Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

One On One With Rep. Tom Delay

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

SPECIAL REPORT

One On One
With House
Majority Leader
Tom DeLay
NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox recently met with House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX)
to discuss current legislation and the 2004 elections.

Cox: Congressman DeLay, most people know you are the House Majority Leader, but they probably don't know exactly what that job actually involves. Could you briefly fill us in?

Rep. DeLay: Well, my job as Majority Leader is to make the trains run on time. The key part of my job is to bring legislation to the floor, where timing and momentum mean everything. I work with the Republicans in the House, mostly committee chairmen, to make sure our national priorities of security, prosperity, and family are addressed in each piece of legislation we work on. I also work with the Speaker and others in leadership to not only create a comprehensive agenda, but to make sure it gets passed.

Cox: Since an important part of your job is helping set the legislative agenda and schedule, what can you tell NRA members about upcoming issues that would be of particular interest to them?

Rep. DeLay: One thing I know about NRA members is that they're not just worried about the Second Amendment. Any issue of freedom and personal responsibility concerns them, and one of my main goals this year is bringing personal responsibility and accountability back into our lives and our legislation. These issues range from the "Cheeseburger Bill" that protects restaurants from being sued because someone enjoyed their product a little too much, to shielding gunmakers from predatory lawsuits simply because their product wasn't used as it was intended.

One piece of legislation that your members should be concerned about is the "Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act," which will allow current or former law enforcement officers to carry concealed handguns. These officers were in charge of protecting us when they were on duty, and should have the ability to continue making our streets safe. This bill will improve officer safety while improving public safety. The legislation has widespread support, with 290 co-sponsors in the House and 67 in the Senate at last count, and I expect it to pass sometime this year.

Cox: The threat of global terrorism is the overriding concern to many Americans, and many folks are concerned about potential losses of liberty here at home. As one of our country's political leaders, how would you answer the question: "What is the price of freedom?"

Rep. DeLay: In my opinion, there is no way to measure the price of freedom, because some people value it more than others. Ask the men and women in Iraq who are now voting--holding public office even--what they would be willing to do to keep this freedom. Ask the American soldiers who are fighting to make sure all of us who have witnessed terrorism at its worst will not see it again. But if you ask those who live under the boot heel of tyranny, those who have never seen freedom, the price may be different. But for people like us who know no other way of life, freedom is priceless.

"There are hundreds of extreme environmental groups attacking the Second Amendment with zeal. We must fight back for our constitutional rights."

--House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX)

Cox: Congressman, you are a native Texan, born in Laredo, and you've represented the people of the 22nd District in the House of Representatives since 1984. When we talk about the Lone Star State, we're talking about a state where hunting is more a way of life than a tradition and also plays an important role in the Texas economy. What do you see as the biggest threat facing hunters today, and what can they and/or Congress do about it?

Rep. DeLay: The greatest threat I see for hunters and their future is not enough of them are organizing and speaking with one voice, which is why the NRA is so important for protecting our hunting tradition and its future. There are hundreds of extreme environmental groups out there that wake up every morning with the goal of taking our guns away. They are at the local, state, and federal levels attacking the Second Amendment with zeal. We must fight back for our constitutional rights and speak with a clear, commanding, unified voice.

Cox: Will the House Leadership get behind the "Open Fields" legislation and help it get through Congress this year? [Editor's note: the "Voluntary Access and Habitat Incentive Program" or "Open Fields" legislation, introduced by Sens. Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Kent Conrad (D-ND) and Reps. Tom Osborne (R-NE) and Earl Pomeroy (D-ND), authorizes funding to support state programs that provide economic incentives to private landowners who voluntarily open their lands to hunting, fishing, and other wildlife related activities.];

Rep. DeLay: Congress needs to find ways to work with private land owners to encourage public hunting and fishing access. Without working together, hunting opportunities and areas will continue to decline. The decline of hunting in this country could turn around if hunters had access to more land, and Congressman Tom Osborne is doing great work getting this bill through the committee process.

Cox: More than a year ago the House of Representatives voted by a margin of more than 2 to 1 to pass the "Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act" to protect the nation's firearm industry from baseless, predatory lawsuits. What was your reaction to the U.S. Senate's refusal to vote out a clean bill as President Bush urged it to do?

U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (l.) told NRA-ILA's Chris W. Cox, "We must fight back for our constitutional rights and speak with a clear, commanding, unified voice."

Rep. DeLay: I was not surprised; however, I was disappointed when the Senate started to amend the legislation, effectively inserting poison pills into what was a widely supported bill. Frivolous lawsuits are burdens on our economy and our competitiveness. Now that the dust has settled, I hope the Senate can come up with a plan to move forward so that the president can sign this bill into law.

Cox: During debate on the "Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act," the Senate passed an amendment by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) to extend Bill Clinton's 1994 gun ban for another 10 years. Back in 1996, you were one of 239 House members who voted to repeal the ban. Why did you believe the law should be repealed then, and has anything during the past 10 years happened to change your opinion?

Rep. DeLay: I am and have been against the gun ban, because I believe it violates the Second Amendment, and nothing in the last 10 years has changed that. The Second Amendment states that "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed," and I don't see enough support in the House to ensure passage of something that would so blatantly infringe on this individual right.

Cox: Not long ago, Vice President Cheney remarked that in the 2004 presidential race, voters will have the clearest choice in 20 years--since Walter Mondale ran against President Reagan. Do you agree with his assessment?

Rep. DeLay: Instead of assuming the choice is clear for everyone, we need to define these two men and what they stand for to make the choice clear. Much like Mondale, Kerry is running a campaign based on hating the president and raising taxes. If this country has learned anything about its own fiscal security in the last 50 years, it's that raising taxes won't make anyone richer, and any candidate dumb enough to place that on their platform shouldn't be afforded the opportunity to even glance at the Oval Office.
Much like Ronald Reagan, President Bush has proven himself to be a principled, committed leader--the only kind of leader who can be trusted to keep our country secure and win the war on terror. The parallels between the two elections are uncanny, and hopefully they will extend to the election outcome, too.

Cox: There is a lot at stake for gun owners and sportsmen in the 2004 elections. As a Second Amendment supporter, what advice would you offer gun owners in general, and NRA members in particular, to help protect their rights and freedom?

Rep. DeLay: Make your voice heard at all levels of government. Today's county commissioners and state representatives are tomorrow's governors and congressmen. You represent a proud tradition of protecting individual rights in this country--don't take these elections lightly.

IN THIS ARTICLE
Politics
TRENDING NOW
Supreme Court Signals It May Rein In Federal Rulemakers

News  

Monday, August 8, 2022

Supreme Court Signals It May Rein In Federal Rulemakers

While most of the attention from the end of the United States Supreme Court’s last term focused on several landmark cases, including a major win for gun owners in the NRA-supported case New York State Rifle ...

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

When Seconds Count, the Police are Only Hours Away

News  

Monday, August 8, 2022

When Seconds Count, the Police are Only Hours Away

After violent unrest and looting in 2020 that Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot admitted had “spread like wildfire” throughout parts of Chicago, the mayor nonetheless “urged Chicagoans not to take matters into their own hands in this concealed ...

Oregon: Faulty Gun Control Ballot Measure Summary Approved

Friday, August 12, 2022

Oregon: Faulty Gun Control Ballot Measure Summary Approved

This week, the Explanatory Statement Committee approved Ballot Measure 114’s (formerly IP 17) summary that will appear in the voter pamphlet.

House-Passed Gun Ban Shows the Importance of the Election This November

News  

Monday, August 1, 2022

House-Passed Gun Ban Shows the Importance of the Election This November

On Friday, after a last-minute rule change to allow its consideration, the United States House of Representatives passed H.R. 1808.

Another Good Guy with a Gun Stops the Bad Guy

News  

Monday, July 25, 2022

Another Good Guy with a Gun Stops the Bad Guy

On July 19, 22-year-old Elisjsha Dicken was shopping with his girlfriend at the Greenwood Park Mall in Greenwood, Ind. when a gunman armed with a rifle opened fire in the food court. Upon witnessing the ...

NRA Achieves Historical Milestone as 25 States Recognize Constitutional Carry

News  

Friday, April 1, 2022

NRA Achieves Historical Milestone as 25 States Recognize Constitutional Carry

Half the country will now enjoy the freedom to carry a handgun for self-defense without a permit from the state thanks to the tireless efforts of men and women of the National Rifle Association. 

NRA-ILA Backed Lawsuit Challenges California’s Ban on Promoting Youth-Hunting and Youth-Shooting-Sports Programs.

Friday, August 5, 2022

NRA-ILA Backed Lawsuit Challenges California’s Ban on Promoting Youth-Hunting and Youth-Shooting-Sports Programs.

Today in an NRA-ILA-backed lawsuit, a coalition of groups that offer and promote youth-firearm safety, youth-shooting sports, and youth-hunting and hunter-education programs filed a lawsuit challenging a newly passed California statute that prohibits them from ...

California: Appropriations Committees Pass Anti-Gun Bills to Floor

Friday, August 12, 2022

California: Appropriations Committees Pass Anti-Gun Bills to Floor

Yesterday, the Appropriations Committees of both chambers considered bills previously placed on the suspense file. SB 505, which would have required gun owners to carry insurance and held them strictly civilly liable, was held in committee, while the ...

Colorado Update: Boulder County Adopts Gun Control Package to Infringe Second Amendment Rights!

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Colorado Update: Boulder County Adopts Gun Control Package to Infringe Second Amendment Rights!

This week, the Boulder County Commissioners unanimously voted to pass a gun control package consisting of five ordinances to infringe on your Second Amendment rights. Commissioner Matt Jones claims these ordinances are “common-sense gun violence laws designed to ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.