Sen. Smith Puts “Hold” On S.10

Pro-gun Senator Bob Smith Puts Hold on Hatch’s Horror Bill!
— More news reports praise GOA members for their hard work

Senator Bob Smith (R-NH) puts “hold” on anti-gun crime bill (S. 10)

 Your hard work has paid off! Many of you have sent postcards, telegrams, faxes and e-mails to Senator Bob Smith, asking him to put a hold on S. 10. Last Friday, Senator Smith heeded the call and “stepped up to the plate” in defense of gun owners’ rights.

In a letter to Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Sen. Smith said that he has told Majority Leader Lott of his objection “to any unanimous consent agreement” with respect to S. 10. In sum, this parliamentary procedure by Sen. Smith makes it very difficult for S. 10 to come up for a vote unless there are changes made to the bill — changes that will resolve his concerns with the bill.

In his February 27 letter, Sen. Smith says, “My concerns about S. 10 relate primarily to the Second Amendment implications of the provisions of the bill involving the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). I would be happy to work with you to resolve my concerns about the bill.”

More news media recognizing GOA & its members for their diligent efforts on S 10

As GOA members turn up the heat, more and more news media are taking notice. Last week, we reprinted for you the positive quote from U.S. News & World Report. This week, the D.C.-based Legal Times (3/2/98) did an in-depth story on the opposition to S. 10. Here’s what the article had to say about your involvement in the battle:

. . . Pro-gun groups have also been active against [S. 10]. Gun Owners of America, the Springfield, VA.-based group whose unwavering opposition to gun ownership restriction makes the National Rifle Association look like a liberal interest group, has repeatedly hammered the legislation and taken credit for persuading at least three Republican senators of the bill’s approximately two dozen cosponsors to withdraw their support.

The bill’s section on juvenile gangs, the gun owners’ group says, contains provisions that would subject a gun dealer to the treble damage penalties of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act if the dealer committed two or more federal gun law violations.

“Gun dealers tell us this bill could put them out of a job,” says Erich Pratt, the group’s legislative director and son of founder [sic] Larry Pratt.

Using a sophisticated Web site, the Gun Owners of America has mounted a massive lobbying campaign to mobilize its 200,000 members, focusing on conservative Republicans who were among the bill’s Senate co-sponsors.

“We got e-mails, letters, and calls,” says Mark Baker, the legislative director for Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.), a diehard gun supporter. “At town meetings, people would be saying: “What the hell are you doing on that S. 10 anyway?”

The result: Burns and two Republican colleagues — Colorado’s Wayne Allard and New Hampshire’s Robert Smith — withdrew their names from the bill. “We’re pretty pleased about this,” says Pratt. “As you know, jumping off the ship is not a common occurrence on the Hill.” . . .

One more Senator jumps ship!

GOA prepped you in an earlier alert to the possibility that another Senator would remove his name as a cosponsor of S. 10. Well, Senator Craig Thomas (R-WY) became the fourth Senator to jump off of S. 10. In a letter (dated February 26) to Senate Judiciary Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Sen. Thomas stated that, “In its current state, not enough safeguards have been written into the bill to protect legal gun users from frivolous civil litigation and from the forfeiture of firearms suspected of involvement in a felony or gun trafficking. . . . I cannot lend my name to the bill in this form.”