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October 26, 2007

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F&S Exclusive: John Edwards Interview

Yesterday’s heavy and heated response to Presidential Candidate John Edwards’ proposed “Hunting and Fishing Bill of Rights and Responsibilities” prompted us to call the North Carolina Senator and discuss the details. F&S Associate Editor, Brian McClintock, asked Edwards about some of his policy points, how he enjoys the outdoors, and what he thinks about gun ownership.

Field & Stream: Why is the “Hunting and Fishing Bill of Rights and Responsibilities” is important to you and to American hunters and anglers?

John Edwards: I grew up in rural America, and it’s a huge part of who I am. I want to ensure that hunters and fishermen’s rights are being watched over and protected. I think it’s important for the country because we have a lot of outdoorsmen who care about having access to land, being able to hunt and fish, having clean water, and to just be able to enjoy the outdoors. I think it’s important for America, and I think it’s important for people who hunt and fish.

F&S: What do you think is the single largest threat to hunting and fishing?

JE: I think there are two. One is having access to lands to hunt and fish on, and ensuring that those lands are available. Secondly, to protect and preserve the land and water so that it continues to be available for generations to come

F&S: You say you hunted as a boy, what outdoor activities do you currently participate in?

JE: Oh, I still love to fish. I don’t hunt anymore, but I haven’t hunted since I was a young boy. I’ve basically fished all my life -- both saltwater and freshwater, but I probably do more freshwater fishing. I love spending time in the woods. I live on a big piece of land, and we have a great opportunity to spend time out in the woods, myself, my wife, my kids. We enjoy the outdoors, we love them.

F&S: How do you plan on protecting gun rights and promoting gun safety?

JE: I think, first and foremost, that we need a president who actually believes in the Second Amendment and in the individual right to own firearms. And, the importance in that, both for hunting and for protection, and I do. I think part of it is the way of life that I grew up with, and the culture of which I grew up in. It’s been with me my entire life.

I think there are some reasonable things that we can do to make sure we keep guns out of the hands of people like that young man who did the killings at Virginia Tech. I think we can fill in some holes that exist in the system today. I haven’t met a hunter yet who needed an AK-47 to hunt, but I think we need to be very careful to make sure that the second amendment rights are protected.

F&S: What are some of those holes?

JE: I think we can use the Virginia Tech shootings as instructions. It was a young man who had obvious and identified mental and emotional problems. It was well documented in court records, but because we haven’t done an effective job of filling the gaps in our national system, he didn’t get identified when he went to buy a gun. That’s exactly the kind of thing I’m talking about. Making sure the public’s protected from people who have serious criminal records and people who have serious emotional and mental problems from having guns.

F&S: How do you hope to preserve Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) land with many farmers looking to take advantage of the high corn prices by turning their CRP fields into cornfields?

JE: Well, first of all, I don’t want to get too far out there because this is largely done through the Farm Bill, and I want to see what actually comes out of that. My position is pretty simple. I support the CRP to make sure that farmers and land owners make the steps necessary to preserve their land. My experience with farmers in North Carolina and in Iowa and in other places in the country is that most family farmers are both responsive and responsible to conservation efforts because their land has been in their families for years. They care about ensuring that the land is, in fact, preserved and that conservation efforts are undertaken.

I think the role of public policy in this is to make sure that, through the Farm Bill, this program receives the support it deserves.

F&S: How do you plan to balance the Roadless Rule with maintaining access to land?

JE: President Clinton was a big supporter of the Roadless Rule, and George Bush reversed it. Basically, what I want to go back to is the form in which the rule existed when the Clinton Administration went out of office. The idea is to preserve these lands and meet our environmental responsibility.

F&S: How are you hoping the Hunting and Fishing Bill of Rights and Responsibilities is used in the future?

JE: Some of these things are very specific, and will require laws to be changed or be passed. For example, the Open Fields Program provides federal funding to encourage private landowners to allow people to hunt and fish on their lands. The public access camps give people more voice in local land management. For those things that require changes to the law, I will make proposals to congress to make changes.

Taking steps to necessary to enforce the Clean Water Act (CWA) is more administrative because the CWA already exits. It’s just a matter of making sure we cut down on mercury pollution based on what science says can be done. The Second Amendment exists. We just need a president who recognizes that it exists. And we need a president that will make sure that the Bureau of Land Management is actually looking out for the public’s interest in public land. Some of these points have to do with the way you administer responsibilities that the president and administration already have, and some have to do with changes in the law and funding.

Comments

John

"I haven’t met a hunter yet who needed an AK-47 to hunt" summs it all up for me - this man is a two faced idiot who obviously thinks you NEED too prove why you NEED instead of WANT a certain type of firearm, and if you don't NEED it then you should not be allowed to own it. He thinks some guns are "good" and others are "bad" and therefore he is exactly like every other left wing idiot out there who will try to take away our guns, one type at a time. You, John Edwards, are a germ.

Jack

I dunno. The Dems show a lot of hypocrisy with respect to the environment but all want more gun control. The Reps seem to want to cut back on environmental controls but many of them are soft on gun control. We are only two Supreme Court Justices away from losing our Second Amendment Rights. We have an international treaty out there that oulaws many fine semi-auto rifles and shotguns. I think this magazine did a fine job of showing Edward's positions and the bloggers above really picked those positions apart. Maybe this magazine could interview more of the candidates and discover their true feelings about the isssues that many of us hold dear.
Thank you everybody
Jack

Matt Mallery

I like what Edwards had to say about the roadless rule. Bush has been terrible for habitat. The roadless rule should stay in place to protect our public lands from more destruction. I do not like his AK comment. The 2nd amendment is not about hunting, it's about being able to defend the country from foreign invaders, and defend yourself from crime and an opressive government.

What about the fact that the government sells off parcels of public land? I want a candidate to address that.

Blue Ox

I think we're screwed no matter who gets elected. The elections are a total bait 'n switch, they always have been. We got all these presedential hopefulls out there giving us a song and dance, telling us what we wanna hear, and as soon as they get into office, they turn around and crap all over us. It happens every time.

Tim

I too grew up in rural NC and am a life long hunter. I carefully read Mr. Edwards comments and I can't say that I disagree with much of anything he said. However, despite my rural upbringing and love for the outdoors I know plenty of rural North Carolinians that wouldn't know the difference between ice hockey and frozen s@!%. John Edwards is one of those folks. Make no mistake about it, he would have no chance of winning a one man race among North Carolina's outdoorsmen and may in fact finish third in the state's Democratic Primary. He remains what he has always been...an elitist ambulance chasing hypocrite. Like most politicians, he will say anything he thinks will score points with the crowd he's in front of. If he's not too busy helping the poor it wouldn't surprise me if he offered to host NC's Dixie Deer Classic out at his 29,000 square ft cabin in "rural" Chapel Hill NC. John Edwards for President.......ppppppplease!

Russell T.

I still don't get it. I believe that we need to preserve habitat. I believe in the 2nd Ammendment. But I do not believe that Edwards values these things for the same reason that most of rural Americans do.

I believe it is the responsibility of us as individuals to take care of the habitat and not the national government. I believe it is our responsibility to be responsible with firearms, not the national governments.

I have not hunted or fished all of my life, but my father-in-law has shown me the enjoyment of it...not a magazine or our national government.

I don't want someone telling me how to protect habitat, I believe it is my personal responsibility to do so for the generations to come. That doesn't happen in a national election, but by taking personal action.

I don't need someone telling me what type of rifle is alright to own or shoot or hunt with. I need to be responsible for what I have.

When I bought my own first rifle this year and I was going through the FBI background check process. It took forever and they double and triple checked my information. Thank God they do that. While I was there a guy
from Uzbekistan (sorry for the spelling) came in wanting to buy a rifle paying cash. When asked for all his documentation, he did not have it and they would not sell him the rifle...even though he had cash and was relentless in trying. That is gun control at work.

On the issue of AKs...I am sure they are fun to shoot and I believe people have the right to have one if they want one...but if you NEED one to kill a deer, hog, etc., you might want to spend a little more time at the range with your rifle or muzzleloader or practice with your bow. All of those forms are just as fun if not more and you save a lot of meat(Ha! Ha!).

Let me leave you with this. Be careful what you vote for, you most likely will not get what you wish. Live a life of love and thankfulness to God for the outdoors with those you love and you will never miss or regret a thing!

G Miller

That moron is not the "NC Senator", he is the former NC senator. He is the most wimbly, mealy mouthed lawyer you can ever hope to find. He has no clue how rural people live in NC and he wasn't elected by rural folks but by urban dwellers in Charlotte, etc.

GWB

Of course 99% of you morons will attack any democrat but at least we didn't vote in that idiot, you and his master in.

Matt Pfohl


Don't trust him ,or any other politican that use sound bites & pander to the true outdoorsman that walks the walk (even when the photo-ops are over) ! You'll see alot of posers putting on camo & blaze orange to go "hunting" with a guide (because they wouldn't know how on their own) just to fool the public in to believing they "REALLY" care about your way of life !! Don't be sucked-in to it! Hey Cheney made a bone-head mistake , but at least he hunts even when there are no camera flashes !!
Just think about these things BEFORE you vote !!

Thanks for your cosideration & GOD bless America !!

clay

the breck girl is a lib!!!! and talking out the side of his mouth looking for votes! you cant trust a lib, ever!!

Mark

You Dems will never wake up to the FACT that Damnocrat politicians lie to get elected, then turn on us like rabid skunks. Go ahead, fall for thier lies again and then blame George Bush. Thank God we did not get that "genius" Algore.

Joel

Mark,
I think it's clear in post who the real "genius" is.

james

something not right about his comments. edwards is awful shady if you ask me. guess i better get my ak while i can!

Britt

Do not listen to what John Edwards says, but as with any politician watch their actions and how they VOTE. John Edwards has a horrible voting record when it comes to supporting gun rights and gun owners.

His vote to NOT protect the firearms industry from junk lawsuits that were designed only to bankrupt the industry was very telling. He also has entire classes of firearms he wishs to ban.

Bush has be very helpful to gun owners and hunters. Many anti-gun laws have been allowed to expire and progun laws such as protecting the firearms industry from junk laws suits have been passed. Many prohunting laws have gone into effect. None of this would have happened under Democratics.

don

Whatever the details, there are two opposing philosophies at odds here in '08, basic, simple types of government as should have been taught in high school: socialism vs capitalism. It is obvious to note that Hillary is socialist and whomever opposes her is more American than she could ever be. I could not enjoy living in the environment that I offered my life to defeat in the war, even if the second amendment survives.

LEE

I will first say "I am a avid hunter and I own several guns that I do not use to hunt with (i.e. Ak-47, SKS, etc...), but would we not be better off with Edwards than a real CLINTON in the white house? People can say many things to get in office and they can promise many things, but remember it is the congress that writes and makes the laws. The president only has veto power, which with 2/3 majority the congress can over turn. Now back to Edwards we would have the best person in office for the working man/woman as far as good quality really honest jobs and keeping jobs in the USA. I once read a saying that went something like this "What does a gun owner really have without a job? Nothing, because it takes a job to allow you the opportunity to buy guns, ammo, travel to hunting locations". So as you can see I will be voting for Edwards, because I see the big picture and not the narrow tunnel version that some people see!!!

John

Isn't it odd that he " doesn't want to get too far out in front of the farm bill", but has no problem with ignoring a persons right to own a AK-47. F&S should have called him on this, they should have asked him what did he hunt as a boy (was he 7 years old or 17 years old?), what did he use, rifle? shotgun? bow? They simply fabricated a stage for him USING ALL OF THE PAID ADVERTISING IN THEIR MAGAZINE AS HIS PROPS. I'M CERTAIN ALL OF THESE ADVERTISERS ARE VERY PLEASED WITH F&S.

Tim Puckett

You can say what you want about Bush. But he has done alot of the things he said he would do when he was running for office. I grew up in rural Alabama and I will say this, mistakes have been made but at least he had the courage to make them instead of jumping on all the special interests groups wagons like the Clintons, Kerry's, Edwards, Kennedy's now there is a man that needs to go home with a truck load of his favorite beverage( alcohol) and finish off his liver. I have not hunted in years but I plan on starting this year and I have an AR-15 that I will hunt with because I have liked the firearm since I shot one in the Army. Here is something for everyone to think about almost every firearm has been used by the military at one point in time or another so when they say just military related firearms and ammo, put 2 and 2 together people.
Animals are alot smarter than people in some ways, they usually keep the wind in there face so they can smell what is ahead and avoid situations whenever possible. When is the American hunters and sportsmen going to start doing the same with Dems!!!??? There is not one out there that I would vote for for no other reason than because I would like " UNDER GOD" back in the Pledge of Allegiance, and the Ten Commandments back on our public buildings where they have always been historically!

Ben

I guess I want to get back to the whole AK comment and whether or not anyone "needs" one. This sounds like the old tactic of define a class of guns, demonize them, and then marginalize anyone who wants one.

This is the death by a thousand cuts. If the gun-ban crowd succeeds here they’ll move on to their next target. Folks at the Brady Campaign and Violence Policy Center have tipped their hand that “sniper” rifles are coming up on the agenda. After all, sniper rifles can be used to kill people and destroy property at long ranges. But what’s the difference between a “sniper rifle” and an accurate, scoped 30/06 hunting rifle? Intent of the user. Other than that they are the same thing.

First it’s “Saturday Night Specials,” then it’s “Assault Weapons,” then it’s the 50cal rifles, then it’s “Sniper Rifles,” etc., etc. I think they are smart enough to know that you don’t chop down a tree with one swipe. Rather you whack out chip after chip until finally the tree falls over. This is why those of us who don’t hunt with AK’s need to defend those who do. To do otherwise lets them come one step closer to getting our 30/06’s.

Nick

Britt's posting (Nov 15) is correct. There are 2 types - Socialist or Capitalist. Republicans historically are capitalists, Democrats are Socialists.
If the socialists get in, you can kiss your individual rights & freedoms goodbye. Socialists believe that they, and only they, know what's right for the "common folk".
ALL politicians lie. That's a stock in trade for them. Their job is to get elected. What they do after they get elected is what's important. Check the voting records of these people, and then decide who who want.
The Republicans may not be perfect, but that's a better choice than giving away my liberties and rights.

Nick

Sorry, I attributed the original posting to Britt (Nov 15) & it was really Don on Nov 16.
Either way, my opinion is still the same.
BTW, my brother lives in Raleigh, NC so I asked him about Edwards. What he said can't be reproduced here, but it basically was - "He's a #$^&*^& ambulance chaser, $%^**((,Mealy mouthed $%^%&*(*(,elitist %^$#@!#$$ "

You get the idea.




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