BELLEVUE, WA – From a former congressman who couldn’t win a primary election to run for the United States Senate, to a former mayor who couldn’t win Senate or congressional races in his home state, the Brady Campaign “sure can pick ‘em,” the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) said today.

SAF founder Alan M. Gottlieb noted that the recent announcement by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence that former anti-gun Fort Wayne, Indiana Mayor Paul Helmke has been named to succeed Michael D. Barnes as president of the organization is not surprising. Helmke has been out of the political spotlight only because he lost a Senate primary to Evan Bayh in 1998 and lost a congressional race against Rep. Mark Souder in 2000. Barnes lost a senate primary in 1986 after having given up his House position to run for that statewide office.

“In both cases,” Gottlieb observed, “neither man was able to get broad public support in their own states, largely based on their political positions. Whatever they were selling, their own constituents weren’t buying, and that kind of background certainly fits well with the Brady Campaign, because the public isn’t buying their snake oil agenda, either.

“Anti-gun hysteria no longer works on Capitol Hill,” Gottlieb continued, “and simply because the Brady Campaign has a different leader doesn’t mean they have a different message. Their gun-grabbing philosophy may be re-packaged, but once the wrapping is peeled away, you find a worn out, recycled product inside.

“They’ve changed the rhetoric from ‘gun control’ to ‘gun safety’,” he added, “and claimed that their extremist goals are ‘sensible,’ but ultimately, the American public increasingly recognizes that the gun control lobby hopes to someday make private firearms ownership virtually impossible except for the privileged elite.

“Americans understand that genuine ‘common sense’ legislation locks criminals up without infringing on the right to keep and bear arms,” Gottlieb concluded. “Law-abiding citizens realize that responsible people can and should own the firearm they choose, no matter what it looks like. The difference between average Americans and the Brady Campaign elitists is that we believe in rights, and they think rights are privileges that can be taken away.”

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