WASHINGTON - February 13 - Saturday’s shooting of a fellow hunter by Vice President Dick Cheney was just one more addition to the more than quarter million Americans who have been injured by firearms during President George W. Bush’s tenure. From 2001 through 2004, the most recent year available, 252,076 Americans were injured by firearms according to federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Center (CDC) data. From 2001 through 2003, the most recent year available, nearly 30,000 Americans a year were killed by firearms according to information from the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.
Unlike the administrations of George Herbert Walker Bush and Bill Clinton, both of which supported gun control measures such as banning assault weapons, the current Bush Administration has, in fact, allowed measures like the federal assault weapons ban to expire while at the same time rolling back other portions of federal gun control policy.
Cheney has been the Administration’s most vocal pro-gun voice, addressing the National Rifle Association’s Annual Meeting in 2004. In his speech to NRA members, Cheney described himself and President Bush as “lifelong gun owners, hunters, and anglers—and strong believers in the Bill of Rights of the Constitution. Like many of you, I grew up close to the land, learned from my dad how to handle a gun, and still look forward to every chance to join up with friends to go hunting.” (Please see http://www.vpc.org/cheney.htm for a copy of the speech from the NRA’s America’s 1st Freedom Magazine.)
Josh Sugarmann, Violence Policy Center executive director states, “The Cheney shooting punctures the pro-gun argument that `knowing guns’ and `having respect for guns’ are enough to overcome the inherent hazards of firearms. Vice President Cheney’s victim is now just one more sad statistic in America’s annual gun toll.”