Semi-Auto Ban Dies In The U.S. Senate

Great News!
— Feinstein semi-auto ban is dead, as Senate shoots down gun control bill

It got quite ugly today in the U.S. Senate.

First, the U.S. Senate voted to renew the Feinstein semi-auto ban. Then it voted for the McCain gun show ban. All this in addition to the “Lock Up Your Safety” requirement that Senators tacked on to the lawsuit protection bill last week.

You will remember that Gun Owners of America had warned senators last week to oppose S. 1805 if it was loaded down with gun control provisions. Thankfully, pro-gun senators heeded the call to kill the bill once it was turned into an anti-gun abomination. These senators were joined by their anti-gun counterparts who opposed the underlying bill because they still want to bankrupt the gun makers.

The final vote on defeating S. 1805 was 90-8.

You can see how your Senators voted on the control amendments. The following describes the critical provisions that were tacked on to the lawsuit protection bill before it was soundly defeated:

Lock Up Your Safety Requirement. Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI) offered this gun control amendment last week. It would require all handgun purchasers to pay an implicit “gun tax” by requiring them to buy a trigger lock when they purchase their handgun, irrespective of need. In addition, the amendment would create a broad and implicit cause of action against gun owners who fail to actually use the storage device to lock up their firearms. Of course, a locked gun then becomes unavailable for self-defense. The Senate passed the Kohl amendment 70-27.

Feinstein Semi-auto Ban. The Senate voted 52-47 in favor of the Feinstein semi-auto amendment. This amendment would extend the ban that was signed into law by President Clinton in 1994 — a ban which outlaws certain magazines and more than 180 types of semi-automatic firearms. Unless Congress authorizes such an extension, the ban will sunset in September 2004.

McCain Gun Show Ban. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) offered this amendment to outlaw the private sale of firearms at gun shows, unless the buyer agrees to submit to a background registration check. The language could effectively eliminate gun shows because every member of an organization sponsoring a gun show could be imprisoned if the organization fails to notify each and every “person who attends the special firearms event of the requirements [under the Brady Law].” Thus, if the person responsible for handing out “Brady pamphlets” took a break to go to the bathroom, everyone responsible for the event could be sent to prison. The McCain amendment passed 53-47.

Ammunition Restriction Study. This amendment, offered by Senators Bill Frist (R-TN) and Larry Craig (R-ID), passed the Senate 85-12. Among other things, the language of this provision would commission the Attorney General to determine whether the ban on so-called “cop killer” ammunition should include superior performance bullets in popular hunting calibers such as the 30-06.

The good news is that the attempt to renew the Feinstein semi-auto ban is dead… for now. Of course, there are still semi-auto ban bills pending in the House and Senate, and we can expect Feinstein to again offer her gun ban as an amendment to some other “must pass” bill.

The bad news is that the prospects for getting any kind of legislation to the President’s desk this year to protect gun makers is very slim.

Today’s vote makes it very difficult for a pro-gun senator to offer this bill as an amendment to another bill. After all, anti-gunners can demand that any provision to protect the gun industry now be offered as a “package” with the anti-gun amendments that were attached to the bill over the last couple of days.

It would have been far better for Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) to have brought this Senate bill to the floor in such a way that NO gun control amendments could have been offered. Doing so would have involved using parliamentary tactics that are somewhat difficult to detail in an e-mail alert. But the Senate has often used these tactics in the past. A vote to pass a “clean bill” could very well have succeeded, as almost 60 Senators had cosponsored the underlying legislation.

GOA wants to thank all of its members and activists for calling and e-mailing their Senators over the last several days. The outpouring of opposition from grassroots gun owners kept phones ringing off the hook in Senate offices, and to be sure, contributed to pulling several “fence sitters” to our side on the Feinstein amendment.

Again, you can see that vote along with all the others.


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