August 22nd, 2007
10:05 AM ET
13 years ago

Thompson slams New York, Giuliani over gun laws

Thompson took a dig at his future GOP rival Tuesday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - He's not even an official presidential candidate yet, but former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson took a not-so-subtle dig at White House frontrunner Rudy Giuliani Tuesday, slamming New York City's gun laws on his Web site.

The former "Law & Order" star criticized how the city Giuliani once led tries to "force its ways on the rest of us," and railed against "the same activist judge from Brooklyn who provided Mayor Giuliani with the legal ruling it sought to sue gun makers" for allowing the city to "sue out of state gun stores."

Thompson went on to argue an increase in gun ownership rates leads to a decrease in crime, and reinforced his pledge to appoint conservative judges to the courts "who apply the law as written."

Katie Levinson, a spokeswoman for the former New York City mayor's campaign, was quick to respond to Thompson's charges saying, "Those who live in New York in the real world – not on TV – know that Rudy Giuliani's record of making the city safe for families speaks for itself. No amount of political theater will change that."

Thompson's comments were his most pointed jab yet at a potential GOP rival and the latest sign he is an all-but-declared presidential candidate. Officially though, Thompson is only "testing the waters" - a legal distinction with the Federal Election Commission that prevents him from actively campaigning for the presidential nomination. The former actor is expected to jump into the race early next month. (Related: FEC complaint filed against Thompson)

Giuliani, who leads in most national presidential polls, is also the target of rival Mitt Romney's new radio ad, in which the former Massachusetts governor slams cities with what he calls "sanctuary" for illegal immigrants specifically "Newark, San Francisco and New York City."

TIME.com: Fred Thompson and Iowa's Great Bull

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney


Filed under: Fred Thompson • Mitt Romney • Rudy Giuliani
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. Colin, Milwaukee WI

    Guns don't kill people. People kill people, guns just help people kill people. I'm confused then how more guns = less crime. Maybe it slightly deters it but at least ERs across the US will get to enjoy more GSW victims.

    August 22, 2007 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  2. pat, huntington, ny

    I'm no Guiliani fan, but as a New Yorker, Thompson's and Romney's anti-NY comments are in very bad taste and highly offensive [I would dare say racist and a bit red-necked as well].

    August 22, 2007 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  3. Yusef, Brooklyn, NY

    It is a verifiable fact: In communities where there is above average legal gun ownership, there is below average violent crime. Maybe a well armed society really is a polite society?

    August 22, 2007 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  4. David, Salinas, CA

    What part of “well regulated” does the NRA not understand?

    August 22, 2007 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  5. Jeff, Houston, Texas

    Didn't I tell you this guy was going to rear his head as the msiah to the NASCAR neanderthals?

    Heeeeee's baaaaaaaack!

    August 22, 2007 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  6. Mark Ramsey MD Fort Lauderdale FL

    Oh my God...He's slamming Giuliani for "forcing his ways on us?" This from his right-wing, moral majority, live-by-my-christian beliefs platform? He doesn't want Giuliani to force gun control on him, but he JUST SAID 2 days ago he wants to force anti-abortion laws on everybody? What a hypocrite! Everytime this guy opens his mouth My jaw drops in disbelief.

    August 22, 2007 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  7. LeftyLosey

    Judges "who apply the law as written."

    GASP! But what if I think those laws are unconstitutional??

    August 22, 2007 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  8. Rodney, Tampa FL

    fred is just as ridiculous as the rest of the gun-crazy republicans!

    August 22, 2007 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  9. pat, p., huntington, ny

    So Thompson thinks we'ld be better off if everyone was able to carry a gun anywhere and anytime! And he's a potential presidential candidate who's polling well? That's scary.

    August 22, 2007 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  10. James Cummings, New York City, NY

    Giuliani was a fascist mayor who thought that the Constitution only applied to a certain class of people. Rudy allowed only one way in NYC, HIS way! If you did not agree with him, you were cast out. When he was elected for his first term, NYC needed a fascist leader. America does not need him now.

    August 22, 2007 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  11. Thomas, Charlotte, NC

    Either get in the race or get out, Fred, you CFR cronie.

    August 22, 2007 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  12. DickG; Chandler, AZ

    The Republican candidates, one after another, are all vying to accept the baton from George W. Bush, to have the opportunity to continue to receive the strong support, the vast contributions, the effective enabling and the responsibility for the focused cause of the rich and powerful. All of the candidates, Democrats included, with their unchecked egos leave much to be desired but it really seems doubtful that this country can ever benefit from another puppet aggressively performing for the select few: ignoring a decaying infrastructure; pursuing policies creating richer rich and poorer poor; patronizing ‘big money’ resulting in a run away deficit; neglecting the real needs of the average American; and with deception and subterfuge justifying the costs in lives and taxpayer dollars for fighting the wrong war. George W. Bush clearly demonstrates that we can’t trust their words and rationalizations as he consistently and arrogantly pursues a private agenda for the benefit of special interests and a select few, and now we are asked to support a continuation of that same mentality. No, it just doesn’t seem like this country can take ‘more of the same’.

    Secondly, Senator Dodd’s position that initiating impeachment proceedings against President Bush (and necessarily against Dick Cheney) would be a mistake, simply fails to recognize that it would be a strong, positive message to the world, a powerful warning to future administrations and needed encouragement to the American people. Rather than their always concentrating on what may be the least politically risky course, it would be nice to see them responsibly take the action they honestly know is best for the country. "More of the same' is not what this country needs.

    August 22, 2007 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  13. Mary, Holland, MI

    Yesterday it was the fear factor. Last week it was abortion and gay marriage. Next on the agenda is gun control. This guy is soooooo predictable! YAAAAAAWWWWWN!

    August 22, 2007 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  14. Tom - Dedham, Mass

    I would agree with any parties candidate that is for tightening our gun laws in regards to sales over the internet and at gun shows. Too many loopholes that allow bad people to get them way to easily.

    The laws vary from state to state way too much, and we should have one set of laws for all citizens that want to obtain a gun.

    I am not anti-gun, I just want to know who is buying them and where.

    August 22, 2007 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  15. Cable King Pittsburgh Pa

    What a disengenuous neandrathal !!! Is this the opening salvo of a Presidential campaign???

    August 22, 2007 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  16. John, CA

    Get in or shut up...theres no consequences for someone who has not officially entered the race!

    August 22, 2007 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  17. David, Gilbert Arizona

    Thompson is walking a strict republican party line, pro-life, traditional family values, strong military, and pro-gun. One very telling thing about Thompson's non-campaign is that he truly believes in what he says. While he was in public office his voting record was consistantly republican values, despite his employment as a lobbyist.

    Our Constitution gives us the right to own and bare arms. I have no issue with that. If the majority are anti-gun then change the Constitution. Don't take it out on a candidate who upholds Constitutional rights.

    The only issue I have with Thompson's position is this statement: "an increase in gun ownership rates leads to a decrease in crime"

    That statement isn't true. The violent crime rate per capita in Great Britain, where guns are banned, is consistant with the violent crime rate in the United States. What that means is banning guns does not reduce violent crime. Owning guns does not reduce violent crime either. The stark truth is that people own guns because they are fun to own, plain and simple. Anyone who owns a gun thinking they are safer than the next Joe is either naive or a fool.

    August 22, 2007 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  18. Joliene, Newark, DE

    He stands for all things republican. He is the face of the republican party and rides the hard right. He is someone who can get the republican base excited....ohhh if he were only actually a candidate.

    I dislike the way he thinks this race is a game, how he thinks he can play the American public, or that he thinks he can skirt the laws by waiting to announce he is running. I hope that everyone else sees that he is not the kind of person who should be running our country (no matter which side of the aisle he stands on).

    August 22, 2007 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  19. Erica, Atlanta GA

    It is appalling that Thompson really thinks an increase in gun sales leads to a decrease in crime. Here we go-let's throw another dumb redneck into office.

    August 22, 2007 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  20. Jerry D'Brisk

    New election, same old shenanigans.

    When the smoke clears and the field is open to view Hillary will be the demo candidate and the dems will succeed in pulling defeat out of the jaws of victory. She can't win; she won't win because the majority of the public can't stomach her. Even Bill can't stomach her...look at his running around record. Bill hangs around because he can't get away from potential power and the Clinton marriage was an agreement from the beginning to be a political partnership. Unfortunately, this is an election that will be decided by emotion and we will see a continuation of a republican presidency, irrespective of who the republican candidate will be.

    August 22, 2007 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  21. SP, Phoenix AZ

    I'm already sick of this guy.

    August 22, 2007 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  22. Brian Hubbell II, Connecticut

    "That statement isn't true. The violent crime rate per capita in Great Britain, where guns are banned, is consistant with the violent crime rate in the United States. What that means is banning guns does not reduce violent crime. Owning guns does not reduce violent crime either. The stark truth is that people own guns because they are fun to own, plain and simple. Anyone who owns a gun thinking they are safer than the next Joe is either naive or a fool."

    Too bad the violent crime rate is on the rise at an enormous rate in Great Britain. Wanna know why? If you have a guarantee that the guy you're about to mug or house you're about to break into does not have a gun or means of self defense whereas you do have a weapon of some form, you have nothing to worry about. Banning guns is one of the classic first steps of a totalitarian government. National ID (Show me your papers Comrade, oh you dont have them? Off to siberia with you!) is as well.

    August 22, 2007 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  23. Myron, Honolulu, HI

    It Looks more and more like he’s gone beyond “testing the waters” into Campaign Finance Violations. Can Laws stop the corrupt? 😦

    August 22, 2007 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  24. spinstopper

    Anyone who owns a gun thinking they are safer than the next Joe is either naive or a fool.
    –Posted By David, Gilbert Arizona

    Try telling that to my wife when you break into our house..

    August 22, 2007 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  25. paul east providence, ri

    Everyone that knows anything about the increased violence amongst the youth in our country all agree that the increased use and availabilty of guns is the leading cause. Show me some statistical evidence, Senator, that backs up your claim. No one else has ever seen it so where do you come up with this brilliant statement?

    August 22, 2007 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
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