2009 GOA’s State of the Union Update on Gun Rights

— Despite intense opposition, GOA members made giant strides in 2009

— Despite intense opposition, GOA members made giant strides in 2009

“The real gun lobby in Washington is the GOA.” — Senator Tom Coburn, August 14, 2009

Thursday, January 14, 2010

By the end of the month, President Barack Obama is expected to give the State of the Union address.  

Oh, what a year it’s been.

It was almost a year ago that President Obama took his oath of office.  But soon after he raised his right hand and promised to “preserve, protect and defend” the Constitution, Americans became engaged in the fight of their lives to safeguard their liberties.  The extremist Obama administration began pushing an anti-gun, socialistic agenda of the kind that most Americans have not seen in their lifetimes.

The President began placing gun-hating radicals in high positions of power — both in the executive department and in the courts — and he pushed a socialistic gun control agenda that kept gun owners busy throughout 2009.

Yet through it all, Gun Owners of America rallied the troops to oppose the President each and every step of the way.  Some battles we lost.  Others we won.  Some are still at a stalemate.  

Regardless, this 2009 review should encourage you.  It shows that even though every institution in Washington is slanted against us, we can slow down, stop or reverse the march towards gun control.

And, yes, Gun Owners of America has won some incredible victories.  In some cases, our organization fought these battles alone — although in truth, we haven’t been alone because we represent thousands upon thousands of active gun owners like you who are all determined to preserve our liberties.

In 2010, we need you to stay with us.  It takes less than five minutes to go to http://www.gunowners.org/ordergoamem.htm and sign up.  By doing so, you will be joining — in the words of Senator Tom Coburn — the “real gun lobby in Washington.”

The fight will be intense for another year — at least until the elections this November.  We need you to stand with us to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.

Until then, get ready for 2010 and be encouraged by what we accomplished together in 2009.

January – February

* President Obama nominates an anti-gun radical, Eric Holder, to the office of Attorney General.  GOA releases several alerts to mobilize the grassroots against Holder, and fights a lonely (uphill) battle against the nomination — as GOA is the only national gun rights organization lobbying against Holder.  

In the end, Holder is confirmed, but not without cost to the President.  The fight over Holder represents the first step in a long effort to expose the President’s vulnerabilities, as his Approval Index drops more than 10 points during his first two weeks in office.  Leading up to the inauguration, Barack Obama was practically deified by many around the country, but now he is increasingly seen as being unable to shoot straight in selecting cabinet members.  By the end of the year, the President’s support will have dropped well below 50 percent.

* In a raw power grab, congressional Democrats try to gain three more seats in Congress (one in the House and two in the Senate) by bringing up the DC Voting Rights Act for a vote.  Three more legislators from Washington, DC would, undoubtedly, mean three more ferocious anti-gunners in Congress.

But GOA works with Republican Senator John Ensign of Nevada to attach a provision to the bill repealing the DC gun ban.  The Ensign amendment passes in the Senate, causing the overall Voting Rights bill to be extremely distasteful to House Democrats.  The bill passes the Senate, but is pronounced D.O.A. in the House.

* GOA’s Larry Pratt appears on Fox Cable News’ Glenn Beck program to highlight the dangers of HR 45, a bill that would ban the possession of handguns unless gun owners registered themselves like sex offenders.

March – April

* Following Larry Pratt’s appearance on Fox’s Glenn Beck show, GOA begins its campaign against HR 45, mobilizing gun owners across the nation to inundate Representatives with thousands of postcards against the gun registration bill.  The legislation gains much fanfare in the pro-gun community, and in the Congress the bill remains locked up in committee.

* Even though many in the conservative movement think the passage of a socialized health care is inevitable, GOA issues its first of many alerts to warn gun owners about the dangers contained in the ObamaCare legislation.  

May – June

* The members of GOA once again fight a solo battle (among national groups) in the effort to repeal the Reagan-era gun ban in the National Parks.  Gun Owners rallies the troops, asking them to contact their Senators in favor of a repeal amendment authored by Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK).  The amendment passes the Senate and is signed into law by Memorial Day.  

Senator Coburn praises the efforts of GOA members, saying that:  “Gun Owners of America was the most consistent and loudest voice on Capitol Hill in support of the effort to repeal the National Park Service gun ban.”

* Gun Owners of America wages another lonely battle to rally gunnies against the President’s anti-gun Supreme Court pick, Sonia Sotomayor.  Even though she was ultimately confirmed, GOA’s grassroots activists were able to help accomplish a tremendous feat.  To wit, there were 31 Republican Senators who opposed Sotomayor — which represents the most overwhelming show of opposition from Senate Republicans against a Supreme Court nominee in at least a generation.

* Gun Owners of America works in Tennessee to enact the nation’s first Firearms Freedom Act, a law mandating that guns which are made (and stay) in the state are exempt from federal gun restrictions.  Tennessee’s law is the first of its kind to become law, even though Montana was the first state to take up the issue.  Tennessee’s law went into effect in June of last year; Montana’s law in October.

July – September

* Gun Owners of America engages in a grassroots campaign to lobby squishy Republican Senators who are trying to reach a compromise on ObamaCare.  GOA’s message is:  We don’t want any socialized health care that can be used to infringe upon the rights of gun owners.  This campaign would ultimately be successful as every Republican would soon announce their opposition to — and vote against — the health care bill.

* The media begins picking up on GOA’s campaign against ObamaCare.  The newspaper of record on Capitol Hill reports that, “The Gun Owners of America group, which boasts more than 300,000 members, has been warning its ranks that the proposed healthcare legislation would compile the information of Americans into a government database.” (The Hill, August 21, 2009.)

* Another media outlet reports that, “Gun Owners of America (GOA) has been alone on the national stage in warning of the dangers of centralized health care to the rights of gun owners.” (Examiner.com, September 3, 2009)

* GOA spearheads a victorious campaign to support the Amtrak amendment in the U.S. Senate.  This amendment, offered by Republican Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi, allows law-abiding gun owners to safely and legally transport firearms when they travel on Amtrak.  The amendment is successfully attached to the transportation bill by a filibuster-proof margin of 63-35 and is later signed into law (in December).

October – November

* Gun Owners of America mounts an all-out offensive to rally gun owners to oppose the ObamaCare bill in the U.S. House of Representatives.  The bill passes narrowly by five votes.

* Given the increased media attention of GOA’s position — and the narrow vote in the House — the White House launches a broadside against GOA’s arguments, claiming there are no gun rights threats in the health care bill.  GOA publicly responds to the White House’s erroneous claims right before the Thanksgiving break.

Ironically, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will affirm GOA’s position less than a month later by including an amendment in the Senate version of the bill supposedly designed to allay gun owners’ concerns.  While the Reid “fix” will help in some small ways, it still leaves the majority of GOA’s concerns unaddressed.

* Gun Owners of America and Gun Owners Foundation file an amicus brief in the United States Supreme Court in support of four Chicago residents who are seeking to invalidate a city ordinance prohibiting them from owning or possessing a handgun in their own home (McDonald v. Chicago).  Oral arguments before the Court are scheduled for March 2, 2010.


* The very liberal Slate magazine ruefully declares:  “Score one for the Gun Owners of America” (December 20, 2009).  Slate’s declaration recognizes the fact that Majority Leader Harry Reid has tried to appease gun owners by placing a pro-gun “fix” in the bill.  But as mentioned earlier, the “fix” is more of a first step, as it falls short of addressing all the problems GOA has with the bill.  

Senate Democrats later overcome a Republican filibuster with no votes to spare.  But despite this defeat, the ObamaCare legislation still has a long way to go.  GOA will continue to fight this bill — and all other attempts to enact gun control at the federal level — in 2010.

GOA will also be ramping up its efforts at the state level this year, most notably in leading the charge for Firearms Freedom and genuine (Alaska-style) carry reform.


The ability of GOA to continue putting pressure on politicians depends on loyal activists like you. GOA has been the national leader when it comes to opposing the gun control in the socialized health care bill.

But don’t just take our word for it… listen to what others have been saying.  The media has declared that Gun Owners of America “has been alone on the national stage” and has “scored” legislative victories for gun owners.  Senator David Vitter (R-LA) said that, “GOA has led the national gun rights organizations in actively opposing Mr. Holder’s nomination….”

Our philosophy is to fight gun control without compromising our rights.  That’s why Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) has called GOA the “only no-compromise gun lobby” in the nation’s capital.

We can only continue fighting for your rights as long as you continue to fight with us. You can stand with us today by joining GOA or renewing your existing membership at http://www.gunowners.org/ordergoamem.htm

Thank you for your support!