Few presidents in modern times have been as interested in gun control as Richard Nixon, of all people. He proposed ridding the market of Saturday night specials, contemplated banning handguns altogether and refused to pander to gun owners by feigning interest in their weapons.
Several previously unreported Oval Office recordings and White House memos from the Nixon years show a conservative president who at times appeared willing to take on the National Rifle Association, a powerful gun lobby then as now, even as his aides worried about the political ramifications.
"I don't know why any individual should have a right to have a revolver in his house," Nixon said in a taped conversation with aides. "The kids usually kill themselves with it and so forth." He asked why "can't we go after handguns, period?"
Nixon went on: "I know the rifle association will be against it, the gun makers will be against it." But "people should not have handguns." He laced his comments with obscenities, as was typical.
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Nixon was such an odd one. For one, he had a torrid affair with Bebe Rebozo for much of his life (he used to hold hands with Bebe), but hated "faggots".
I guess there is a little good, even in the worst of us.
He also proposed a Guaranteed National Income, and disliked Reagan because his policies were hurting Americans.
Guns kill people! So hysterical. ^
People won't believe me, but Nixon was the most liberal president we ever had.
If people want to really stand up to the NRA, what you need to organize is a bunch of inner city black males arguing and marching for their right to own semi-automatic weapons. Make them a real visible and threatening presence. Change it to "N Word" Rifle Association.
Then you would see loads of conservative white folks scaling the the steps of Capitol Hill demanding gun control.
I love that idea r6.
Oh please, R6. Local police would pepper spray them into oblivion before it ever had a chance to become national news.
Nixon was an evil pos. Reagan was a sociopath. Nixon was a schizophrenic.
Nixon also pushed block grants to cities. He proposed the EPA. If it weren't for Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, I might go along with you, r5.
Nixon is one of the most fascination people ever to become President. He was a study in contradiction.
He was for a version of national health care as well as everything already mentioned. At the same time, he was paranoid almost to the point of madness. Evil, vindictive and ruthless. Yet, thin-skinned and oversensitive. Part of him really tried to do the best for the country. The other part of him was a criminal.
They will be studying him for centuries.
R10, to be fair, Vietnam started under a different administration, just like Obama and the "War on Terror". Unfortunately the parallels end there.
r13 - While the Vietnam War started under Kennedy/Johnson, Nixon ran in 1968 saying he had "a secret plan to end the war". The Johnson Administration started peace talks.
Nixon started a massive bombing campaign of Laos and Cambodia.
Another 20,000 US soldiers died when he was in office.
r11, the only bad thing about him was he got caught.
I think he was no better or worse than any other US president, particularly Republicans.
The only reason he got caught, and wasn't able to cover it up, was that he wasn't a member of the establishment. He often ranted on the tapes about "Ivy League bastards", and he came off paranoid, but he was right. It was wider than the Ivies, but he was really talking about the 1%.
Nixon was flawless and haters are gonna hate.
Richard Nixon was a Quaker who hosted Quaker meetings in the White House.
Some of his more liberal views (such as gun control) may have come from that belief system. He didn't always act on those beliefs but those times when he did stand out from the norm. Generally he was a power-hungry, grasping and cunning politician who surrounded himself with conscienceless advisers like Henry Kissinger.