Reps. Paul, Bartlett Reintroduce Pro-gun Bills

As New Congress Convenes, Reps. Paul and Bartlett Reintroduce Pro-gun Bills

(Friday, January 22, 1999) — While the nation focuses its attention on the special proceedings within the U.S. Senate, a mountain of gun related legislation has already started to accumulate in both chambers.

In past years, at least 75% of the firearms legislation introduced in Congress has been anti-gun. So far, this year is proving to be no different. Nevertheless, two familiar faces are championing the rights of gun owners once again. Here are two bills that your Congressman needs to cosponsor:

* H.R. 347, the Citizen’s Self-Defense Act. With this bill, Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) reintroduces the very popular bill which garnered almost 80 cosponsors last year. This bill would protect citizens, who use a gun in self-defense, from anti-gun prosecutors. Bernie Goetz is, perhaps, the most famous example of someone who was acquitted for using his gun in self-defense, but still convicted for illegally carrying the firearm. H.R. 347 would protect citizens like Goetz by giving a recourse in court if they are wronged by anti-gun or politically motivated prosecutors.

* H.R. 407, Concealed Carry Reciprocity. This bill, introduced by Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX), will protect the right of citizens to carry their firearms into other states. 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 relatively few.

Paul’s bill has a clear advantage over other bills, such as the one introduced by Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL) last year. H.R. 407 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. This year, several states are considering adopting “Vermont-style” concealed carry legislation, where honest citizens can carry as a matter of “right” without getting a permit . . . without getting fingerprinted . . . in short, without getting permission from fickle bureaucrats. 1

Moreover, H.R. 407 applies to all lawful citizens and not just police officers, as is the case with another bill which has been introduced by Rep. Duke Cunningham (H.R. 218). Paul’s bill will allow any law-abiding citizen from a state recognizing the genuine right of citizens to carry (with or without a permit), to travel to another state and enjoy that same right of self-defense.

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.” FYI: Ron Paul has also introduced H.R. 220, which would prohibit the use of Social Security numbers by the federal government for purposes other than Social Security. This would block the FBI plans to use SSNs to register gun owners via Brady background checks.

ACTION: Please call your Representative (202-225-3121) and ask him to cosponsor the Paul and Bartlett bills– H.R. 407 and H.R. 347.

1 For more information on “Vermont-style” carry, see on the GOA web page.