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Experts have said that during the Cold War, at least we knew who our
enemies were. The behavior of both the United States and the former Soviet
Union were predictable and routine as both of our countries played off of
Much the same could be said about the entirety of the Clinton
administration. Congress, take note: When an administration flak is gracing
your committee, he/she will lie to you like a dog, only to deny it later. It
is a given.
The latest example of this planned deception comes on the heels of the
HUD announcement that it will “assist local housing authorities with
their planned class action lawsuits against gun makers” — after a HUD
official told a congressional committee in August that no such action would
be taken by the agency.
I italicized the world “local” above to demonstrate the hypocrisy of
HUD’s position. The “housing authorities” they are talking about are in fact
funded and supported by HUD, under HUD jurisdiction and subject to HUD rules
and regulations. So there is no such thing as a “local authority.”
Anyway, according to a recent news story on the issue, “Gail Laster, counsel at the Department of Housing and
Urban Development (HUD), told a House panel that the department ‘does not
plan to bring any action on its own against the gun industry,'” said Rep.
Bob Barr, Georgia Republican, who heard Miss Laster speak.
“If you have a witness appearing under oath before a committee and asked,
‘Does HUD plan to initiate or engage in such lawsuits,’ and the witness says
no, and barely four months later, they do precisely what they said they
weren’t going to do, either the witness has engaged in deliberate
misrepresentation or out and out lying to a duly constituted subcommittee of
the Congress,” said Barr. That’s a roundabout way of saying that Miss Laster
lied through her teeth, and she did it on purpose. Congress has heard many
such lies from various officials in this administration.
However, a HUD official proclaimed that Laster’s denial was “absolutely
accurate.” And in the sense that the Clinton administration defines honesty,
“Miss Laster said that HUD does not plan to bring any action on its
own (emphasis mine) against the gun industry. That was absolutely
accurate. The action now that’s being contemplated would be filed by public
housing authorities around the country. HUD is supportive of that action,
but HUD is not filing a lawsuit on its own,” said the HUD official.
In other words, HUD knew all along it would “support” gun industry
lawsuits being filed by their charges in “local housing authorities,” but
could claim plausible deniability because it wasn’t filing the suits.
That “support” must include legal assistance and funding because, after all,
where else would these government funded “housing authorities” come up with
This reeks of deceit and Barr knows it.
“(Administration witnesses) appear before Congress and glibly either
answer questions or refuse to answer questions and just go about their merry
way, doing what they want without apparent interest in making sure that
their actions match up with their testimony,” Barr said.
He added, “The fact of the matter is that the government has no authority
to engage in such lawsuits. And simply positing that they might accomplish a
worthwhile goal does not give the government the right to sue the
manufacturer of a lawful product.”
Barr — a former federal prosecutor himself — is right, of course.
That opinion was first offered by columnist David Limbaugh last week, when he pointed out that James Dorr, an attorney for several gun
companies, “said that there is no legal basis for the federal government to
sue gun manufacturers when it has licensed these companies to make and sell
guns.” Seems rather obvious, doesn’t it?
A Florida judge ruled earlier this week that the city of Miami has no
legal standing to file a class action lawsuit against the gun industry.
That decision follows one made by an Ohio magistrate a few weeks ago;
perhaps the judicial system is finally beginning to see what these
ridiculous suits are all about — greed, not safety. Let’s hope this trend
In the meantime, Congress should put the brakes on this HUD-gun
doublecross. When a government becomes so activist it is willing to turn on
entities it licenses, it is out of control, unaccountable and dangerous.
More dangerous, in fact, than a dozen gun companies could ever be.