Today, RNC Chairman Michael Steele spoke at the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) “Celebration of American Values” Leadership Forum. During his speech today, Steele criticized Barack Obama’s potential Supreme Court nominee, saying the President is “looking to put Doctor Phil on the Court.”
Steele also played to his NRA audience by fear-mongering that Democrats may take away Americans’ guns. He claimed that those guns are more necessary than ever since Guantanamo detainees may soon be in the United States and the public will have to defend itself:
It is ironic, to say the least, that at the same time Democrats in Congress are threatening to deny Americans their second amendment right to own a firearm and defend their families and homes, they are considering bringing terrorists like 9-11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed and other Al Qaeda detainees to our communities once the President follows through on his campaign promise to close Guantanamo Bay.
Since Obama announced that he was shutting down the Guantanamo Bay prison, conservatives have been warning that terrorists will soon be “living in your backyard.” “We don’t want these terrorists in our neighborhoods,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said yesterday on Fox News. “We don’t want them in our jails.” (Of couse, Guantanamo detainees transferred to the U.S. for trials would actually be housed in federal prisons, where dozens of dangerous terrorists are already held. In fact, the U.S. has already successfully prosecuted 145 terrorism cases in federal court, a sharp contrast to the series of debacles in Guantanamo prosecutions.)
Even though Steele was the only candidate running for the RNC chairmanship who didn’t own a gun, he has happily picked up the gun industry’s talking points touted by conservatives like Glenn Beck and Chuck Norris. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) has said that the American people should be armed and ready to “fight back” on “this issue of the energy tax.”
Just two years ago, Steele came out forcefully against assault weapons, saying that they were “overkill.” “If you want to talk about gun control, that’s where you need to start,” said Steele. “We’ve got 300 gun laws on the books right now. At the end of the day, it’s about how we enforce the law.” However, a few months ago he changed his mind and said that a ban on assault weapons was just the first step in the Obama administration’s plan “repeal the 2nd Amendment.”