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Statement from John Kerry in Iowa on Howard Dean's Position on Assault Weapons

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Statement from John Kerry in Iowa on Howard Dean's Position on Assault Weapons
October  31,  2003

"I am going hunting out there with a 12-guage shotgun, and not an assault weapon.  And I will tell you, we have another special interest in this country that fights against common sense.  Back in the 1990s, many of us were fighting to get a ban on assault weapons in the streets of America because those weapons belong in the hands of our military folks, and people who are fighting wars, not in the hands of average citizens. 

"While we were doing that, we were fighting against a powerful interest—a special interest called the NRA.  And that special interest tried to stop us from doing what every law enforcement office or body in this country wanted to do.  The police wanted to do it, the ATF wanted to do it, all of the major law enforcement people—the state, federal, and local—wanted to get the assault weapons ban because people were seeing assault weapons in the hands of criminals in this country. 

"We fought to do that—I stood up and fought to do that.  Many of us took the heat of the NRA—we stood up against their interests knowing that they may not give millions of dollars to our campaigns and we passed it.  We need to reauthorize that assault weapons ban today in this country. 

"Now, I just learned that Governor Howard Dean, during the time that we were fighting to pass this, was appealing to the NRA for their support.  During the time we were struggling and every law enforcement office in America wanting to pass it, Howard Dean was asking for the NRA's endorsement—and he got it.  And even today, in this campaign, over the course of this last year, he has been going around talking to people about how useful it is, and how good it is to have the endorsement of the NRA. 

"I say to you my friend, we do not want a nominee—we don't need a candidate, we don't need to be a party—that says we need to be the candidates of the NRA."

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