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Stephanie V's House O' Aggregation
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>>...This article originally appeared on AlterNet.                                   

The 143-year-old National Rifle Association has not always been like  today’s NRA, fighting every gun control law as if the essence of  American freedom depends on every citizen owning a gun. What follows are  a series of shocking quotes taken from various academic histories of  the NRA by top officials within the organization supporting reasonable  gun control laws.

1. “I have never believed in the general  practice of carrying weapons,” said NRA President Karl T. Frederick, a  1920 Olympic gold-medal winner for marksmanship who became a lawyer,  praising state gun control laws in Congress. He testified before the  1938 federal gun control law passed. “I do not believe in the general  promiscuous toting of guns. I think it should be sharply restricted and  only under licenses.”

2. “We do think that any sane American, who  calls himself an American, can object to placing into this bill the  instrument which killed the president of the United States,” NRA  Executive Vice-President Franklin Orth told Congress, shortly after Lee  Harvey Oswald shot and killed President John F. Kennedy with an Italian  military surplus rifle Oswald bought from a mail-order ad in the NRA’sAmerican Rifleman magazine.

3.  “There’s no reason why on the street today a citizen should be carrying  loaded weapons,” said California Gov. Ronald Reagan in May 1967, after  two dozen Black Panther Party members walked into the California  Statehouse carrying rifles to protest a gun-control bill. Reagan said  guns were “a ridiculous way to solve problems that have to be solved  among people of good will.”

4. “You do know that I am a member of  the NRA and my position on the right to bear arms is well known,” Reagan  said, speaking out in support of the 1994 Brady bill to create new  background checks and a waiting period for gun buyers. “But I want you  to know something else, and I am going to say it in clear, unmistakable  language: I support the Brady Bill and I urge Congress to enact it  without further delay.”

5. “To ‘keep and bear arms’ for hunting  today is essentially a recreational activity and not an imperative of  survival, as it was 200 years ago; ‘Saturday night specials’ [handguns]  and machine guns are not recreational weapons and surely are as much in  need of regulation as motor vehicles,” said retired U.S. Supreme Court  Chief Justice Warren Burger in Parade magazine, in January 1990.

6.  The Second Amendment “has been the subject of one of the greatest  pieces of fraud, I repeat the word fraud, on the American public by  special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime,” Burger told PBS’ News Hour in late 1991, referring to the NRA’s claim that the U.S. Constitution included a personal right to own guns.

7.  “These people are crazy,” said Alan Gura, referring to NRA critics who  said he’d ceded too much to gun control arguments when he successfully  argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in March 2008 to overturn the  District of Columbia’s handgun ban and establish a Second Amendment  right to a handgun at home for self-defense. “I could have, if I wanted  to, stood before the Court and said, ‘Yes, [the Amendment’s clause]  shall not be infringed,’ means you would never have any gun laws, and of  course need to all have machine guns in case we want to overthrow the  government, and while we’re at it we should have rocket launchers and  stinger missiles. And that would have probably made me very popular in  some cabin somewhere out there in the woods… Of course, I would have  lost 9-0.”

Editor’s note: These quotes were cited or referred to in UCLA law professor Adam Winkler’s 2011 book,Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America.<<