Newsletters 1994-2001

Why should gun owners concern themselves with the United Nations? After all, what jurisdiction do they have for sticking their nose into the U.S. gun control debate since the United States Constitution gives no authority of any kind to the U.N? To answer that question, it might help to ask another question. By what authority is the United States Congress (and the rest of the federal government) passing one bill after another to disarm, one step at a time, the civilian population of the country?

Clearly, gun control (or more plainly called civilian disarmament, which is what concerned the founders) is prohibited by the Second Amendment. The only authority the Congress has in this area is to require gun ownership according to the Militia Act passed by the founders in the second Congress under the new Constitution.

The governing principle of what authority the federal government has is stated in the Tenth Amendment: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." In other words, if an explicit grant of power is not authorized in the Constitution, the federal government may not act.

"We the people of the United States" have not held our politicians accountable. As with undisciplined children, they have been doing whatever they feel like rather than operate according to the rules. Not surprisingly, these same politicians have no problem with the United Nations telling Americans what to do without authority since the federal government has been doing the same thing for a long time. Involvement by the U.N. is actually politically quite convenient as long as voters do not object.

From the Horse's Mouth

The documents from the U.N.'s own webpage (http://www.un.org) make it clear that they are very serious about disarming American civilians.

For example, on December 22, 1995, the UN announced the launch of a study of small arms. According to the U.N., small arms "are increasingly associated with crime, accidents and suicides, and form a major source of illicit profits for transnational criminal networks. . . . While trade in major weapons is on the decline, small arms are spreading." That sounds like something Sarah Brady or Rep. Charles Schumer, among others, could have written.

This August, the U.N. released a report of their study that, not surprisingly, concluded that licensing, registration and requirements substantially raising the cost of owning firearms should be implemented by member states. The recommendations indicated that the U.N. would like to see the rest of the world go the way the British have recently fallen. The end result, were it to equal that of England, would be to allow the privilege of, perhaps, owing a shotgun or two -- maybe.

This worldwide survey of firearms ownership is being financed by the Japanese government. The Canadian government is supplying a number of gun control bureaucrats to assist in the U.N. project. Also participating is Stewart Allen, Chief of the Intelligence Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms along with the Russian in charge of the Firearms Control Division of the Russian Ministry of the Interior.

The survey is being done, according to a December 22, 1995 press release from the U.N., in cooperation with U.S. police, customs and military services. The Clinton Administration evidently is hoping to use the U.N. study to lend support to its own desire to disarm American citizens. This is the function assigned to similar studies voted by Congress over the years including the instant background check with its establishment of the means of instant gun registration when background checks are carried out. The Congress passed a study resolution in 1987 mandating the Justice Department to study the issue. Not surprisingly, the bureaucrats concluded that they should have this increased power over the citizens and the additional information about who has guns. Following the study, the Brady Law was passed with its instant background (registration) features firmly implanted in the legislation.

Former U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali spoke of a world "awash" with small arms. The Japanese got the U.N. to approve a resolution authorizing the U.N. Crime Commission to consider various measures to regulate guns. Several of the member governments spoke of the "alarming rise in the proliferation of small arms and underscored that their mounting use by drug traffickers and criminal gangs posed a grave threat to public safety and the rule of law." The same sinister depiction of guns as only used by drug dealers is the same rhetoric employed in the U.S. by Handgun Control and their champions in the Congress and other government bodies.

An earlier draft of the resolution would have encouraged the U.N. Secretary-General "to continue efforts to curb the illicit circulation of small arms and to collect such arms in the affected States, with the support of the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa." While that resolution was dealing with Africa, Americans should not be relieved that the U.S. was not included -- in that resolution. The fact of the matter is, the U.N. is increasingly assuming the jurisdictional authority of a federal world government with the U.S. as just one of scores of member states. And gun control -- meaning civilian disarmament -- is high up on the agenda of the U.N.

New Focus, Same Goals

With the end of the Cold War, the U.N. has shifted its focus to gun control and fighting drugs as a way of continuing to justify its existence. We see the same pattern of big government refocusing in the United States using the same themes of a war on drugs and gun control.

The U.N. Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice met in Vienna in May, 1996 to discuss strategies for civilian disarmament among the member states. In announcing this summit, U.N. bureaucrats set forth what they perceived to be a major problem -- namely, that "small arms are spreading throughout society with little documentation, since they are frequently bought from private individuals." Thus, one of the commission's objectives was to study gun control laws around the world for "the development of related strategies" among the member countries (like the U.S.).

Since most countries register gun owners, one would undoubtedly expect that the "related strategies" would include registering all guns so that the U.N. and the subordinate governments (including the U.S.) will know where the guns are. No more anonymous gun sales with "little documentation." No more passing a gun down from father to son. No more selling a gun to a friend at the office. Big Brother will track everything pertaining to guns.

Gun control illustrates one of the dangers of the U.S. membership in the U.N. In May of 1994, the Clinton administration agreed to participate in a discussion of ways for the United Nations to control the manufacture of guns and their sales to civilians. This is over a year before all of the activities of the U.N. Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice swung into motion with financial support from Japan and bureaucrats on loan from our neighbor, Canada. These other countries were not sneaking in the back door of U.S. sovereignty -- our own government was hiding behind the U.N. to carry out the civilian disarmament they did not think they could get away with by themselves.

This alone is reason for gun owners and all who are working to restore constitutional government in the United States to rejoice that Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) has introduced H.R. 1146, "The American Sovereignty Restoration Act of 1997." In brief, H.R. 1146 would get the U.S. out of the U.N. and the U.N. out of the U.S.

UN Receives $1 Billion Boost

The United Nations received a tremendous boost as it seeks to advance its world "harmonization."

Billionaire cable television mogul Ted Turner recently offered a sacrifice of 9 months of his earnings ($1 Billion) to his favorite "charity."

According to UN spokesman Fred Eckhard, the Turner gift is roughly equal to its annual budget. Now more than ever, gun owners must intensify efforts in opposing the anti-gun, anti freedom UN and its world-wide order.


GOA Counters Media Bias on Hill
-- Refutes Brady Registration "Factoids"

by Larry Pratt
Executive Director, Gun Owners of America

(Gun Owners of America sent the following article to Representatives and Senators on Capitol Hill to refute the undue, recent media praise over the Brady Law.)

Brady Law is NOT working

Once again the anti-gun lobby, along with their apologists in the media, have treated us to a steady use of smoke and mirrors. In recent days, Americans have been told that 250,000 felons have been stopped from buying a gun by the Brady registration check.

We have been told that the national law mandating background checks -- which was recently struck down in part by the Supreme Court -- is dropping crime rates around the country. But when one looks through the smoke and gets behind the mirrors, one sees that their claims simply evaporate into thin air.

For starters, there is no data showing that even 10 people have been but in prison as a result of the Brady Law. You read that right. Not ten percent, but less than ten people (three to be exact according to the most reliable data) have actually been incarcerated as a result of the Brady law.

So imagine for just a moment that those 250,000 people supposedly stopped at gun stores by the Brady check were bona fide felons. If these figures were accurate, why are 249,997 of them still out on the street?

Brady Law is NOT putting criminals behind bars

The truth of the matter is that this law was never intended to incarcerate felons who attempt to buy firearms. The Department of Justice (DOJ) admitted as much in a letter to Senator Jon Kyl, stating that the Brady "statute was not primarily intended as a prosecutive mechanism." In other words, the law was never meant to prosecute real felons and put them behind bars. Rather, says the DOJ, "The Brady Law fully serves its purpose when it succeeds in thwarting the acquisition of a firearm." But what if the "felon" simply walks out the door and buys a gun down the street?

Ohio's Attorney General, Betty Montgomery, has recently testified to this very irony in the law on June 30:

In 1996, 60,037 people went to licensed gun dealers to purchase handguns. Of that figure, 327 -- less than one half of one percent -- were denied because of a disqualifying factor. . . . [W]hile we were able to keep 327 people from getting a handgun at point A -- each of them was able to purchase a rifle or handgun the very same day at point B. To our knowledge, under the Brady Act, not a single one of the 327 people who falsified the form and tried to purchase a handgun illegally have been prosecuted by the U.S. Justice Department.

Taxpayers in Ohio spent almost a million dollars and what did they get? Not one person was even prosecuted. Not one criminal was taken off the streets despite the fact that it is a felony for a convicted felon to even attempt to purchase a firearm. The streets of Ohio are not one bit safer. In fact, the streets may actually be more dangerous since the police can no longer focus their attention on real crime fighting, but must now spend countless man hours scrutinizing honest citizens as if they were criminals.

Consider what law enforcement has to say about this law. Chiefs of police and sheriffs have overwhelmingly indicated that the Brady law is NOT making our neighborhoods any safer. The most recent poll conducted by the National Association of Chiefs of Police (NACOP) shows that a full 89 percent of these top cops agree that the Brady Law has not prevented any criminal "from obtaining a firearm from illegal sources" in their area.

The Brady registration check is NOT taking criminals off the street. Moreover, most of the people being denied firearms under the law are not even dangerous felons. The General Accounting Office (GAO) admitted as much when it reported on the "effectiveness" of the Brady law in 1996.

The GAO found that almost 50% of denials under the Brady Law are erroneous -- that is, they were for administrative snafus or traffic violations. Why do the gun grabbers, when they're throwing around the 250,000 figure, never tell us that almost 40% of the denials are for administrative errors, like sending paperwork to the wrong department. Almost 10% of the people denied firearms are done so for outstanding traffic tickets! Do you feel safer now?

The Brady registration check is NOT working the way its creators had envisioned. But in one area, the Law is doing one thing rather well. It is registering law-abiding gun owners, despite prohibitions in the Law.

Instant Gun Owner Registration

In 1998, the Brady law "sunsets" into a national instant check. To conduct the instant background check, the name of the firearms purchaser must be entered into a computer and checked against criminal, mental illness, and several other records.

As a result, Mike Slavonic, NRA Director and Chairman of the Legislative Committee for the Allegheny County Sportmen's League, states that the instant background check could be "our downfall." He notes that,

What most Americans don't know is that once the instant background check goes into effect in 1998 the purpose of Brady could be used to set the stage for national confiscation. Instant check could eventually keep guns out of the hands of everyone by registering everyone who purchases a handgun, rifle and shotgun and who obtained concealed weapons permits in a computerized database.

There is mounting evidence to support Slavonic's claim:

* Gun Owners of America has compiled clear evidence that some police officials in Texas are keeping the records of firearms purchases, in defiance of the Brady law. These records (taken from the Brady-mandated background checks) go back many months and have been used for purposes other than that for which they were intended, such as collecting fines or fees. These records include the name, address and driver's license number of the gun owner.
* In Ohio, the Attorney General's office admitted this year that Brady background checks have been used to register gun owners. Even though the (Ohio) administration would destroy all paper records after 20 days, they did "maintain a computer log of Brady-related inquiries for a period of one year" -- in defiance of the Brady law.
* One Georgia state Representative, Brian Joyce (R), has uncovered evidence that the federal government may well be registering every gun owner nationwide who buys a firearm from a dealer. His investigation has found that whenever a background check request is made to National Crime Information Center (NCIC), "the computer knows that any given background check is for a gun purchase." Rep. Joyce notes that a code is sent with the request for information, and "thus a list is being created."

In this day and age of computer technology, how can anyone truly promise that absolutely no registration records will be kept after a background check is made? No matter what the law, the temptation is too great that some back-up disk will remain somewhere. Even the Democratic Office of Technology Assessment admitted this in 1991 when commenting on the instant check system. "The potential [for registration] exists," they declared, "regardless of legal prohibitions."

Registration and Confiscation

But why all the fuss about gun owner registration? Quite simply, gun registration has been used -- even in this country -- to later confiscate firearms. The most recent and most prominent case of this occurred in New York City just a few years ago.

It all began with promises made by New York City officials in the mid-1960s. They wanted to register long guns, over the vocal opposition of the city's gun owners. The city fathers promised they would never use such lists to take away firearms from honest citizens. But in 1991, the city banned (and soon began confiscating) many of those very guns.

The Daily News reported in 1992 that "Police raided the home of a Staten Island man who refused to comply with the city's tough ban on assault weapons, and seized an arsenal of firearms. . . . Spot checks are planned [for other homes.]"

Every aspect of the Brady Law is unconstitutional and dangerous. Congress should repeal this law and stop hassling the states with ineffective crime fighting ideas.


On the Hill

LAUTENBERG GUN BAN REPEAL (H.R. 1009)

Representative Helen Chenoweth (R-ID) continues to get more cosponsors on her bill to repeal the Lautenberg Domestic Gun Ban. The bill, H.R. 1009, now has 32 cosponsors and remains the leading repeal bill in that it has more cosponsors than any other bill dealing with this gun ban.

The Lautenberg ban, passed late last year, would disarm gun owners for offenses as slight as spanking a child or grabbing a spouse. Since its passage, the ban has generated a considerable amount of press and still continues to make news around the country:

* An Idaho man is filing suit against the Lautenberg gun ban. Late last year, an Idaho man plea bargained to a domestic violence misdemeanor, not realizing that his plea would make him a "prohibited person." This gun owner has been forced to give up his firearms collection and, as a result, is now challenging the constitutionality of the Lautenberg ban in federal court.
* An Arizona couple could lose their gun rights for spanking their own kids. Two flight attendants ratted on the couple for swatting their adoptive daughters on a flight to New York. The parents were arrested upon landing in New York and face civil and criminal charges. If convicted, the parents would lose their Second Amendment rights as a result of the Lautenberg gun ban.
* The Department of Justice is pushing gun bans for ALL misdemeanors. The May 1997 issue of Muzzle Blasts, the official publication of the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association, shows some disturbing news. According to the publication, a Department of Justice memo indicates the Administration will propose an expansion of the Lautenberg gun ban to cover anyone convicted of ANY type of misdemeanor.

JUVENILE CRIME BILL (S 10)

After coming under intense pressure from GOA members earlier this year, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) has modified a provision that would have treated gun owners like organized crime figures. The original language could have sent a gun dealer, manufacturer or owner to prison for up to twenty years for something as minor as two record-keeping mistakes. After GOA alerted the Senate to these problems, several Senate offices told Gun Owners of America they could not support the bill as it was then drafted. This led to Senator Hatch revising his bill.

But several problems remain with S. 10, even as it was reported out of the Judiciary Committee in July by a 12-6 vote. The bill would still increase the sentence to twenty years for violating any two provisions in the unconstitutional 1994 Clinton semi-auto gun ban.

Thus, minor and technical violations involving the mere possession of two banned semi-automatics could land the violater in jail for 20 years. Likewise, a parent that takes two of his minor children target shooting with a handgun, without fulfilling the absurd requirement of giving them written notes of authorization, could be treated as an organized crime figure.

There were also a couple of anti-gun amendments that were added by Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) in committee. S. 10 is not expected to be considered by the full Senate until the Fall or next year.

FORFEIT YOUR GUNS BILL (H.R. 1965)

The House Judiciary Committee passed a forfeiture "reform" bill in June by a 26-1 vote. This bill would, in most cases, make the forfeiture laws even worse. According to a survey done by The Pittsburgh Press, 80% of the people who had property seized by the federal government were never even charged with a crime.

Currently, BATF is allowed to come into one's business or home under some circumstances and seize firearms and other business and personal property. This authority has been egregiously and repeatedly abused by BATF.

Under H.R. 1965, the rights of gun owners (or other businessmen) will be considerably diminished. This bill would authorize BATF to seize a business without a warrant if they simply 'believe' there was probable cause that the property was subject to forfeiture. No warrant, no judge, no jury -- simply the belief of wrongdoing on the part of BATF agents.

The bill also makes it easier for BATF to seize the personal assets of a gun dealer or manufacturer (their home, firearms collection, etc.) because such property were "proceeds" of the business. Moreover, the bill would allow the BATF to conduct fishing expeditions against gun owners without probable cause, and allow them to use hearsay evidence in initial proceedings.

PRO-GUN AMENDMENT DEFEATED

A pro-gun amendment added to the Treasury-Postal appropriations bill was defeated on the floor of the House in September in a manner that did not force politician to actually vote on the measure.

The amendment, offered by Representative John Murtha (D-PA) would have addressed certain complications that have arisen concerning the importation of firearms that are of U.S. origin and are classified as curios and relics under current law. These firearms are of interest primarily to collectors and military veterans.

The Murtha amendment was offered in response to a unilateral State Department practice which is preventing veterans and firearms collectors from importing certain firearms, which current law permits.

Thanks to some insider parliamentary tricks, we have no recorded vote on the amendment at press time. With Steven LaTourette (R-OH) in the Chair, a "point of order" was raised by newly elected gun grabber Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY). McCarthy complained that the Murtha amendment constituted a change in legislation in an appropriations bill, which violates House rules.

LaTourette conceded McCarthy's "point of order," and asked if there were any objections on the floor. None were raised, with the result that not only was the amendment defeated, but there was no recorded vote which could be used to hold politicians accountable.

There is an interesting sidenote in all this. While the Murtha amendment was ruled out of order because it constituted a legislative change (which it arguably did not), the Lautenberg and Kohl amendments passed last year as part of an omnibus appropriations bill.

(The Lautenberg amendment banned firearms possession from people convicted of offenses as minor as spanking their own children or a wife slapping her husband. The Kohl amendment created a 1,000 feet gun free zone around every school in the country.)

Clearly, these two measures were changes to current law. Yet, where were the objections? "Pro-gun" Congressmen have been too long MIA.

As for Ms. McCarthy, if she is truly concerned about changing legislation in appropriations bills, she should now demand an immediate repeal of the Lautenberg and Kohl gun bans and insist that they be debated and voted on as independent measures. Don't hold your breath.


State Bullets

Ohio AG Betty Montgomery's Latest Scam

As Ohio activists may know, Attorney General Betty Montgomery enforced the unconstitutional Brady law in Ohio until the Supreme Court ruled against it. But it seems the Supreme Court or the gun rights of Ohioans apparently do not hold much weight with her.

Now, AG Montgomery's office has instituted a "voluntary" system with a minimum $13.00 fee! Herb Campbell, President of the Ohio Gun Rights Coalition, wrote in a recent letter that on two separate occasions, spokespersons from the Attorney General's office admitted that they were powerless to enforce the new waiver system, but hoped that gun dealers and purchasers would voluntarily comply with the system.

Without a gun buyer's permission, AG Montgomery cannot perform a background check (unless a criminal investigation is in progress). In other words, the Attorney General has no power to perform background checks, but wants you, the gun buyer, to give her permission to do so!

Ohio Gun Rights Coalition has joined with Gun Owners of America to fight for HB 454, the Gun Rights Restoration Act (GRRA), and is asking all Ohioans to refuse to take part in this unconstitutional trick play. For more information, please contact the Ohio Gun Rights Coalition, P.O. Box 2602, Columbus, Ohio 43216-2602 in writing, or call at 614-841-2971. You can Email the Coalition at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and visit their website at: http://members.aol.com/ogrc to find out more.

Gun Owners of America Fighting Anti-gun Nightmare in Washington

Previously The Gun Owner updated you on the threat individuals and families face by the I-676 referendum in Washington State.

Gun owners across the United States should be concerned because if Bill Gates and his cohorts pass anti-gun Initiative 676, your state could very well be next on the list.

Gun Owners of America Political Victory Fund (GOAPVF) is working with like minded groups to defeat I-676. GOAPVF is urging activists to contact Western Fish and Wildlife Federation (WFWF) if they want to join the grassroots effort to defeat I-676.

Some groups fighting I-676 plan an expensive media campaign in the I-5 corridor where most of the anti-gun vote lives. Besides diverting precious resources to fat commissions (often as high as 15%) going to "big-name" political consultants, such an approach, if handled incorrectly, could actually mobilize anti-gun voters and the powerful media in the urban, Takoma-Seattle area.

Instead of shooting wildly in a haphazard manner, GOAPVF and WFWF are pursuing a sharpshooter strategy. Both groups are using a targeted get-out-the-vote effort.

To do this both groups will use targeted mailings, phone banks, FAX/E-Mail networks, and, if time and funds permit, targeted radio and newspaper ads. Western Fish and Wildlife Federation grassroots coordinators are meeting with and informing groups and individuals on how to effectively oppose I-676.


Missouri Man Being Prosecuted After Nabbing Murder Suspects

On Tuesday, Christmas Eve 1996, police officers with the Rural Missouri Major Case Squad were lying in wait at a local trailer park for two homicide suspects.

The previous Friday, police found the body of a 65 year-old man dead and stuffed into a container. The ensuing investigation put officers on the trail of Shelby Stewart, Jr., and Kristin Allen, both 23.

The police waited outside a trailer they believed housed the suspects. As if on cue, a red Ford Thunderbird occupied by the duo pulled into the trailer park. Obviously recognizing the police, the driver whipped the car around and sped away.

The Thunderbird led police on a high speed chase down winding dirt roads of this rural Missouri county. As the chase ensued, the Missouri State Highway Patrol and two other jurisdictions were notified and joined in pursuit. The officers who initiated the chase, however, lost sight of the fleeing car.

This entire episode was heard on a licensed fire department radio by 54 year-old Larry Gates. Gates owns and operates a small convenience store and also serves as a volunteer fireman in Iconium, Missouri. A sense of duty and a spirit of volunteerism characterizes Gates, who served his country for 22 years in the U.S. Marine Corps. Larry monitors this emergency radio regularly, enabling him to perform his volunteer duties most effectively.

Through the fire department's radio, Mr. Gates learned of the chase. He was aware that law enforcement had lost the suspects, the police in hot pursuit apparently taking a wrong turn down a dead end road. Realizing that the fleeing car was going to have to pass through the intersection right by his store, Gates went into action.

He grabbed a shotgun and a sidearm, and he and his son Corey got in his pick-up truck, and pulled into the intersection. Acting quickly, Gates' two other sons pulled another vehicle into the road. Both cars had fire emergency lights flashing. There was but one road out of the area for the fugitives, and it was effectively blocked by these brave and responsible citizens.

A FEW SECONDS LATER, the red Thunderbird came into view. Twenty two year-old Corey Gates stood in the road and raised his hand, gesturing the driver to stop. Instead, the car accelerated right toward the young man. Corey, while fearing for his life, stood his ground.

Larry Gates watched these developments in horror. A two ton steel projectile was speeding right toward his sons. He raised his 12 gauge shotgun and fired once and hit the vehicle on the right side. The car swerved off the road, around the roadblock, and back onto the road. Gates' one shot probably saved the life of at least one of his sons, but it was this shot that would trigger an investigation by police and the local prosecutor.

In light of the trauma they would face in the following weeks, the remaining heroics of the Gates family that day are almost anticlimactic. While Larry Gates communicated with the sheriff's department by radio, Corey Gates and his brother, Tim, followed the Thunderbird. "We didn't chase the car," Corey said. "We simply followed it at a moderate pace, expecting that because of the way they were driving, the car would eventually end up in a ditch or off the road."

Sure enough, the car had slowed down long enough for the passenger to exit the vehicle. The passenger, Kristin Allen, was slightly wounded in the shoulder with superficial cuts. The two men stopped the car. Tim, an E.M.T., stayed and administered first aid to the girl, who told them that the driver of the Thunderbird was intent on suicide by crashing the car into a pole.

Cautiously, Corey drove off in the direction the car had gone. A short time later, he came upon the now-deserted getaway car. He got out of his car, and was met by a man on a recreational vehicle, who was almost killed by the Thunderbird. Corey instructed the man to notify the sheriff's department about their location and that the suspect was now on foot.

Several minutes later, the police arrived and arrested the suspect without incident.

LARRY GATES AND HIS SONS are real heroes. Because of their fast actions, the homicide suspects (who later confessed to the killing) were apprehended before they could cause more damage. The two had been on a drug-induced high for days, were suicidal, and extremely dangerous.

All of the Gates involved were brought to the police station for routine questioning and released. What could have been a nightmare seemed to turn out for the best. A new nightmare, however, was about to descend on the Gates family.

Unbelievably, St. Clair County Prosecutor Mike Dawson later decided to charge Larry Gates with "unlawful use of a weapon," a class D felony offense. Gates was released after posting a $5000 bond. If convicted, he could face up to five years in prison.

Larry Gates is esteemed in the eyes of his community. Unlike some big cities in the U.S., citizens in rural areas are encouraged and feel obligated to assist their local sheriff. Sheriff's departments usually have very limited resources with an immense amount of ground to cover. It is therefore incumbent upon decent, honest citizens to be involved in community protection.

Larry Gates has been wrongfully described as a "vigilante." He is being used by the prosecutor to send a message to other law-abiding citizens that apprehending bad guys should be left to the "professionals." Gates has been offered various opportunities to plea bargain his charges down to a misdemeanor, but he has steadfastly refused to impugn his name in that way.

Gates' actions were responsible and heroic. He placed his own life in harms' way in an effort to serve his community and to assist law enforcement. He should be given a medal, not a felony conviction. He should not forever lose his Second Amendment rights.

A trial date has been set for December 10 for Larry Gates. We can be sure that the prosecutor will "pull out all the stops" to avoid the personal embarrassment of defeat. Mr. Gates has refused to break in the face of this cynical prosecution and can expect an unusually costly defense, one that he will have to shoulder himself.

Gun Owners Foundation has established a legal assistance fund in the name of Larry Gates. Gun Owners of America members and friends are encouraged to contribute to his defense. All donations to Gun Owners Foundation are tax deductible.

Checks should be made payable to Gun Owners Foundation, with "Gates" written on the memo line. Also, donations can be made via credit card by calling (703) 321-8585. Every penny collected for this fund will go directly to the legal fees and expenses of Larry Gates.

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