Newsletters 1994-2001


(Washington) Late last year, scandal-ridden President Clinton made an unprecedented move toward regulating private sales of firearms.

In his November 7th radio address, the President decried gun shows as "illegal arms bazaars" where persons can buy firearms without first receiving permission from the federal government.

Mr. Clinton then called on Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and Attorney General Janet Reno to close the "loophole in the law and prohibit any gun sale without a background check."

Just how Clinton's request will be implemented is unknown at press time.

In November, Gun Owners of America submitted comments to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms regarding the proposed gun show regulations (see GOA's comments below).

The President's remarks evoked a strong reaction among pro-gun legislators and activists in Washington.

For example, Oklahoma Republican Rep. Tom Coburn was highly critical of the President's efforts to regulate private firearms sales at gun shows.

"It is a sad commentary on how far we've digressed from the Constitution when the leader of this nation labels as illegal the constitutionally protected and time honored tradition of buying and selling firearms at a gun shows," Rep Coburn told The Gun Owners.

GOA's Larry Pratt was also quick to denounce Clinton's efforts.

"What this President refers to as a 'loophole' is the Second Amendment," Pratt Said. "In addition, Clinton's efforts to regulate private gun shows is just a thinly veiled attempt to regulate all private sales."

The federal government since 1938 has strictly regulated licensed gun dealers, while private sales between citizens have not been subject to government approval. But this could change if Clinton gets his way.
Rep. Blagojevich Introduces Anti-Gun Show Bill

In spite of the many scandals surrounding his presidency, Clinton has plenty of supporters on Capitol Hill.

Illinois Representative Rod Blagojevich has introduced a bill that would greatly increase the BATF's jurisdiction over gun shows.

Blagojevich's bill, HR 109, would allow the BATF to set fees and require whatever information it deems necessary in connection with the issuance of a special gun show license, which would be valid for three years. Fingerprints are specifically required for a licensee.

Before a private transaction can occur at a gun show, the seller must provide the gun show sponsor with information concerning the transferee and the gun, which must be forwarded to the BATF within 30 days of the end of the show.

Penalties for violating this measure would range up to five years in prison.

An identical bill introduced by Blagojevich in the last Congress garnered 33 cosponsors. HR 109 already has 27 cosponsors.

Although Blagojevich's bill applies to private sales at gun shows only, its ramifications reach much farther, according to Mr. Pratt.

"The anti-gun forces want to regulate all private sales of firearms to facilitate a more comprehensive gun owner registration list than even the instant check system provides. It is impossible to underestimate the dangers of allowing the government to regulate private sales," Pratt said.
Rep. Paul Reintroduces Carry Bill

Every year as many as one half million people use a gun to defend their lives while they are away from home.

That works out to almost 1,500 Americans each day who brandish or fire their "piece" in a dark parking lot or along a wooded trail or somewhere other than the protective safety of their house.

Unfortunately for most gun owners, existing laws only allow citizens the ability to carry a concealed firearm within the boundaries of their own state. The exceptions to this are few.

But that is fixing to change if Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) gets his way.
Paul's bill doesn't push states to adopt more gun control

Gun Owners of America has been working with Rep. Paul on legislation to protect the right of citizens to carry their firearms into other states. To be sure, Paul has consistently stood up for the rights of gun owners.

That is why Paul has reintroduced his bill providing for concealed carry reciprocity among the states. The new bill is H.R. 407.

Paul has made it clear that Americans do not forfeit their rights at their state border.

"Americans enjoy the unalienable right to carry firearms for their defense," Paul said. "If anything, the need to protect oneself increases the farther one travels from home."

Paul's bill has a clear advantage over other bills, such as the one introduced by Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL) last year.

Paul's legislation is unique in that it does not punish states for being too pro-gun. His proposal doesn't require a citizen to have a carry permit to enjoy reciprocity in another state.

Several states are considering adopting "Vermont-style" concealed carry legislation, where honest citizens can carry as a matter of "right" without getting permission from fickle bureaucrats.
Concealed carry: a right not a privilege

In Vermont, citizens can carry a firearm without a permit . . . without paying a fee . . . or without going through any kind of government-imposed waiting period.

Vermont is one of the few states where citizens actually enjoy the genuine right of carrying concealed firearms without government interference.

Paul's bill is "Vermont-style friendly" so that a citizen from any state which recognizes the genuine right of citizens to carry, can travel to another state and enjoy that same right of self-defense.

"Rep. Paul is a true constitutionalist," said GOA Executive Director Larry Pratt.

"He understands that the Second Amendment protects a God-given right, not a privilege that is handed out at the whim of government bureaucrats."

For many, securing the right of citizens to travel intrastate while armed has become something akin to the quest for the "Holy Grail." No sacrifice is too great to achieve this goal.

Some Representatives even seem content in sacrificing human rights on the altar of compromise to win this elusive prize. They seem content to force states to adopt a permission system.

But not Rep. Paul. He refuses to sacrifice individuals' freedoms in order to protect a right that is already protected by the Second Amendment-the absolute right of law-abiding citizens to keep and "bear" arms anywhere in the United States.
Permits = Government Control and Registration

The freedom issue is paramount to the debate over concealed carry.

Last year, a concealed carry reciprocity bill passed the House Judiciary Committee by a voice vote.

This year could see the bill make its way to the House chamber. It is imperative that the bill that finally passes does not force the states-either explicitly or implicitly-to register its citizens through the use of a permit system.

GOA staff has compiled compelling evidence showing how permit systems can and do lead to abuse by officials.

It is not uncommon for state officials to "raise the hurdles" in order for its citizens to get permits, including, requiring people to get fingerprinted when there is no statutory authority to do so.

Other ways of "chilling" this Second Amendment right include drastically raising the license fees or making the application process for a license more difficult.

"But perhaps the greatest danger posed by a licensing system is that it is pure registration," Pratt said. "And we have already seen in New York and California how registration can lead to gun confiscation."

For these reasons and more, this legislation has once again distinguished Rep. Paul as one of the chief, pro-Second Amendment champions in the Congress.

"GOA members owe a debt of gratitude to Ron Paul," Pratt said. "This legislation will, no doubt, be one of the most important proposals during this Congress."
Speaker Hastert and the Second Amendment

The unexpected rise of incoming House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) has caused many gun owners to ask, "Where does the new Speaker stand on Second Amendment issues?"

Rep. Hastert, like many of his Republican colleagues, actually had a better voting record on Second Amendment issues before his Party took control of Congress.

Rep. Hastert voted against the Brady bill in 1993 and against the semi-automatic firearms ban in 1994, both of which passed under the leadership of the Democrats.

However, since the Republicans took the majority, Hastert has voted for HR 666, a bill which would have severely gutted the Fourth Amendment; for the 1995 Government Terror bill (one of many federal power grabs sponsored by Republicans); and for the Lautenberg and Kohl gun bans that passed as part of the 1996 omnibus spending bill.

Currently, Rep. Hastert, who has been in Congress since 1987, has a "C" rating according to GOA's grading system. He is clearly a compromiser on Second Amendment issues and will need constant pressure from the pro-gun community to "keep his feet to the fire."

Nevertheless, Hastert looks to be an improvement over the iron fisted reign of Newt Gingrich, who continually worked against GOA's lobbying efforts to bring bills to the House Floor for a vote.

The early word on Hastert is that he will not personally work to prevent pro-gun bills from coming to the floor for a vote, a speculation that should be tested relatively early on, as GOA has worked for the introduction of several pro-gun bills already in this Congress.


Your Long Distance Calls Could Help Protect Our Second Amendment Rights

The big three long distance telephone companies ALL support gun grabbing politicians. Here is a list of some of the anti-gunners they have supported as taken from Federal Election Commission records.

AT&T: Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Carol Mosley Braun (D-IL), Chris Dodd (D-CT), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Russ Feingold (D-WI), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Herb Kohl (D-WI), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Patty Murray (D-WA), Chuck Robb (D-VA), John D. Rockefeller (D-WV), Paul Sarbanes (D-MD), Arlen Specter (R-PA), and Senate candidates Bill Weld (R-MA) and Dick Zimmer (R-NJ). Among a host of anti-gun Representatives were Major Owens and Charles Schumer with most of the rest of the likely suspects also receiving contributions.

MCI: Senators Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Carol Moseley Braun, Dick Durbin, Tom Harkin, Carl Levin (D-MI), Barbara Mikulski, Chuck Robb, John D. Rockefeller and Bill Weld. Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) and Edolphus Towns (D-NY) were among the many House anti-gunners.

Sprint: Senators Barbara Boxer, Dick Durbin, Dianne Feinstein, Tom Harkin, and John D. Rockefeller. Representatives: Kevin Brady (R-TX), Tom Campbell (R-CA), Ron Dellums (D-CA) were among the many anti-gunners in the House being helped by Sprint.

LifeLine: This long distance carrier gives to NO gun grabbers. LifeLine is a conservative, pro-gun company that gives ten percent of your long distance bill to GOA.

No matter what long distance company you use, your money will be at work in the gun control debate. The question you must answer is, "On which side of the debate will your money be used?"

LifeLine's rates are four to eight percent under AT&T's standard tariff rates. Do yourself a favor -- and help GOA at the same time -- by switching your long distance to LifeLine. By having LifeLine contribute to GOA's overhead for you, your regular donations are freed up to go for GOA lobbying even more than before.

For information, or to sign up, just call 1-800-311-2811.

What's the Matter with the Republicans?

Did you ever ask that question?

It is answered in Confrontational Politics, a new book by Sen. H.L. Richardson (ret.), GOA's founder and chairman.

During twenty-two years of legislative experience, Sen. Richardson found that the only thing that got things done was confrontation. He found that Democrats typically understand confrontation, like it and use it. Conversely, Republicans do not understand confrontation, don't like it and flee from it.

Many who have already read Confrontational Politics have reported that "Now I finally understand why Republicans keep losing."

Readers of Confrontational Politics will also learn about the lobbying philosophy that has earned GOA's reputation as the only no-compromise gun lobby in Washington. Confrontational lobbying resulted in the defeat of Hatch's horror bill and the first step toward victory in supporting Sen. Bob Smith's (R-NH) initiative to stop the FBI from registering gun owners during the instant background check under the Brady law.

The book is available for $6 plus $4 postage and handling from Gun Owners Foundation at 8001 Forbes Place, Springfield, VA 22151. Credit card orders may be placed by calling 1-888-886-GUNS (4867). Quantity prices are available on request. Secure online ordering is available at http://www.gunowners.com/resource.htm where shipping is $4.50.
My Transformation from Anti-Gun Feminist to Armed Feminist
by Katherine von Tour © 1999
GOA Member

Most people who support the Second Amendment have probably wondered at one time or another how to change the thinking of anti-gunners.

Since I was once a staunch gun-control proponent, including being a member of Handgun Control Incorporated (HCI) in the 1970's, but am today a fervent and virtually no-compromise Second Amendment supporter, perhaps the story of my mental shift will be of interest.

When I recall my mindset in the 1960's, when I was in college in Chicago, and in the early 1970's, when I was teaching grade-school in a private school in Pennsylvania, what I remember most is how completely convinced I was that government was the best and ultimate answer to all of society's ills -- war, poverty, crime and injustice.

I was a true Sixties liberal, who protested the Vietnam War, sported a "Question Authority" bumper sticker on my Volvo, who was a charter member of the National Organization for Women (NOW) and a charter subscriber to Ms Magazine.

I voted for George McGovern. I hung out with other earnest liberals, many of whom were also members of NOW. It wasn't that I believed government was perfect - far from it! - but I had blind faith that, with enough effort and money, it could be made so.

My idea of a perfect government was one which had a generous welfare program, free medical care for all, lots of benign and helpful social programs, and government-mandated fairness and equality for all.

I joined NOW because it promised to fight for equality under the law for women; it encouraged women to empower themselves, and to be independent. Since I was a single woman, these all sounded like a sensible ideas to me.

I joined HCI because it had convinced me that guns were a root cause of violence and crime, and that only criminals owned and used them.
The Liberal Years

I had grown up stationed with my family overseas, and had been sent to private boarding school in Honolulu, where my family is from, and then to Chatham Hall, a young ladies' "finishing school" in Virginia.

Most of my life had been protected and privileged; while my family didn't have a lot of money, we somehow gave the illusion that we did, since we lived overseas, complete with servants and first-class travel paid for by my father's company.

I had been raised, as my mother puts it, "to be a lady," and certainly "ladies" in our social circle weren't trained in self-defense, particularly self-defense involving firearms, which, in any case, were completely banned in the countries where we lived.

After graduating from Northwestern, and doing graduate work at Lehigh, I got a job teaching 6th grade at a private day school in Pennsylvania, where I stayed for 10 years, during which time I was an earnest and unwavering liberal.

It was during this time that I joined HCI and NOW, and crusaded loudly and vociferously against "violence," "intolerance" and "unfairness."
The "Bubble" Bursts

After ten years of teaching, I was still making very little money, and had burned out. I decided to move back to Hawaii, which was my home, and where my parents had retired after 25 years of being stationed overseas, and purchase a franchise of a skin-care and cosmetic business, whose products were sold through home shows.

I spent five ghastly years in Honolulu, struggling to run a business in a government climate which was as socialistic and larded with welfare and social programs as any I had previously worked towards; those five years were the undoing of my liberalism.

I tried in vain to recruit women who were on welfare to work to do home shows and make money by being independent, but I could in no way compete with the obscenely generous welfare benefits they were receiving for staying home and doing nothing, except in many cases growing pakalolo, (marijuana) which they had plenty of time to do, since all of their needs were more than being met by the state.

The Hawaii State Labor board delivered the final death blow to my business by declaring that all of the independent contractors who worked for my company - and whom I could hardly convince to work at all - were to be classified as "employees," and that I had to pay unemployment, workers' compensation and health care for them.

The government cared not a whit that there was no money in my company to fund this state-mandated largess. I was forced to close down the business, to file bankruptcy, and I moved back to the Mainland, my formerly liberal tail between my legs, a newly-hatched libertarian conservative.

I no longer saw government as the solution to social problems. It certainly hadn't solved mine, nor had it encouraged my trying to create jobs for the people of Hawaii, jobs which they didn't want to do because it was too much work, even though the Honolulu Star Bulletin was filled almost every week with whining letters from people complaining that there were no jobs to be had, and imploring the government to "create" more jobs.

With the fervor and passion I had previously reserved for trying to get the government to expand its powers and programs, I began to read the writings of conservative and libertarian authors -- Bastiat, Hayek, Thomas Sowell and others. I also plunged into the writings of the founders of America - Jefferson, Franklin, Madison, Paine, George Mason.

I started meeting people who had also been abused by government agencies - the police, Customs, DEA, IRS and others. I started hearing stories of people having property seized without due process, and of people calling 911 and not having the police not show up in time.

But the pivotal turning point for me was the Los Angeles riots.
Armed in L.A.; guns save lives

I was living in Orange County at the time, but had to go up to LA regularly on business. At that time there had been a rash of violent car-jackings, many of them committed against women who were driving alone.

A friend, who knew a great deal about guns and had grown up around them, told me that, because I was a woman living and driving alone, he wanted me to start carrying a pistol in my car.

He lent me a .38 Special, and showed me how to load, unload and fire it.

One day, just before the riots exploded, I was driving in downtown LA in a scary part of town. It was dusk. As I was stopped at a stop-light, with one car in front of me, two men who had been watching me began quickly and menacingly approaching my car from the sidewalk. One of them was carrying a tire iron.

I grabbed the pistol, which I had laid on the seat beside me, and held it up so they could see it.

The look in their eyes changed in an instant from threatening to fearful, and they immediately turned around and ran in the opposite direction. The light changed. I drove away.

No one was hurt, but a gun in my formerly liberal hand had, I believe, probably saved my life, or at least prevented me from likely injury.
L.A. Riots turn anti-gun advocates into pro-gun supporters

Within a week, the very street where this incident happened had erupted in rioting, looting and killing.

I watched on television as the Korean grocers defended their property with AK-47's and AR-15's, and thus prevented it from being torched and looted. The police couldn't stop the violence and killing.

I had friends who worked in the garment district in LA who barely made it out alive, and who told tales of pulling out pistols and having would-be attackers turn tail and run away.

Guns were saving lives and property.

As the riots threatened to spill over into Beverly Hills, myriad Hollywood types stormed gun stores to arm themselves, only to be told that there was a 15-day waiting period; radio talk shows boiled with people calling in and screaming about how unfair this was, and how the law was leaving them helpless.

Some of them even admitted that they had previously supported the waiting period, and that they were now furious that it had left them unarmed.
Coming full circle: From HCI to GOA

My transformation was complete. I joined the National Rifle Association (I didn't know about Gun Owners of America or Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership yet) and started reading their literature. I bought and read "Armed and Female" by Paxton Quigley - another ex-gun-control woman.

I fell in love with and married the friend who had lent me the .38 Special, and started learning in earnest about guns and how to use them. We joined GOA and JPFO.

And the National Organization for Women? Here's the thing that makes me crazy about an organization ostensibly dedicated to the empowerment of women - NOW is uncompromisingly and adamantly anti-gun, including urging all women to disarm themselves, and supporting legislation to force their disarmament.

The incongruity and hypocrisy of this stance is simply stunning. How can such an organization claim to be "for women?" In my experience as a single woman, there is nothing more effective than a gun for protection.

In my experience as a married woman, when my husband can't be there to pull out a firearm to protect us and our home, he has made sure that I can do so. What could be more empowering and independent and equalizing for a woman than that?

And what could be more threatening to women than women like Sarah Brady, Barbara Boxer, Diane Feinstein, Carolyn McCarthy and Barbra Streisand who, while beating the drum for "women's rights" are attempting to disarm women as well as men, and leave them at the mercy of criminals? I still believe fervently in the original NOW position supporting the empowerment of women.

And I believe that the most effective thing any woman can do to empower herself is to acquire and learn to use a gun, and to become vocal and aggressive in defending gun rights and the Second Amendment.

When I look back on my mindset when I supported gun control, I see that I was naïve, idealistic and swayed by irrational, baseless propaganda, especially the absurd myth that, by disarming law-abiding citizens, society will be made safer.

There is absolutely no hard evidence to support this. Criminals by definition disregard laws, especially gun control laws. In Australia, which has disarmed its population, it is reported that violent home invasions have increased in some areas by 44%. Rapes and murders have also increased substantially.

In being confronted by the reality that government cannot and will not guarantee my personal safety, I am infinitely thankful, both as a woman and an American, that the Bill of Rights still guarantees my right to defend myself with a gun. Any true feminist must support this position. Any woman who claims to be a feminist, but who supports disarmament of law-abiding citizens is simply a dangerous hypocrite.
Katherine von Tour is presently working on a book comprised of interviews of women who support the Second Amendment; she is looking for women who have personal stories about having used a gun for self-defense, or who simply believe in the right to own and use a firearm. Anyone wishing to be interviewed for this project can contact her through GOA.
Project Exile Needs To Be Deported
by Larry Pratt
Executive Director
Gun Owners of America

A new cancer has begun to spread across this nation's land.

It began in the city of Richmond, Virginia, and will soon be spreading to Philadelphia and other cities as well.

Billed as part of the War against Crime, it is in fact another War against the Constitution.

As with many bad ideas, Project Exile started with good intentions.
Frustration over "bleeding heart" judges

The project was born out of the frustration with soft-on-crime judges in Richmond.

Rather than watch criminals get out of jail before the police finished their paperwork for the perpetrator's arrest, now the state turns street criminals over to federal courts for prosecution.

The process is quicker, and the sentences are longer than in city and state courts.

So, some may ask, what is wrong with that?

For starters, it is unconstitutional from top to bottom. There is no jurisdiction given to the federal government in Article I, Section 8 to intrude in the criminal justice system.

Indeed, prosecuting street crime-- murder, robbery, mugging, etc.-- is a function of state and local government. And the Tenth Amendment further prohibits federal involvement in activities that are not defined in Article I, Section 8.
Federal "crime control" imposing dumb ideas nationwide

Under Project Exile, a mother who has been accused of misdemeanor domestic violence for spanking her child could go to jail for five years if convicted in a federal court.

No doubt some may think that is an appropriate penalty for swatting a brat in a grocery store. But it is unconstitutional.

By encouraging anonymous tips with no questions asked, Project Exile also violates the 6th Amendment right to confront one's accusers.

The overtones of Nazi and Communist domestic spying for the secret police are inescapable in Project Exile.

By calling a widely disseminated phone number, one can anonymously turn someone in for prosecution.

One of the questions asked by the volunteer secret police is "See an illegal gun?" They are then told to call the anonymous tipster hotline. How does anyone know that a gun is illegal? Why is having a gun presumed to be suspect activity?

Project Exile breaks the law (the Constitution) in the name of the law.

The answer to pro-criminal judges is not to turn to Washington, but to put the heat on state legislators.

Either they select good judges and adequate laws to punish criminal behavior, or "We the People" should select new legislators.
Brady Gun Control Shows Its Ugly Face

The National Instant Background Check went on line this past November 30. It was, to say the least, a huge flop.

Despite five years to prepare for the deadline, the administration and the FBI simply weren't ready.

Delays, delays, and more delays marked the first few days under Part II of the Brady law.

Nationwide, customers left gun stores in disgust without purchasing their intended firearms. And in some cases, gun dealers were even stuck with special orders that they purchased, but couldn't transfer when endless delays caused the gun buyers to give up.

Most egregious were the several reported examples of official abuse, including:

    * FBI officials telling gun dealers that a buyer can only purchase one handgun in a month's period (in a state which does NOT have a one-gun-a-month law);

    * State officials admitting they use the background checks to deny people with unpaid traffic fines;

    * State officials requesting copies of the 4473 forms without any statutory authority to do so; and

    * FBI officials asking for gun serial numbers or for Social Security numbers before approving background checks.