02/98 House Votes Scheduled
Will your Rep. vote to send seven more Schumers to Congress?
–House Votes coming soon, plus State news
by Gun Owners of America
8001 Forbes Place, Suite 102, Springfield, VA 22151
(February 3, 1998)
(Saturday, February 21, 1998) — Congress is soon expected to bring up two issues of which concerned gun owners should take note. Here’s a look at those two bills in brief:
Gun control and Puerto Rican statehood (H.R. 856, S. 472)
The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on March 4 for a bill allowing Puerto Rican statehood. If it becomes a state, Puerto Rico will get six or seven Representatives, as well as two Senators. What will this mean for you and why should you care?
Consider that Puerto Rico’s gun laws mirror that of New Jersey and New York City. One must have a license to buy and own a firearm. And criminal penalties exist for all kinds of firearms — even including blank pistols! If New York City and New Jersey can send people like Rep. Chuck Schumer and Sen. Frank Lautenberg to Congress, then what are the odds that an anti-gun state of Puerto Rico will also send militant, anti-gun lawmakers to Washington? You can bet on it!
Has Congress defended our gun rights so aggressively that there are seven or so votes to spare? Apparently, this not a gnawing question in lawmakers’ minds as some of the people who are pushing this bill should really know better. [And what about the bill’s chances of passing? Well, there is support at the highest levels for H.R. 856 — as both the House Speaker and the Minority Leader have cosponsored the bill. Eighty-seven Reps. have signed onto this bill, most of them being anti-gun Democrats.
ACTION: Call 1-800-522-6721 (or 202-225-3121) and ask your Representative to think good and hard before he supports a bill that could very well bring in seven more bosom buddies for Chuck Schumer and Sarah Brady to pal around with. Don’t take your Representative for granted. A lot of pro-gun Reps. are undecided on this issue.
Increased Mandatory Minimums for Gun Convictions (H.R. 424)
GOA alerted gun owners months ago to the concerns that H.R. 424 could empower anti-gun prosecutors to punish gun owners who use a gun in self-defense. The New Gun Week (in Aug. of 1997) reported how one Arizona jury was outraged to find that their slap on the wrist for a woman who accidentally shot a crook in the back resulted in a mandatory minimum sentence of three years — for the woman! Under H.R. 424, this MANDATORY MINIMUM sentence would increase to 20 years if the federal authorities were at all able to assume jurisdiction over the case. (For more information on the Arizona case, go to http://www.gunowners.org/a082697.htm at the GOA website.)
While truly violent criminals must be severely punished, tying a jury’s hands would appear to be the wrong option — especially when the rope to tie their hands comes from Washington, D.C. Potential jurors like yourselves are the best ones to decide between the real thug that deserves 20 years in jail, and the nervous store clerk who is prosecuted because she fired her gun just as the mugger had momentarily turned away from the defender, perhaps to flee, or perhaps to locate a weapon. The House is expected to vote on H.R. 424 as early as Wednesday.
“Notorious 29” Help Pass Anti-gun Clinton Picks
Gun Owners of America had alerted you earlier to impending votes for two of Clinton’s anti-gun nominations. Well, last week the Senate confirmed both choices. On February 10, the Senate voted 63-35 to confirm anti-gun Dr. David Satcher as the next Surgeon General. The next day, Senators handed liberal, judicial activist (Ms. Margaret Morrow) a seat on the federal bench by a vote of 67-28.
How They Voted. Every Democratic Senator voted for Dr. Satcher and Ms. Morrow. On the Republican side of the aisle, 29 Senators (listed below) cast anti-gun votes. One should note, that the Democrats could not have confirmed these two Clinton picks without the help of these Senate Republicans. If your Senator is listed below, please voice your displeasure with him.
Republicans voting for:
Judge Margaret Morrow Surgeon General David Satcher
Stevens (AK) Stevens (AK)
McCain (AZ) McCain (AZ)
Campbell (CO) Roth (DE)
Roth (DE) Mack (FL)
Mack (FL) Coverdell (GA)
Lugar (IN) Collins (ME)
Collins (ME) Snowe (ME)
Snowe (ME) Bond (MO)
Abraham (MI) Cochran (MS)
Cochran (MS) Domenici (NM)
Lott (MS) Chafee (RI)
Gregg (NH) Specter (PA)
Domenici (NM) Thurmond (SC)
Faircloth (NC) Frist (TN)
DeWine (OH) Thompson (TN)
Smith (OR) Bennett (UT)
Santorum (PA) Hatch (UT)
Chafee (RI) Jeffords (VT)
Frist (TN) Gorton (WA)
Grassroots Activism Works!
The disappointment of the confirmation votes notwithstanding, there can be no doubt that you guys are doing a fantastic job and getting results. Consider these recent developments, which can be directly attributed to your hard work:
* S.10: You may already be aware that you have forced three cosponsors to abandon Hatch’s Horror Bill. S. 10 has gone from “must pass” to “uh-oh” as a result. Stay tuned for another big announcement — it’s not official yet, but good things are happenning.
* New Mexico: The message you sent saying that physical attacks on pro-gun legislators would not be tolerated was certainly received. It must have been a nightmare for anti-gun waterboy Rep. James Taylor. The “while you’re at it, thank Rep. Lisa Lutz for her hard work” mention resulted in such an overwhelming show of support that Lutz’s office staff, while appreciative, almost couldn’t handle the volume of contacts.
* Utah: Grassroots activists in Utah, led by Dr. Sarah Thompson and the Utah Gun Rights Association, received help from the GOA alerts network to achieve total victory over SB 57. The sponsor, ultra-powerful Senate President Lane Beattie, withdrew his own bill due to massive pressure from gun owners. SB 57 would have crippled the state’s concealed carry pre-emption protection.
* Alabama: We lost the House vote on HB 32, the Alabama Instant Registration Check, but what would otherwise have been a slam-dunk for gun rights compromisers now faces a decidedly uncertain future in the state Senate. The Alabama media is tracking this one closely as grassroots power takes on institutional compromising in a true showdown over the meaning of gun control.
* Florida: Your activism has the Constitution Revision Commission running scared. One Commissioner reported receiving 1500 contacts in just a few days in opposition to CRC-167, which would gut the state’s pre-emption protection. The first vote gave the anti-gunners a majority, keeping the measure alive, but failed to garner the number of votes required at final passage to place CRC-167 on the ballot. Several Commissioners, no doubt concerned about how the winds were blowing, did not vote at all. GOA will be intensifying efforts to defeat CRC-167 in the coming days; please stay tuned.
* Virginia: Concentrated and steady pressure resulted in state Senate passage of SB 342, a bill to repeal the restaurant ban on concealed carry. The bill now goes to the House.