41ON41 is a strong, good-hearted portrait of an American president … I don’t think its importance can be overstated. It is a great gift to history.

— David McCullough, Pulitzer Prize winning author of John Adams and Truman

Female speechwritter


Trump unveils his 2016 tax plan

ABC Business News’ After the Bell: Harvard Professor Jeff Miron, fomer George H.W. Bush Speechwriter Mary Kate Cary and Democratic Strategist Julie Roginsky weigh in on Donald Trump’s tax plan.

Phillips Andover Academy

A very special all school meeting featuring distinguished guests President George H.W. Bush, PA '42, former first lady Barbara Bush and Mary Kate Cary, executive producer of the documentary “41on41.”

FOX NEWS “Fox & Friends”

The producers of the documentary, Peggy Dooley and Mary Kate Cary, stopped by "Fox and Friends" a few months ago to discuss how the project about.

Ms. Cary has appeared on NPR over 100 times; for a full listing of her interviews and commentary, click here.

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Hillary Clinton and Democrats Want to Take Your Guns

First, full disclosure: I am a gun owner. I passed a background check and legally own a 20 gauge pump-action shotgun that I use to shoot clay pigeons at target ranges. I am not alone. According to a 2013 survey by the National Sporting Goods Association, women’s participation in shooting sports increased by 51.5 percent, to just over 5 million women, for target shooting over the last decade. There are a lot of women like me who like to shoot skeet.

In case you are wondering, I am not a member of the NRA.

I believe that gun violence is a plague on our nation. I believe that all gun owners should have to pass a background check, and that a prior record of committing violent crimes is a very good reason for denying one’s Constitutional right to own a gun. I have no problem with reasonable waiting periods. I don’t understand why anyone needs to own military-style assault weapons, and I think they should be more difficult, if not nearly impossible, to obtain.

I believe that mental illness is also a plague on our nation. Polls show that most, if not all, Americans agree that severely mentally ill people should not have access to guns. The problem is, how do we keep them from getting guns? This is not a problem we’re going to solve tomorrow, but there are a few reforms we should consider in the short run.

First, many people would be safer – including those who are mentally ill themselves – if we expanded involuntary or civil commitment for cases of severe mental illness. That would get the most difficult cases off the streets, and would likely save many lives. Plus I think we owe it to the people who are suffering the most to get them to a place where they can be helped. The compassionate thing to do would be to get them the treatment they desperately need.

Because of privacy laws, we have no way for gun dealers to know if someone is suffering from mental illness. Currently, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, federal law cannot require states to identify people with mental illness to the FBI’s  National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which is used for background checks by gun dealers. As a result, as we know, too many mentally ill individuals can pass background checks. It’s time to require that all states report mental illness issues to the NICS, and amend the privacy laws so that doctors, family members and even friends can have input and report their concerns.

One more idea: so many of these mass killings have taken place at churches, college campuses, high schools and even military recruiting stations – most of which are “gun-free zones.” While gun-free zone legislation was originally well-intentioned, many of those zones have now become open targets for mentally ill shooters. We should keep the harsh penalties for bringing guns into those places, but perhaps we should consider exempting armed guards where needed – or at the very least taking down the “gun-free zone” signs. I wouldn’t post one of those signs outside my house, for fear of being robbed; why post them outside of places where innocent, unarmed people are known to be gathering?

At a New Hampshire town hall meeting this week, Hillary Clinton was asked about ideas for reforming gun laws – this was a few days after the first Democratic debate, in which she said that Bernie Sanders wasn’t “tough enough” on guns. At the town hall, she went far beyond what mainstream Americans think is “tough enough.”

“Recently, Australia managed to take away tens of thousands, millions of handguns. In one year, they were all gone. Can we do that? If we can’t, why can’t we?” a man asked Clinton.

“In the Australian example, as I recall, that was a buyback program,” Clinton responded. “The Australian government, as part of trying to clamp down on the availability of automatic weapons, offered a good price for buying hundreds of thousands of guns. Then, they basically clamped down, going forward, in terms of having more of a background check approach, more of a permitting approach, but they believe, and I think the evidence supports them, that by offering to buyback those guns, they were able to curtail the supply and set a different standard for gun purchases in the future … So I think that’s worth considering. I do not know enough detail to tell you how we would do it, or how would it work, but certainly your example is worth looking at.”

First of all, what Clinton didn’t mention is that the Australian Constitution does not include a right to own guns, as our’s does. That’s one very big reason we can’t do that.

Prior to 1996, the Australian states and territories all had different gun laws; a mass shooting caused the government to impose national, uniformly strict regulations on firearms – something that may not be possible to get through Congress here. Or the Supreme Court.

Clinton also didn’t mention that the buyback was not optional – as it has been in some American cities – but mandatory. Although Australian citizens were compensated for their firearms (by increasing the tax on Medicare!), the government effectively confiscated hundreds of thousands of handguns, rifles and shotguns. Most Australian citizens who were not in the military or law enforcement couldn’t keep their guns even if they wanted to.

The entire archives of Ms. Cary’s blogs and columns for US News & World Report is available, click here.

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