66 Days: Elizabeth Dole makes a "jolting turnabout" on gun control

DAY 66

During her first campaign for U.S. Senate Elizabeth Dole showed North Carolina how easily she changes her positions to suit her needs when she did an about-face on gun control. In a rare departure from the Republican Party line, Dole came out in support of several gun control measures in 1999 while running for President from Kansas. But in 2001, running for U.S. Senate in North Carolina, Dole saw the writing on the wall and changed her position on gun control to pander to the people in North Carolina. Kay has been and remains an ardent supporter of Second Amendment Rights and has the independence to stand up for what she believes on every issue.


1999: Dole Supported Gun Control Measures. In 1999, Dole supported several gun control measures including closing the gun show loophole, a three day waiting period for background checks, and mandatory trigger locks. She also called for banning assault weapons and mandatory background checks. According to Newsweek, Elizabeth Dole was the only Republican presidential candidate in 1999 to “back tighter gun laws.” [Newsweek, 5/31/99; Plain Dealer, 7/13/99; Associated Press, 5/15/99; Charleston Post and Courier, 7/29/99; Associated Press, 5/25/01; Newsweek, 8/30/99]

Favored Banning Assault Rifles And Putting Child Safety Locks On All Guns; Called It “Crime Control, Not Gun Control.” Dole favored “a ban on assault rifles, child safety locks on all guns and a ban on so-called ‘cop-killer’ bullets,” according to the State Journal Register. Dole stated, “I call it crime control, not gun control.” [State Journal-Register, 8/29/99]

Dole Attacked Gun Lobby; Said It Was “Wrong to Let People Carry Concealed Weapons.” In 1999, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reported, “Elizabeth Dole broadened her attack on the gun lobby Tuesday, saying it was ‘wrong to let people carry concealed weapons.’ In a speech to a women’s forum in Washington, the Republican presidential hopeful also set herself apart from Texas Gov. George W. Bush, the GOP front-runner, by calling for mandatory child safety locks on firearms.” Dole also stated, “I believe Americans want their presidents to be inspiring, effective and confident ... and determined to ensure the safety of our kids on the streets and in their schools - even if it means having the guts to stand up to the gun lobby.” [St. Louis Post Dispatch, 5/12/99]

Wanted To Ban Some Weapons; Said “I Cannot Imagine Why Any Family Would Need An AK-47 To Protect Themselves.”
In 2001, “Dole said that as president she would sign a bill passed last week by the U.S. Senate requiring background checks for weapon sales at gun shows and child safety locks on all guns,” according to the Associated Press. Dole stated, “We need to pass this law - not because two tragic shootings took place - we need to pass this law because it is the right thing to do.” The Associated Press also noted, “[Dole] also reiterated her belief that no civilian needs an assault rifle.” Dole stated, “I cannot imagine why any family would need an AK-47 to protect themselves or to go hunting. They should be banned.” [Associated Press, 5/25/01]

Dole’s Support For Gun Control “From the Heart.” In 1999, Time noted, “First the majority of Senate Republicans voted against requiring mandatory background checks at gun shows. They then voted for it. Elizabeth Dole applauded herself for her move advocating controls two weeks ago. ‘These events demonstrate why it’s so important to speak from the heart, take consistent stands and then have the courage to follow them through,’ she said.” [Time, 5/31/99]

2001: Dole “Changed Positions” On Gun Control Issues. In 2001, Dole shifted her position on gun control and became a strong proponent of the Second Amendment. The Greensboro News and Observer noted, “Dole has shifted her whole tone with regard to gun control, and changed positions on such issues as laws allowing the carrying of concealed weapons and the ban on assault weapons.” [Greensboro News and Observer, 11/20/01]

Raleigh News and Record: Editorial Said Dole “Made A Jolting Turnabout” On Gun Control. In November 2001, a Raleigh News and Record editorial stated, “During her brief 1999 presidential campaign, Elizabeth Dole was more renowned for her reticence than her willingness to take stands on issues. But on one issue - gun control - she admirably stood tall, willing to irk the right wing of the Republican Party to uphold her support for stiff gun-control laws. But now Dole has made a jolting turnabout. As a candidate for the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate, she knows North Carolinians are often more conservative than nationwide voters. So she has bent her principles to win the nomination.” [Editorial, Raleigh News and Record, 11/29/01]

Dole Changed Position On Assault Rifles. During the presidential campaign, Dole denounced assault rifles. The Greensboro News and Observer noted in 1999, Dole stated, “While I am a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, I simply cannot accept that in modern America you need an AK-47 to defend your family… I won’t shy away from the tough issues, even if some in my party don’t like it.” But as a Senate candidate, Dole wrote, “Seven years after President Clinton and his allies outlawed so-called ‘assault’ weapons, there appears to have been little effect on crime prevention or punishment.” [Greensboro News and Observer, 11/20/01]

Dole Called For Tougher Enforcement Instead Of Safety Measures. In February 2002, the Raleigh News and Record reported, “To shore up support from staunch conservatives, Dole urged tougher enforcement of current gun -control laws instead of passing more restrictions - a shift from her past position for child safety locks on firearms and an end to concealed weapons.” [Raleigh News and Record, 2/24/02]

NRA Reportedly Didn’t Want To Endorse Dole In 2002. In March 2002, a policy staffer for the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action reportedly said of Dole, “We don’t want to endorse her…She’s been awful on gun ownership issues, gun control issues. The NRA can’t be expected just to endorse every Republican the party puts up.” An NRA board member added, “This North Carolina race may be our opportunity to show our independence.” [Washington Times, 3/27/02]

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