(The latest Neal Knox reports had been written by his son Chris as Neal battled health problems.)
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nov. 10) It was wonderful to see John Kerry go down, along with the judges he would nominate, the Attorney General and other agency heads he would choose to harass law-abiding firearms owners, and the people he would select to represent the U.S. at next summer’s United Nations conference on international firearms controls.
We made gains in the House and for the first time in years won a pro-gun majority in the Senate with a net gain of four seats -- replacing retiring anti-gunners in Florida, Louisiana, North Carolina, and South Carolina with pro-gunners, and defeating Democrat Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota.
Republicans and pro-gunners now *own* both state houses in Georgia for the first time since the Civil War, and took houses in Tennessee, Oklahoma and Indiana. Democrats won both houses in Colorado and one in Montana, North Carolina, Oregon, Vermont and Washington
My satisfaction with the re-election of President George W. Bush was damped by his game-playing over the Clinton gun ban, saying he would sign an extension of the law if it came to his desk -- while making sure it didn’t.
Though Sen. Kerry staged two canned hunts and attended a claybird shoot with the press in tow, made ludicrous claims about his hunting skills, accepted a shotgun from the union workers who made the gun, and said he wouldn’t “tinker” with the Second Amendment -- despite his dozens of Senate votes to do just that -- Mr. Bush said nothing about gun laws except restrictions he supported.
Pres. Bush didn’t challenge Kerry’s perfect anti-gun record, or mention having and using more guns than Kerry, signing the Texas concealed carry law, or supporting the bill to protect the gun industry from frivolous lawsuits -- which Kerry helped kill last March.
Had the President not run to the left of leftist Kerry on guns, had he said half as much about defending the Second Amendment, guns and hunting as Kerry did, Bush would have picked up far more votes -- perhaps the needed 1-2 percent needed to win narrowly lost gunowner-abundant states like Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, winning an electoral landslide.
Karl Rove, “the architect” of Mr. Bush’s campaign, is the protégé of my one-time friend, the late Lee Atwater, who infamously said while directing Papa Bush’s 1992 re-election campaign, “Where else do gun owners have to go?” Spurred by two major anti-gun actions by George H.W. Bush, gun owners made up much of the 19 percent who went with Ross Perot and elected Bill Clinton. Rove didn’t get that message.
However, the Rove and Ken Mehlman Republican grass roots campaign, and NRA’s Federal campaign, were outstanding – with few exceptions.
The March votes for the “assault weapon” extension and Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) bill requiring background checks on private transfers at gun shows and elsewhere showed we needed three more votes. Pro-gunners won a net four.
It was a delight to see the defeat of Daschle, who played a major role in torpedoing the firearms industry liability protection bill he “co-sponsored” earlier this year. And we got proven pro-gunner John Thune in the bargain.
Also particularly significant were the Senate wins of Rep. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), proven pro-gunners who are known as mavericks likely to upset the collegial atmosphere in the Senate.
Republicans were expected to lose votes in the House, despite a gerrymandered redistricting of Texas -- engineered by Majority Leader Tom DeLay to reverse a 1990 pro-Democrat gerrymander engineered by anti-gun Rep. Martin Frost (a fact never mentioned by the press). Frost was defeated, as were three usually pro-gun Democrats.
Only anti-gun Rep. Chet Edwards survived, winning his new district by a greater margin than he did in 2002 against an underfunded pro-gun challenger who received no support from the party or Pres. Bush, whose ranch is in Edwards’ district.
Overall, Republicans did well in the House, increasing their margin by two, to 231. Gun owners did even better, moving up to 235. Two seats must still be decided in Louisiana runoffs, but all four candidates are “A”-rated by NRA.
Much of gun owners’ gain was due to the replacement of three retiring anti-gun Republicans with pro-gun Republicans.
The Senate gains, should allow much reform legislation, some of it already in the works. Neither we nor Republicans have the 60 votes to stop a Senate filibuster, but with the defeat of obstructionist Daschle fresh in Democrats’ minds, filibusters are less likely -- even in the soon-to-come fight over terminally ill Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Rehnquist’s replacement.
I apologize that this note is belated. As you can imagine, I have many distractions these days. My health outlook is not as good as I’d like, although not as bad as it could be. My thanks for the many expressions of concern and support, and especially for your prayers. -- Neal Knox