Newsletters 1994-2001

by John Velleco

(Washington) -- In early May, timed to coincide with the Million Mom March, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced an elaborate measure to license and register gun owners.

S. 2525, "The Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act," is cosponsored by Sens. Schumer (D-NY), Boxer (D-CA) and Lautenberg (D-NJ), and is set to be introduced in the House by Rep. Marty Meehan (D-MA).

"This group would be aptly named the 'Congressional Disarmament Caucus,'" said Larry Pratt, Executive Director of Gun Owners of America.


Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)

Barbara Boxer (D-CA)

Chuck Schumer (D-NY)

Frank Lautenberg D-NJ)

"The civilian disarmament extremists always talk about fighting crime, but their actions and legislation are only aimed at harassing, registering, and disarming law-abiding citizens," said Pratt.

The Feinstein bill applies to all handguns and any semiautomatic firearms that can accept a detachable magazine. It would prohibit any person from possessing such firearms unless the person obtains a license, which requires the applicant to:

  • Provide information as to date and place of birth and name and address;
  • Submit a clear thumbprint;
  • Submit a current photograph;
  • Sign, under penalty of perjury, that all of the submitted information is true and that the applicant is qualified under federal law to possess a firearm;
  • Pass a written firearms safety test, requiring knowledge of the safe storage and handling of firearms, the legal responsibilities of firearm ownership, and other factors as determined by the state or federal authority;
  • Sign a pledge to keep any firearm safely stored and out of the hands of juveniles (this pledge will be backed up by criminal penalties of up to three years in jail for anyone failing to do so);
  • Undergo state and federal background checks.

New purchases of qualifying firearms would require the license; current owners of such firearms would have ten years to obtain a license. Following the ten-year anniversary of the measure, possession of all qualifying firearms would be illegal except for license holders.

The license, which would resemble a driver's license, would be valid for five years.

How licensing could pass in 2000

While this bill would have a difficult time working its way through the deliberately arduous legislative process, there is recent precedent for radical anti-gun bills being attached to must-pass appropriations measures.

In 1996, Congress passed two amendments, the Gun Free Zones Act and the Lautenberg Misdemeanor Gun Ban, as part of an omnibus spending package. Neither bill would likely have made it to the President's desk as stand-alone bills.

Also, such zealous gun control attempts often have the effect of making slightly less extreme measures look more moderate.

"Would S.2525 pass on a straight up or down vote in the House or Senate? Not likely," said Pratt.

"But sometimes even bills that never get voted on are nonetheless effective in pushing the extremists anti-gun agenda. Gun owners must therefore be diligent in voicing their opposition to this and all other anti-gun proposals in Congress."


GOA Members Help another Senator "See the Light"

by Larry Pratt

Sen. Everett Dirksen was fond of saying "When I feel the heat, I see the light." Dirksen's aphorism is still valid today.

The latest validation of Dirksen's connection of vision and heat occurred in Utah.

Sen. Orrin Hatch was not pleased to have his vision corrected, but Utah gun owners applied a tremendous amount of heat and greatly improved the Senator's eyesight.

GOA members are familiar with Sen. Hatch's increasing embrace of gun control.

During the last Congress, Hatch was forced to drop several anti-gun provisions from his crime bill after GOA activists flooded the Senate with thousands upon thousands of postcards, thus encouraging seven Senate cosponsors to remove their names from his bill.

Hatch reintroduced his juvenile crime bill (S. 254) last year and brought it before the Senate right after the Colorado shooting.

Not surprisingly, his bill was loaded down on the Senate floor with several anti-gun provisions -- many of which had Hatch's support.

For example, S. 254 would now put gun shows out of business by setting promoters up for jail terms and loss of their property if even one attendee was not notified of his responsibilities under the Brady law.

Of course, the object is either to stop gun shows altogether or to eliminate firearms transactions the government has not registered, which is what happens when people buy guns through dealers.

Hatch's bill would also require the sale of trigger locks, even though they are the same as locking up your safety. Trigger locks also might be known as Home Invader Protection Devices.

In addition, S. 254 would ban the importation of self-defense magazines of over 10 rounds and prohibit people under 21 from having semi-automatic rifles and shotguns.

Despite the anti-gun provisions included in the bill, Hatch voted for it in May of 1999. But more than that, he voted to break Sen. Smith's filibuster of the anti-gun crime bill two months later.

GOA keeps Utah citizens up to date on Hatch's voting record

GOA informed its Utah members of Hatch's increasingly anti-self defense voting record. We also mailed this information to key Republican activists and those who had been delegates in past Utah State Republican conventions.

Hatch's support for all but two of Clinton's judicial nominees, some of whom have been flaming anti-self defense candidates, was also made available to convention delegates in Utah.

The Senator responded in a very predicable fashion typical of most politicians when they are confronted by voters who are unhappy with their record in office.


GOA members have helped Sen.
Orrin Hatch to "see the light"

He first tried to charm convention delegates, even phoning them individually. One GOA member was kept on the phone so long by the Senator that she finally had to say goodbye and hang up in order to catch up with her domestic responsibilities.

The next tactic pursued by Hatch was to shoot the messenger.

Hatch was quite critical of Gun Owners of America, perhaps thinking he could get away with attacking us since GOA was the only national gun group to hold him accountable.

(Thankfully, some local gun groups were equally involved in keeping the heat on the Senator.)

When shooting the messenger did not work, Sen. Hatch tried reinventing his record. After all, Al Gore reinvents things all the time, so why should not others get in on the fun?

Hatch and other gun compromisers get booed at convention

At one county convention held a week before the May 6 state convention, many delegates gave the Senator a very unfriendly welcome. This was not uncommon in other such meetings.

The state convention was not a happy day for the Republican establishment in Utah.

All of their statewide candidates were booed and heckled when they addressed the assembly. Governor Leavitt, who had convened a special session of the state legislature just to ram through gun control (happily he was largely unsuccessful), was not able to finish his speech because of the loud booing.

Senator Hatch was barely able to avoid a primary by getting just one percent more than the 60 percent required of the convention vote. Governor Leavitt did not fare so well, being forced into a primary with pro-gun Glen Davis.

And Mark Shurtleff, the establishment Attorney General candidate, did not even quite get a majority and was forced into a primary with Frank Mylar who is pro-self defense.

The experience shook the Utah Republican establishment as if they had had a near death experience.

Senate leaders pressing for gun vote

Since the convention, Senator Hatch has publicly stated that he has been resisting pressure from Senate majority leader Trent Lott (R-MS) and assistant majority leader Don Nichols (R-OK) to pass the bill and get it off the agenda well before the elections.

Lott and Nichols are talking the same way Senator Bob Dole did when he was the Majority Leader: "Let's get this issue behind us."


Sen. Lott has been trying
to send the anti-gun crime
bill to the President's desk.

But Hatch has stated that he will not allow his bill to move out of the conference committee where it is now stuck unless all the gun control provisions are removed. And that from the man who voted for almost all of them!

The entire country owes a debt of thanks to Utah gun owners. They took the time to become delegates to the Republican convention and they made a difference.

And we at GOA also want to thank the members who supported the GOA Political Victory Fund to enable us to be politically active in Utah.

And while thanks are being properly extended, I want to thank all the GOA members who sent in their post cards during the three-year battle against the Juvenile Justice bill. The seven Senators that bailed out from sponsorship of Hatch's bill in 1998 felt enough heat from you that they saw the light.

So, the next time you are a little tired, and wonder: "What's the use of sending in another postcard, or e-mail, or making another phone call?" please remember the Utah Republican state convention where another chapter in vision restoration through heat application was written.


House Sends 'Pink Slip' to Smith & Wesson --
Senate support for gun control continues slipping

by Erich Pratt

The shootout is over; the dust is now settling. But the "bullet holes" are probably still visible in Capitol Hill chambers.

The month of May was quite contentious in Washington, as opposing sides on the gun debate clashed sharply.

But there is a lot of good news to report, and for starters, Gun Owners of America would like to thank all the activists who have continued to contact their Congressmen.

Your activism has been tremendously helpful.

House votes to bar favoritism toward Smith & Wesson.

On May 18, the House voted to bar the Defense Department from giving Smith & Wesson preferential treatment in government contracts.

Ever since S&W cut a deal with the Clinton administration in March, officials have been looking for ways to reward the gun maker through fat government contracts.

But the House vote, if enacted, will block the Defense Department from rewarding any firearms manufacturer (like S&W) that cuts a gun control deal with the government.


Pro-gun Rep. John Hostettler (R-IN)

The pro-gun language had been included by pro-gun Rep. John Hostettler (R-IN) in committee, when he forced a vote to add the provision to a DoD bill.

The House of Representatives later passed the bill with the Hostettler amendment intact.

The House victory was huge, and anti-gun Democrats are fuming.

But gun owners should be thankful to Rep. Hostettler who has become a sort of "guided missile," seeking to destroy every vestige of gun control that Bill Clinton has foisted recently upon the nation.

Support for anti-gun crime bill continues to slip in the Senate due to grassroots activism.

On other side of the Hill, the Senate narrowly passed gun control in May, but the anti-gun Democrats should be worried.

Their majority is slipping terribly.

The Senate barely voted for a non-binding resolution both praising the Gun Control Moms for their march on Mothers Day and asking the House-Senate conferees to report the juvenile crime bill out of the conference committee before the Memorial Day weekend.

The "sense of the Senate" resolution passed on a 50-49 vote.

But gun owners should note that the juvenile crime bill originally passed with 73 votes one year ago in May of 1999.

It seems that the constant beatings which GOA activists have applied on Senators -- especially those up for reelection -- are taking their toll.

The Senate vote can be viewed at http://www.gunowners.org/cgv.htm on GOA's website.


Massive Civil Disobedience by Canadian Gun Owners

By Gary Ball

It seems that Ottawa has realized, way to late, that it may be facing massive civil disobedience over firearms registration.

Canada and the United States, learned sad lessons about bad laws during Prohibition. Is Ottawa worried about the same sort of situation with firearms? Is that what the panic's about?

Bruce Hutton, a former Mountie from Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, heads the Law-Abiding Firearms Association (LUFA), which he says has 16,000 members across Canada....

Hutton and LUFA say, in a published plan, that they are advocating non-registration, non-compliance, civil disobedience.

"When the first member of LUFA is arrested or charged, we will appoint his legal counsel. Then 10 or 20 or 30,000 of us will go into RCMP detachments across this country and tell them we have unregistered firearms without a licence," LUFA's website (http://www.lufa.ca) says.

"This is an indictable offence so they will have to investigate. The RCMP doesn't have the manpower to handle it and the court system is already plugged. They will not be able to handle the load. We will also ask for legal aid as we are not financially capable of paying our lawyers' fees. We can tie the courts up forever."

Yes, indeed, there's a whiff of panic in the air around the Department of Justice and the Canadian Firearms Centre.

Gary Ball is a local award winning outdoors writer. The above was excerpted from the Peterborough Examiner on April 30, 2000.


GUN USE IN THE NEWS

All in the week of May 21-27, 2000

by Gary Clark

PART ONE
In places where citizens are allowed to carry guns...

GEORGIA --
According to a report by Lori Geary of WSB-TV and Richard Sangster of WSB Radio May 23, 2000, a violent home invasion was thwarted in South Fulton, Georgia by an armed resident.

One of two men trying to rob the mobile home was shot and killed by one of the residents.

Police say the invasion happened about midnight and several people were in the trailer when two gunmen entered through an unlocked door. The robbers fired, one of the residents. Then someone in the trailer fired back, hitting one of the robbers in the head, killing him. The other man got away.

The victim in the trailer remains in stable condition at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta.

FLORIDA --
According to the May 24, 2000 St. Petersburg Times (Florida), Sandra Suter, a 53-year-old grandmother of two, was standing in the check-out line at Wal-Mart in Springhill on Monday when she saw several store employees wrestling with a man.

"Drop the knife! Drop the knife!" one of the employees yelled at the man, who authorities say was trying to steal a VCR. The man, identified as Willie J. Redding, dropped the appliance, pulled a small blade and lunged, cutting two employees, a Hernando County sheriff's report said.

Suter reacted. Within seconds, she rushed to the scuffle.

"I have a concealed weapons permit," she announced as she whipped out the .40-caliber semiautomatic handgun she keeps in her purse.

"Either drop the knife, or I'll shoot you," she said as she held the weapon to the man's face.

After a few tense moments, during which Suter repeated her threat, Redding dropped the knife and surrendered to store security. He now faces a charge of armed robbery and two counts of battery.

After the arrest, several employees, who did not need treatment for minor cuts, and a Hernando County sheriff's deputy thanked Suter for her decisive action.

UTAH --
According to Deseret News, Monday, May 22, 2000, a man named Mike Kooyman reported that his father had just shot and killed an intruder in the couple's West Central City home about 2:45 a.m. Sunday.

The intruder pounded on a sliding glass door until it broke and then entered the home, Salt Lake Police Lt. Jim Jensen said.

"From what my dad told me (the intruder) looked at my dad with death in his eyes and said 'Adios, amigos'; they were terrified," Kooyman said. "My dad fired a couple of shots to the side as a warning, but he came at them violently."...

"If they were unarmed they wouldn't be here today. I don't think (the intruder) was there to steal anything, but he was there to hurt them," their daughter said. "Unfortunately, the elderly are the ones that often get victimized. I don't think they should be forced to put bars on their windows, but that's how older people have to live nowadays. We are definitely pro-gun rights. I'm going to go get one tomorrow."

PART TWO
In places where citizens can't get concealed carry permits to defend themselves...

NEW YORK CITY --
According to Reuters News Service May 25, 2000, two gunmen walked into a Wendy's restaurant in Queens Wednesday night, tied up seven employees, shot five dead and wounded the other two in an apparent robbery attempt, police said....

In 1995, a gunman opened fire at a shoe store in the Bronx, killing five people. The same year, a gunman opened fire in a Harlem store and then set it alight, killing himself and seven other people.

This happened in one of the cities with the toughest gun control laws in the United States, a place where it is illegal for nearly everyone to even own a gun, let alone carry one for self defense. The REAL CRIMINALS responsible for this are the CRIMINALS who advocate for and pass strict gun control laws.

FLORIDA --
May 26, 2000 According to the Associated Press, a Lake Worth middle-school student shot and killed a seventh-grade language teacher in a classroom Friday during the last period on the final day of classes, police said....

Although gun carry permits are available to Florida citizens, this incident happened in a school. Schools are one of those "gun-free safe zones" mandated by "gun control" laws. Since it was illegal to have a gun in the school area, the shooter KNEW he would be "safe" -- from anybody shooting back, that is.

CONCLUSION

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see what's happening here. Out of five incidents that made the national news in a single week, three involved successful defensive use of a handgun by citizens who thwarted armed robbery attempts. Two of those put the robbers where they won't harm anyone else, six feet under. In all three cases no victim was killed or seriously hurt. In the two incidents involving innocent victims killed by gunmen, BOTH occurred in places where the law abiding are prohibited from having guns.

The conclusion is pretty simple:

  1. Guns prevent crime and save lives everywhere they are legal for law abiding citizens to carry.
  2. Guns are NOT kept out of the hands of criminals in places where strict gun laws prohibit people from having them.

Gary Clark is a writer, small business owner and staunch defender of the Second Amendment. This article was excerpted from http://www.KeepandBearArms.com on the internet.


Montana gun owners exercise their power at the ballot box

It's not everyday that a House Majority Leader gets defeated in a primary.

But in Montana, you just can't mess with people's gun rights.

Larry Grinde (R), the Montana House Majority Leader, was part of the cabal that killed a Vermont-style concealed carry bill in 1997.

When Rep. Grinde (R) sought to move up to the state senate in District 47, gun owners were reminded of his anti-gun votes. Grinde lost the recent primary in a stunning upset to Edward Butcher who answered the GOA survey 100%.

If Butcher wins the general election, gun owners will now have a friend instead of a traitor in Montana state senate District 47.

In spite of being endorsed by pro-gun compromisers in the state, Grinde was strongly rejected by the voters 53% to 47%.


Gun Owners Clean Gun Grabbers Clocks in Colorado

-- Pro-gun delegates elected

By Dudley Brown
Rocky Mountain Gun Owners

On June 2, Colorado Republicans held their state convention in Denver. Although the media was there, they hardly got the whole story.

It was clear from early in the morning that gun rights supporters had the overwhelming majority of delegates.

Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO) volunteers applied hunter orange stickers to convention-goers that said "GOP does NOT mean Gun Ownership is Prohibited: Support the Second Amendment."

More than two-thirds of the building would wear this lapel sticker before the end of the day.

Gov. Bill Owens' reception by Colorado Republicans was chilly since he was responsible for successfully pushing several gun control items during the recent legislative session.

When he began his speech, more than half of the 3200 delegates and 1000 alternates raised RMGO-printed signs that said "No More Gun Control. Period."

Fifty-some members of RMGO walked up to the stage, shouting "Liar" and "No More Gun Control."


Gun owners protested
Colorado Gov. Bill Owens'
support for gun control.

Owens tried to ignore the demonstration, but couldn't. Clearly, the Governor cut his speech short when the "No More Gun Control" chant drowned him out.

Was this demonstration proper?

We can think of NO MORE APPROPRIATE PLACE to voice our displeasure with Gov. Owens' views and his betrayal of his oath of office.

Often Republicans tell RMGO that they are personally upset with Owens' flip-flop on gun issues, but say we should work our differences out with Owens in a more appropriate setting.

What better setting than the State Republican Convention, where the GOP is supposed to have its political battles and take stances on controversial issues?

But this was only the outward, public display of the GOP distaste for Owens and overwhelming support of our gun rights.

Gun Owners purge anti-gunners from Party

Every four years, the GOP state convention elects delegates and alternates to the National Convention, where the party's platform is set.

Normally, the battle for delegates centers around "social issues." This year, the battle centered squarely around firearms rights, with RMGO going on the offensive.

Rocky Mountain Gun Owners has been working hard to "stack" the State Convention.

In April we sent thousands of pieces of mail out to gun rights supporters, urging them to go to their precinct caucus (a requirement to be a delegate to the State Convention).

RMGO handed out an anti-gun slate of people that would undoubtedly make delegate (and usually do). This "anti-slate" listed elected officials (both former and current) as well as party regulars who have compromised our rights, and couldn't be counted on to vote for a solid, no compromise gun rights platform.

Of those people, only Gov. Owens and the Party chairman even made it as delegate. Gov. Owens came in 4th in total votes -- a total embarassment -- to Rep. Joe Nunez, Sen. Marilyn Musgrave, and a hardcore conservative party activist.

Former State Rep. Chris Paulson and current Rep. Joe Stengel (both on our anti-gun slate) didn't even make alternate.

Also notable is that 1998 2nd Congressional Candidate (NRA "A" rated and endorsed, but subsequently turned on gun owners) and darling of the establishment Bob Greenlee failed to even make alternate at the State Convention. Greenlee had publicly signed SAFE's Gun Control Initiative, and RMGO held him accountable for it.

RMGO also put out a pro-gun slate, consisting of delegate wannabes that will accept NO compromise of our 2nd Amendment rights, regardless of the wishes of party leadership.

ALL of our pro-gun slate made delegate except one person, who made it as first alternate.

Very few on our pro-gun list were "big name" people within the party, while everyone we put on the anti-gun slate were THE big name politicos.

In essence, we cleaned their clocks.

(If you'd like to see the results, go to http://www.cologop.org/WhatsHot/state_assembly.htm).

The state convention passed a resolution reaffirming our rights to keep and bear arms by 96%, though that resolution had absolutely no teeth.

In summary, this all happened with RMGO doing the work it takes to organize the caucuses and the slates, without the help of any other Colorado gun group.

Imagine the results had there been a concerted effort by all the gun groups.

A hearty well-done to the activists that helped pull off this enormous victory, and to the GOP State Convention delegates who put principle ahead of politics, didn't compromise and stood their ground on the gun issue.


On Target

by John Velleco

Kids and gun access

Older gun owners might remember when firearms actually were readily available. Prior to 1968, guns could be purchased through department store catalogs, or at the local corner grocery or hardware store. There were no federal age requirements, meaning a fourteen-year-old could walk into a store and walk out with a .22 rifle. And, perish the thought, he could take the gun to... school!! A recent obituary for a retired schoolteacher in Maine noted that the woman allowed students to bring their hunting rifles to school and "during class, the rifles stood in a row against the wall." According to many of our members, that practice was not uncommon. And guess what? School shootings back then were unheard of. Hmm.

Children Dying vs. How Children Die

Every time a young person is killed with a firearm, we are accustomed to calls by the President for more gun control. But does Mr. Clinton care about crimes committed when no firearm is involved? In the President's home state of Arkansas, 15-year-old Brittni Pater was allegedly bludgeoned to death and possibly run over by a car by a 16-year-old boy. Yet no national news stories, no calls for banning cars or metal objects. It seems as though the fact that children die isn't nearly as important to anti-gunners as how they die.

Target Practice

The Washington Post magazine recently ran a picture of an air gun shooting gallery set up in Washington in 1941. Interestingly, the large sign above the booth read: "Learn to shoot for Defense of Yourself and Country." Such a sign would send the anti-gunners into orbit today.

Bullet ban push in LA

Two junior California activists have jumped on the anti-gun bandwagon. Niko and Theo Milonopoulos have formed Kidz Voice-LA, aimed at getting bullets banned in the city of Los Angeles. Says Theo: "We have a right to grow up without the fear of being shot." Actually, I looked it up and found no such "right." There is a right, however, of citizens to own guns to protect themselves, and yes, people like Niko and Theo, should the need arise. And remember, if bullets are outlawed in LA, only outlaws, gang-bangers, and street thugs will have bullets.

CT Pushes to Outlaw Sheriffs

A bill in the Connecticut legislature, which thankfully died, sought to outlaw the office of sheriff, bringing all their law enforcement duties under the jurisdiction of the state police. It is an extremely dangerous proposition to eliminate the only elected law enforcement position in the country.

Erotica?

GOA Executive Director Larry Pratt was recently on a radio show on which gun owners were accused of having 'erotic' interests in firearms. One caller responded that if such were the case, Bill Clinton would own a thousand guns.


Nix Project Exile

by
Larry Pratt

How did the defenders of the Second Amendment get into the business of calling for enforcement of gun laws to control street crime?

After all, we opposed the passage of all the federal gun laws now on the books because they are all unconstitutional.

It is beginning to look as if state legislators have set gun owners up for walking into the indefensible position of calling for the enforcement of federal gun laws that should not be on the books.

States have the exclusive jurisdiction over street and domestic crime. It is the failure of states to install judges who are tough on violent criminals that needs criticism. We should not be asking President Clinton and Janet Reno to do a job they have no authority to carry out.

What are we going to say when a teacher is convicted of having a gun for self defense at a school -- a federal felony. Should we call for the incarceration of Joel Myrick, then of Pearl, MS, for having pulled his gun from his truck to stop the killer's rampage?

Do we really want to incarcerate fathers for giving a handgun to their son in another state without going through the federal registration process via a gun dealer?

These are both federal felonies.

Do we really want to call for Bill Clinton to handle those cases with zero tolerance?

Let's take a deep breath and go back a step or two. Let's look at England. Guns were registered for decades. Virtually all of them were confiscated two years ago.

England now has 3,000,000 illegal guns in the hands of criminals -- on an island! What has happened to the violent crime rate? It has now surpassed that of the United States. And England's murder rate is also on the rise.

Forcing people to be checked out by the government before they buy a gun is not going to keep criminals from getting a gun. A gun ban in England has not kept criminals from stocking up, so what makes us think a Brady instant check in the U.S. will get any better compliance than a ban in England?

For that matter, the handgun bans in Chicago and Washington have also led to skyrocketing crime rates. Imagine that, criminals on both sides of the Atlantic behave the same. Disarm the victims, and the criminals are more vicious than ever before.

The problem is not that Clinton has failed to enforce the unconstitutional gun laws currently on the books. Let us hope he never does.

The problem is that Clinton wants to take away guns from the civilian population. Clinton is for victim disarmament. That is the issue. Dead, disarmed victims. The issue should not be Project Exile.

Instead of Project Exile, let's have Project Repeal -- of existing gun laws. Let's have Project Victim Rearmament.

Gun control kills. Guns save lives.