Politics & Policy

New Harry Reid Ad Says Angle ‘Over the Line’ on Second Amendment Rhetoric

Harry Reid’s latest television ad is narrated by Bill Ames, a Republican law enforcement officer and NRA member who is also President of the Peace Officers Research Association of Nevada. He says Angle’s rhetoric on “second amendment remedies” is “dangerous and way too extreme”:

The ad transcript:

Bill Ames: I’ve been in Nevada law enforcement for 17 years, carrying a gun isn’t just a part of my job, it’s a Constitutional right that I believe in. But Sharron Angle goes way over the line when she keeps saying:

Sharron Angle: If this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking towards those 2nd Amendment remedies. [Lars Larson, 1.14.10]

Bill Ames: It’s crazy. But what she’s actually talking about is armed resistance. Look, I’m a member of the NRA and a Republican, but that kind of talk is dangerous and way too extreme.

Angle first made the comment during a Jan. 2010 interview with Lars Larson. Here are her fuller remarks from that media appearance for context:

Well, I qualified for my CCW with a Dirty Harry cannon so, so maybe that tells you a little bit, but you know, our Founding Fathers, they put that Second Amendment in there for a good reason and that was for the people to protect themselves against a tyrannical government, and in fact Thomas Jefferson said it’s good for a country to have a revolution every twenty years. I hope that’s not where we’re going, but you know, if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies and saying, ‘my goodness what can we do to turn this country around’ and I’ll tell ya, the first thing we need to do is take Harry Reid out — and it’s not just Nevadans that need to get in this game, we need to all over the nation begin to support those candidates that we believe in, like I said, that have walked the walk, that know what’s really at stake here.

Angle repeated nearly identical remarks on the Bill Manders show on KOH radio in Reno soon after, and then made similar comments but said “Second Amendment kinds of ways” instead of “Second Amendment remedies” in an interview with the Reno Gazette-Journal in May of this year:

What is a little bit disconcerting and concerning is the inability for sporting goods stores to keep ammunition in stock … That tells me the nation is arming. What are they arming for if it isn’t that they are so distrustful of their government? They’re afraid they’ll have to fight for their liberty in more Second Amendment kinds of ways? That’s why I look at this as almost an imperative. If we don’t win at the ballot box, what will be the next step?

The campaign press release that went out this afternoon included this comment by Reid spokesman Kelly Steele:

Sharron Angle’s repeated use of extreme and loaded rhetoric to implicitly threaten and tacitly condone violence as a political remedy is beyond irresponsible, it is utterly dangerous. The most terrifying thing about Sharron Angle’s extreme rhetoric legitimizing violence as a political remedy is that it’s not a gaffe – it a core belief of Angle’s that has been expressed without reservation or regard for its potential consequences.

Angle’s comments have been questioned and criticized by the political commentariat on both the left and right and were first called “Far Over the Line” in a New York Times editorial.

I had the opportunity to ask Angle about her remarks at the GOP state party convention in July, as follows:

There’s been so much talk in the press both locally and nationally about your comment, about “Second Amendment remedies” and what you originally meant by that before some of the after-commentary. On MSNBC today, they were talking about it again, so can you just explain, please, what did you mean when you talked about “Second Amendment remedies” originally?

Angle’s response:

We were talking in a very broad context about the Second Amendment and about Thomas Jefferson and what was really meant by our Founding Fathers when they put the Second Amendment in, then we segued from that conversation about the Second Amendment into our economy and those kinds of things, and really it was just a broad statement about the Second Amendment.

I tried to ask a follow-up question, but one of Angle’s staffers said “no” and went to another reporter. The Las Vegas Review-Journal had also asked her about it a month earlier and wrote the following:

Asked Thursday whether she was calling for an armed revolution or a political revolution at the ballot box, Angle paused and shook her head as if the question were ridiculous.

“I can’t believe people are even asking that,” Angle said in the brief interview. “I’m very much a proponent of the Second Amendment and the Constitution. But what we have to focus on here is a movement, a movement that’s about retiring Harry Reid by voting him out of office.”

But ask the question they have, and Team Angle can expect that it will be asked again now that this television ad is going to be broadcast to hundreds of thousands of Nevada households starting this week. 

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