Tags: holder | gun | control

Eric Holder Was a Gun Control Nightmare

Friday, 21 Nov 2008 11:03 AM

By Jim Meyers

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Barack Obama’s nomination of Eric Holder for attorney general will not sit well with advocates of Second Amendment rights — Holder has consistently championed stronger gun-control measures.

As deputy attorney general in the Bill Clinton administration from 1997 to 2001, Holder “was a strong supporter of restrictive gun control,” according to The Volokh Conspiracy, a Web site that focuses on the legal system and the courts.

He advocated federal licensing of handgun owners, a three-day waiting period on handgun sales, rationing handgun sales to no more than one per month, banning possession of handguns and so-called "assault weapons" by anyone under age 21, a gun show restriction bill that would have given the federal government the power to shut down all gun shows, and national gun registration.

“He also promoted the factoid that ‘Every day that goes by, about 12, 13 more children in this country die from gun violence’ — a statistic that is true only if one counts 18-year-old gangsters who shoot each other as ‘children,’” noted the Web site, founded by law professor Alexander Volokh.

After the 9/11 attacks, Holder wrote an opinion piece for The Washington Post arguing that a new law should give "the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms a record of every firearm sale." He also said prospective gun buyers should be checked against the secret "watch lists" compiled by various government entities.

Earlier this year, Holder — who would become the first African-American attorney general — co-signed an amicus brief in support of the District of Columbia’s ban on all handguns and on the use of any firearm for self-defense in the home.

Holder also played a key role in the snatching of 6-year-old Cuban Elian Gonzalez from his Miami relatives’ home in April 2000, according to the Web site. Gonzalez was to be sent to Cuba where his father lived.

Although a photo clearly showed a federal agent pointing a gun at the man who was holding the terrified child, Holder claimed that the federal agents sent to capture Gonzalez had acted "very sensitively."

David Kopel, author of the Volokh Conspiracy report, observed: “If Mr. Holder believes that breaking down a door with a battering ram, pointing guns at children (not just Elian), and yelling ‘Get down, get down, we'll shoot’ is an example of acting ‘very sensitively,’ his judgment about the responsible use of firearms is not as acute as would be desirable for a cabinet officer who would be in charge of thousands and thousands of armed federal agents, many of them paramilitary agents with machine guns.”

Holder has already come under fire due to his involvement in the Mark Rich pardon in the final hours of the Clinton presidency.

Billionaire Rich renounced his U.S. citizenship and moved to Switzerland to avoid prosecution for racketeering, wire fraud, tax fraud, tax evasion, and illegal trades with Iran in violation of the U.S. embargo following the 1979-80 hostage crisis.

Seventeen years later, Rich wanted a pardon, and he retained Jack Quinn, former counsel to the president, to lobby his old boss.

Holder had originally recommended Quinn to one of Rich's advisers, political analyst Dick Morris reported. And he gave substantive advice to Quinn along the way.

Once the pardon was granted, Holder sent his congratulations to Quinn.

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