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November 07, 2007

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Fred Thompson Answers My Questions

Fellow bloggers: You may recall (or you may not, depending on how much recoil you've absorbed) that we recently posted a statement from presidential candidate Fred Thompson airing his feelings on the U.N.'s role in gun control. The consensus among you was that the subject was as relevant as, say, Peruvian monetary reform in the years 1902-05. So I composed five relevant questions which Mr. Thompson has answered. (Two notes: In question one, he states that he is an "Endowment Life" member of the NRA. I assume he means an Endowment member; you can't be both. And he apparently chose not to answer question two. I have no idea why.)

Your comments, please (read the interview after the jump).

1. What are your credentials as an NRA member? How long have you been one, and what degree of membership do you hold?

I am an endowment life member of the NRA, which I first joined in 1995.

2. When did you start hunting or shooting, and when was the last time you went? What guns do you own right now?
(Editor's Note: Mr. Thompson did not answer this question)

3. If the Supreme Court finds that the Washington, D.C. gun law is unconstitutional—that the Second Amendment applies to individuals rather than militias—what would you do as President to take advantage of the ruling to our benefit?

I have always believed that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms. A ruling by the Supreme Court to that effect would not have any impact on what I would do as President, but it would clearly strengthen my hand and the hands of all who seek to protect the rights of law-abiding gun owners: opposing arbitrary bans on classes of firearms due to appearance; protecting gun shows from laws that could put them out of business; preventing gun confiscations from law-abiding gun owners in the wake of emergencies and disasters; fending off the variety of restrictions on the gun rights of law-abiding citizens often wrongly pursued in the name of crime control; and protecting hunters from unwarranted interference. Likewise, although it does not involve a Second Amendment issue, I would also seek to promote common sense conservation policies based on sound science so that future generations have lands on which to hunt and waterways in which to fish.

4. Of the Republican candidates, only Mike Huckabee seems sympathetic to gun owners. Of the others, who would be the worst President for gun owners? Who would be the worst Democrat?

I do not accept the premise of the question that Gov. Huckabee is the only Republican candidate sympathetic to gun owners and sportsmen. As my record shows (“A” ratings from the NRA), I have been and remain a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and of the rights of guns owners and sportsmen. The records of other candidates in both parties on firearms issues are far less supportive of the interests and rights of gun owners and sportsmen, but I am not going to characterize or rank any of my opponents. Why support one of them when a candidate like me, who has a record of support for gun owners and sportsmen, is running?

5. Under the Bush administration, the BATFE seems to have been concentrating their efforts on prosecuting legitimate dealers for paperwork errors—making it difficult or impossible for them to make a living. If you were President, would you have the BATFE relent on this practice, and what would you ask them to focus on?

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives should have as its priority its efforts to combat violent crime, violent criminal gangs, and to interdict and disrupt the gun traffickers who supply violent gang members with firearms. While one way to curb illicit gun trafficking is to ensure that legitimate dealers maintain their paperwork in good order, these paperwork violations should in no way be BATFE’s focus. I would also consider giving BATFE a wider range of sanctions so that dealers’ simple paperwork violations do not result in license revocations. Finally, having a politically accountable BATFE Director, who is now subject to Senate confirmation, instead of a career bureaucrat should also help change BATFE’s priorities and make the agency more responsive.


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Hmmm...blatantly ignoring a very important question for us hunters and shooters (2nd question) This scares me more than the rest of the answers asuages my fears.

I want (need) to know just exactly how long he has been in the woods or on the waters or both....would also be nice to know his tastes in firearms....this could go a LONG way into seeing what kind of man Mr. Thompson is behind the shimmering lights and cameras.

Sorry, i just feel what guns a shooter prefers says alot about him or her.



Greg Morris

"Finally, having a politically accountable BATFE Director, who is now subject to Senate confirmation, instead of a career bureaucrat should also help change BATFE’s priorities and make the agency more responsive."

Isn't that also dangerous. Seeing as how the BATFE has the power, via their regulatory authority to control guns far more than congress ever would, I'd almost rather have a career bureaucrat who is familiar with the issues, and not beholden to a particular politician who may only have a 4-year shelf life.

Dave in St Pete

I couldn't care less what guns a person owns or if he /she has ever been hunting or shooting as long as he /she believes in the 2nd Amendment, which Mr Thompson has unequivocally stated.

Clay Cooper

If a person cannot answer question #2, then I question them. I remember when John Scary Kerry was handed a shotgun at a rally. It is my opinion as a competition shooter, hunter and NRA Instructor (retired) he had no experience in handling a firearm. Yet Kerry yucked it up to be an avid Sportsman. There are those that will lie to a person knowing fully that that person knows it’s a lie. I wonder what his parents really like? My Father taught me right. Tell the truth and it “might” cost you. Lie to him and you’ll lose all creditability! I believe a person can be a staunch supporter of the 2nd amendment and not ever owned a firearm, shoot one yet held one.
Just tell me the truth!
I have defended people for telling me the truth that I hated their guts!


I ''like'' what he said about this,

''having a politically accountable ..''

When is anyone accountable for anything in Washington?

WA Mtnhunter

I see no problem with Fred's not answering Question 2. It is his right to privacy to not disclose the type and number of firearms that he owns. How many of you would post that information on this blog with your real name, address, and phone number? I surely will not.

While it was not a trick question on the surface, any answer as to the hunting activity (or none) would be certainly misconstrued by some element. Look what the critics did to Bush, Clinton, and Kerry's hunting statements in previous campaigns.

I want someone who supports my rights to own guns, hunt, and fish. There are also larger issues than sportsman's rights at stake in this election. I could care less if he actually hunts or shoots.



On a serious note, Iagree with the above posts concerns about the disregard of #2.

It seems if politicians and leaders can't double-talk some legal crap...they just say N/A.

That way he can't be called a liar.


Not that anything would be done if they were called on it. They are all liars. They are all corrupt, and they all get elected primarily because they have enough money to put their fake faces, doctored to look younger, in our media like flies on...

Clay Cooper

The voices of the far left are like dirty underwear. They keep tossing it against the wall of truth hoping it will stick!
I wish they take their dirty laundry someplace else.

Jim McConnell

How could Mike Huckabee's record on the 2nd Amendment even approach Ron Paul's?


Not answering at least PART of number 2 is very odd. What's up with that, Fred?

Still, you give me a much more warm & fuzzy feeling than 99.99% of the politicians out there.


My first thought as I read the reponse to Q2 was Kerry asking if he could get a license around here. Also, I wish I had more background on the BATFE situation. Are there several dealers out there selling guns to gangs, etc.?
I tend to not trust political appointees and would rather see someone in that position that has demonstrated experience. In general though I think he would be a good candidate. The last time we had a perfect candidate for any job, we crucified him.

Ralph the Rifleman

I gotta say, dodging Question#2 does not sit well with me either.
I agree I would not post every gun I own on a blog, but I would a least confirm the basic fact that I do hunt, and own them! If he supports the 2nd Amend, but doesn't own guns that's fine too just say it that way!
Overall, I like his views, and will probably support him if he makes it thru the final pace of the race.


Not answering the question bothers me a little. Still[to me] he seems to be the best bet. How about Huckabee for veep? I think Mike H. is the least morally corrupt person of the bunch! Doesnt have the juice for pres. though.

Mike Diehl

I do not view his non-response to question 2 as an important oversight.


I'm sorry. I was too hard on Fred Thompson. I compared him to JFK in 2004. That was below the belt.
There are roughly a dozen people running for President right now. How many have reached out to the outdoor sports community as had Fred? We have seen three communications from this campaign. These are the only three I've seen anywhere with respect to these issues He didn't lie in Q2. He didn't sidestep the issue. He could very well have bought one of those Weatherby Shotguns and now feels ashamed (or didn't tell his wife) Maybe he just doesn't have time to go hunting and still feels ashamed.
Have other campaigns been contacted by you or others on the staff at Field & Stream. Has anyone else indicated that they will respond?


Question 2 was totally inappropriate. What reasonable person would expect a presidential candidate to list all the firearms he owns on a website blog? Here's an idea, how about some of you drop your childish desire to be pandered to via question two and think about the big picture: winning elections and thus having the ability to make policy. As to the silly idea that you "can tell alot about someone by the guns they own" give me a break. Poor Fred probably owns a couple nice guns and the minute he listed them, he would be denounced as a "rich snob" by half the posters on this site who are simply jealous they haven't been successfull enough in life to own anything beyond an 870 pump. Further, what does it matter when he started hunting? Whether it was at age 14 or age 40 the important thing is that he's out in the woods. Then again, does that even matter? Some of the staunchest 2nd amendment supporters I know don't hunt and rarely fish. They just like shooting targets and/or trap.


Yer darn tootin' not answering question 2 is a big ol' hairy red flag. If a feller doesn't own a gun, he's gonna do whatever is politically malleable to hedge his majority; he can say whatever the hell he wants, if he can't show us a hunting license (and it can be an old one to show he at least was out at some point in his life), then he is talking out his butt. I would rather deal with a firearms owner who believes the absolute right for anybody to own any firearm they wish is a debatable point than to deal with anybody who won't give you chapter and verse of his experience, no matter which party he belongs to or what he and his media flacks come up with for public consumption.

FWIW, I own one gun, a Savage Model 10 7mm-08. I hunt deer on NYS forever wild land and the remnants of what had been my great-grandparents' farm, which abuts the state land. I used to own a Model 1892 Winchester 32-20 that my grandfather gave me. I moved to Los Angeles and gave it to my uncle, as I saw no use for a 100-year-old deer rifle in LA. I sold a Remington 870 at the same time. When I moved back east I bought the Savage.

As a strict interpreter of the Constitution, I believe we should allow unlimited possession of flintlock weapons by anyone. Anything else is open to debate.

I ain't worried that Hillary's coming to take my gun. This time around, I wanna hear one of these clowns tell me how they're gonna cut my health insurance payment down from $12,000 a year, for which I get less and less each year. That's a make-or-break issue for the whole country economically. Whether or not we can go hunting with a bolt or an AR is marginal.

Ted Strong

I think it's awesome that Petzel's able to get this guy's attention to a sufficient degree to get him to answer questions for a blog.

Dave, any recommendations for where I can read up on all the candidates' relative positions on important issues?


I don't blame Fred for not answering questioin number two! I wouldn't tell you or anyone else what and how many guns I have. It's none of anyone's business, period! As far as the last time he had been in the "field" - why would that be important? I know many folks that do a lot of shooting and collecting and have never hunted. That is not anusual. I suppose he had his reasons for not commenting on this part of the question.


OK, for those of you that think #2 didn't matter.

I'll buy your ''bit'' about not listing your guns for whatever reason you wish. But I fail to see one of you, (those saying it doesn't matter), mention he wouldn't answer when he started hunting or shooting either. That was also part of the question. I would also point out that you are missing the bigger picture....
If someone leaves out an answer in any test or form in their LIFE!!!!!, they are punished, in some way, for it! By not answering, he may as well tip his cards. If it was a mistake; I would hope he rectifies it soon, or F&S does.

If a school boy leaves a question blank, he gets an X. If you leave out info on your taxes....if you leave out info regarding a credit application, a loan request, a marriage license...etc....etc....etc!

I don't care what the issue is...if a person leaves a question blank - I count it as a lie. Especially the higher their position in this world. They are supposed to be more intelligent than that.

A man stands at the podium. His badge is shiny and his boots are clean....
''The specified, individual, youth was apprehended upon the district attorney's relevant concerns concerning the afore-mentioned facts pertaining to the individual.
There is a reason they talk in cirlces! There is a reason they cloak their lies. To remain legal.


Let's stop debating over a question that was not answered and just stick together to keep Hillary out of the White House.


I think he didn't answer the freaking question because if he did, he would be lying, and he would not be able to substantiate it, which he would be called on, which would negate his pandering to us for our votes.

I would say he neither hunts nor owns a single gun. Or else he would have answered the friggin question.

What better way to relate and identify with us, his potential voters? It was, I would say, the most important question.


just remember fred is an actor.
he gets paid to make you blieve
what ever he says.

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