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April 18, 2013

President Says “Gun Lobby and Its Allies Willfully Lied”

Gun Control Lobbyist Clarifies: “Bribery Isn’t What It Once Was”

President Obama appeared in the Rose Garden yesterday, even before all the votes had been counted in the Senate. Visibly outraged in speaking to the defeat of the Manchin-Toomey amendment, his remarks included the accusation that “the gun lobby and its allies willfully lied about the bill.” Read more below:

“But instead of supporting this compromise, the gun lobby and its allies willfully lied about the bill . . . And unfortunately, this pattern of spreading untruths about this legislation served a purpose, because those lies upset an intense minority of gun owners, and that in turn intimidated a lot of senators . . .”

“But the fact is most of these senators could not offer any good reason why we wouldn’t want to make it harder for criminals and those with severe mental illnesses to buy a gun. There were no coherent arguments as to why we wouldn’t do this. It came down to politics — the worry that that vocal minority of gun owners would come after them in future elections. They worried that the gun lobby would spend a lot of money and paint them as anti-Second Amendment.”

First, let’s address the accusation that we “willfully lied” about the bill. I welcome the White House to study our alert on the Manchin-Toomey bill and tell me what part of it contains any lies or misrepresentations of any kind.

Now, let’s address his assertion that there were “no coherent arguments” against the bill and that it “it came down to politics.” For coherent arguments, see our alert above. And as far as the statement that “it came down to politics,” I don’t think the President really wants Americans to know what kind of politics he employed in trying to strong-arm votes. But an anonymous gun control lobbyist felt free to inform reporters at Politico, so their story included the following quote:

“Bribery isn’t what it once was,” said an official with one of the major gun-control groups. “The government has no money. Once upon a time you would throw somebody a post office or a research facility in times like this. Frankly, there’s not a lot of leverage.”

Now, you can be the judge about who “willfully lied” about how the votes came out the way they did.

Larry Keane is senior vice president and general counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Follow him on Twitter at @lkeane.

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