Coors, Schaffer Debate Gun Laws
by Steve Gresh, May 19, 2004
The Pikes Peak Firearms Coalition hosted a debate between U.S. Senate candidates Pete Coors and Bob Schaffer on Thursday, May 13. [Editor's note: Coors and Schaffer are the two Colorado Republicans competing for the position. The two Democrats are Ken Salazar and Mike Miles.]
The following is a transcript of the question that I asked and their responses.
"The question is for both candidates, but specifically Mr. Schaffer, I would like to know why you did not answer three of the questions on the survey. My question is please identify which of the following federal gun control laws you would vote to repeal: A. the National Firearms Act of 1934, B. the Gun Control Act of 1968, C. Brady background checks, D. the assault weapons ban, or simply E. all of the above. Thank you."
"I'll gladly go first and say all of the above. I just don't think it's any more complicated than that."
"I anticipated your question and I appreciate that. And, I want you to know. I don't know. I'll get to that in a second. I am not for any law that restricts the rights enumerated in the Second Amendment. And, if given the chance to vote for any legislation on that basis, I would certainly vote against any law that restricts the rights further. I would vote in favor of any law that enhances or reaffirms our Second Amendment rights. Let me tell you how careful we have to be in the context of an election. There are people here in the media and others who are just dying to misrepresent a pro-Second Amendment candidate for office. I've learned this the hard way over time. And, I'll give you an example on the Lautenberg Amendment, for example. I want you to know I am not in favor of providing, nor is it my intention to go to Washington and become the champion and advocate for gun rights for those who have been convicted of domestic violence. That is something that the media would love to misinterpret and misrepresent and it can kill an election that way. And, I don't think we, as Second Amendment advocates, can afford that kind of thing. So, I'm more than comfortable to point you to my voting record, which is on the record, on many of the issues that I didn't answer here. There is something unique about me on some of these issues because I voted your way on these topics and I'm very proud of that and it is a matter of public record. But, in these campaigns as a candidate, you've got to be darn careful. I am going to be in control of my message. I assume the organization is a fine organization. I've never represented this part of Colorado before. I really don't know about you. I don't know what you do with these surveys. I don't know how you utilize them. I don't know. And, I want to make sure that I'm in control of my message and my campaign. And, that is the reason I'm very, very careful in answering surveys like this becaus e it's very easy for politicians to be abused and burned by a media that doesn't like conservatives who win elections. And, so I hope you'll forgive me for that. I knew that would be a question today. But, I got to tell you I've run several campaigns and several elections and this is a real danger. And, I think it's more important for us to win and to have the correct votes cast on the floor of the United States Senate than it is -- frankly, then I hope I don't offend people by filling out every single question here that some of these folks are just dying to abuse."
Steve Gresh serves as Secretary for the Pikes Peak Firearms Coalition and Vice President for the Colorado chapter of the Republican Liberty Caucus.