For Immediate Release
Jul 31, 2006
Contact: Press Office
New Documents Detail Clinton White House Behind-the-Scenes Role in "War" on Gun Rights
Pushed Plan to Attack the Gun Industry, a la "Big Tobacco"
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch, the public interest group that fights government corruption, announced today that it has uncovered new documents from the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Arkansas which shed light on the Clintons’ plan to attack the gun industry. The following are highlights from the documents:
A March 6, 2000 letter from New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer includes a handwritten note at the top from Bill Clinton to then-White House Deputy Counsel Bruce Lindsey, which reads: "Bruce, See me re: this…has some good ideas for future." Among the "good ideas" -- denying gun manufacturers the right to sell guns to the military and law enforcement unless they sign an anti-gun "code of conduct" that would have crippled the industry.
A memorandum from former Clinton Advisor Sidney Blumenthal to Bruce Reed, Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, dated November 9, 1998, reads: "I've enclosed an article and a press release about the new effort to file class action suits against gun manufacturers. I think this is a very promising idea. Let's talk about it soon." The press release, from the Mayor’s Office in New Orleans, was in draft form, suggesting the Mayor coordinated the strategy with the White House.
The "promising idea" identified by Blumenthal involved filing massive product liability and negligence lawsuits against major handgun makers, "the opening salvo in a campaign against the gun industry by an alliance of anti-tobacco attorneys and local governments," wrote The Los Angeles Times. According to one of the lawyers involved in the lawsuits: "We are going to do to [the gun industry] what we did to tobacco. It's going to be a very large war."
In March 2000, less than two years after the Blumenthal memo referenced above, the Clinton strategy was used to strong-arm gun manufacturer Smith and Wesson to install gun locks, introduce so-called “smart gun” strategy, and to ban the sale of its weapons at trade shows. Smith and Wesson broke ranks with other gun manufacturers and agreed to execute this strategy if a lawsuit against the company would be dropped.
“These new documents clearly show that the Clinton administration put into motion an organized plan to attack the gun industry,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Tough questions about these extortive methods ought to be asked of both Clintons.”