Under heavy security protection, conservative pundit and former U.S. Treasurer Bay Buchanan spoke on “the case for arming the citizenry” in Goldwin Smith yesterday evening.
Buchanan spoke about what she said was a compelling case for the use of guns for personal protection. She also addressed other topics including abortion, immigration, President Bush’s Supreme Court nominations, and the current state of Washington politics.
Two uniformed Cornell University Police officers were present, as well as a plainclothed CUPD officer and a private security guard retained by the conservative think tank that partly sponsored Buchanan’s talk. A University “event manager” was also present.
Buchanan is president of the American Cause, a conservative think tank founded by her brother, pundit and perennial presidential candidate Patrick J. Buchanan. Buchanan is also chair of the Team America PAC, which campaigns for the reduction of illegal immigration.
Buchanan served as the national treasurer of former President Ronald Reagan’s 1980 and 1984 presidential campaigns and in 1981 was appointed as the U.S. Treasurer for Reagan’s first term in office. At 32, she was the youngest person to ever hold that position. Buchanan was also chief of staff for all three of her brother’s presidential campaigns, and is currently a commentator on CNN’s Inside Politics, where she debates Donna Brazile.
Buchanan advocated a strong pro-gun message. While many called for stricter gun controls in the wake of the school shootings in the late 1990s and early 21st century, Buchanan wondered if teachers should be armed in order to protect students from shooters.
“If there’s a mad man in the school – wouldn’t you like to know that your math teacher is packing?” Buchanan said.
Buchanan pointed to looting in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina as an example of a case where she said lawlessness took over and people were not being adequately protected by police.
“You don’t want somebody saying, ‘Oh, this is a terrible thing, lets call the police.’ No, you want someone saying, ‘Does anybody here have a gun?'” she said.
“This is exactly what the founding fathers intended [in the Second Amendment], so that people could protect themselves, because the police aren’t always going to be there,” Buchanan said.
Buchanan emphasized the use of guns for personal protection, and said that gun ownership deters crime.
“Our crime rates are going down-precisely with the increase of concealed weapons licenses,” she said.
Although Buchanan allowed that it’s “tough to look at” school shootings and accidental deaths and still be pro-gun, she said that “crimes are being prevented all the time” by privately-owned guns.
“Criminals avoid communities where people carry [firearms],” she said.
Further emphasizing the effects of guns as deterrents, Buchanan said, “All that’s needed is for the weapon to be brandished – that prevents the crime.”
According to Buchanan, more than 50 percent of home invasions in England are “hot robberies” – when the victim is home. In the United States, where gun controls are looser, she said, “hot robberies” only make up 13 percent of home invasions because criminals know that citizens own guns.
Buchanan, who lives in a Virginia suburb of Washington, D.C., said that although she does not currently own a gun she is planning on buying one now that her three sons have all moved out of the house.
Buchanan said she knows that Brazile owns a gun. Buchanan said that Brazile lives in Washington, D.C., where she said guns are outlawed. She said that she told Brazile, “Next time the terrorists attack, you come to my house in Virginia, because I need the gun and you need the safe house.”
Citing a raft of statistics to support the idea that many more people die from non-gun related accidents than from gun-related ones, Buchanan disputed the idea that a gun in the home makes a dangerous home.
Buchanan also talked about other issues in Washington politics.
“Republicans are in deep trouble for ’06, and most of it’s their own fault,” Buchanan said.
“[Republicans] keep spending like drunken Democrats,” she said, and are alienating their conservative base.
Buchanan said she sees an opportunity for Democrats to regain power in 2006 and 2008.
According to Buchanan, beyond alienating the conservative base, the Republicans’ biggest problem is “cronyism and corruption” that the Democrats can capitalize on in upcoming elections.
Citing a recent spate of scandals in the Republican leadership, Buchanan said, “Frist is under investigation, DeLay is being indicted, Rove is in trouble, the vice president’s office is blowing up – and the president’s appointing his cronies [to top positions].”
Buchanan said that “corruption works” as a strategy that the Democrats could use to attack the Republicans.
The Buchanan family has a history of being at odds with the Bush administration, especially because Pat Buchanan has a history of isolationist foreign policy – what he has called “American-centered nationalism” – that is directly at odds with neoconservative policies of intervention.
“There is unrest in this country [about the war] and I don’t know that it’s going to be that smooth [for the Republicans].”
Buchanan said that she believes the Democrats could capitalize on the war issue if they would only come out against it, but are intimidated into supporting staying in Iraq because they don’t want to be seen by the electorate as being weak on national security.
According to Scott C. Hamilton, the plainclothed Cornell officer who is a senior investigator with the CUPD, Cornell often provides security for controversial speakers. Hamilton also said that it is “standard procedure that when [speakers] bring their own [security detail to campus, the Cornell University Police Department] works with them, whether it is the Secret Service, the State Department, or whatever.”
Buchanan was driven up to Goldwin Smith across the Arts Quad in a black sedan followed by an unmarked CUPD SUV. The security was intended to prevent disruption of Buchanan’s talk. No incidents occurred.
About 45 people attended the event, which took place in the Hollis E. Cornell Auditorium, including about ten members of the Cornell Review and the College Republicans.
The event was sponsored by the Cornell Review and funded in part by the Student Activity Fee.
Archived article by David Wittenberg