How long are the American people going to put up with this sort of thing? It is popular at this time to compare the behavior our uncontrolled Federal agents to that of the Nazis in the Third Reich. It may be that this is a valid comparison, but the Nazis are long ago and far away, whereas the ninja in the U.S. are right now in full-cry and apparently without fear of any sort of control. The move mainly at night. They conceal their faces. They use overwhelming firepower and the make almost no effort to identify their targets. They are scarier than the Nazis — who at least never concealed their faces.”

On April 19, 1995, Timothy McVeigh bombed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City, in the worst terrorism act on U.S. soil until the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Also via The New York Times in 1995:

Following is the letter of resignation sent last week by former President George [H.W.] Bush to the National Rifle Association: May 3, 1995

Dear Mr. Washington,

I was outraged when, even in the wake of the Oklahoma City tragedy, Mr. Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of N.R.A., defended his attack on federal agents as “jack-booted thugs.” To attack Secret Service agents or A.T.F. people or any government law enforcement people as “wearing Nazi bucket helmets and black storm trooper uniforms” wanting to “attack law abiding citizens” is a vicious slander on good people.

Al Whicher, who served on my [ United States Secret Service ] detail when I was Vice President and President, was killed in Oklahoma City. He was no Nazi. He was a kind man, a loving parent, a man dedicated to serving his country — and serve it well he did.

In 1993, I attended the wake for A.T.F. agent Steve Willis, another dedicated officer who did his duty. I can assure you that this honorable man, killed by weird cultists, was no Nazi.

John Magaw, who used to head the U.S.S.S. and now heads A.T.F., is one of the most principled, decent men I have ever known. He would be the last to condone the kind of illegal behavior your ugly letter charges. The same is true for the F.B.I.’s able Director Louis Freeh. I appointed Mr. Freeh to the Federal Bench. His integrity and honor are beyond question.

Both John Magaw and Judge Freeh were in office when I was President. They both now serve in the current administration. They both have badges. Neither of them would ever give the government’s “go ahead to harass, intimidate, even murder law abiding citizens.” (Your words)

I am a gun owner and an avid hunter. Over the years I have agreed with most of N.R.A.’s objectives, particularly your educational and training efforts, and your fundamental stance in favor of owning guns.

However, your broadside against Federal agents deeply offends my own sense of decency and honor; and it offends my concept of service to country. It indirectly slanders a wide array of government law enforcement officials, who are out there, day and night, laying their lives on the line for all of us.

You have not repudiated Mr. LaPierre’s unwarranted attack. Therefore, I resign as a Life Member of N.R.A., said resignation to be effective upon your receipt of this letter. Please remove my name from your membership list. Sincerely, [ signed ] George Bush

Image by dbking via Flickr

Hat tip: Catherine Crier

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{ 4 comments }

Bose_in_SP_MN December 23, 2012 at 12:17 am

Thank you, David and @CatherineCrier.

This matters.

Diogenes_Arktos December 23, 2012 at 3:37 pm

Plus ca change…

sidney18511 December 28, 2012 at 11:37 am

Except for spawning dubya, the old man had some ethics.

Webmind January 1, 2013 at 10:43 pm

The nazis were also "kind men, loving parents, dedicated to serving their country".

Therein lies the problem.

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