Update And Action: Anti-gun Crime Bill

Crime Bill Temporarily Stalled Thanks To Your Efforts
— Send the letter below opposing tomorrow’s House gun vote

(Wednesday, March 8, 2000) — Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) announced today that she will offer a non-binding resolution asking the House-Senate conference committee members to vote on the anti-gun crime bill by a certain date. Since she could offer the resolution as early as tomorrow, please look at the action item and letter below to help guide your response to the Congress.

On an encouraging note, GOA members should be proud of their work. In recent months, GOA supporters have been putting the heat on Republican Senator Orrin Hatch (UT), exposing his compromises and his support for gun control. And this past Friday, GOA mobilized Utah activists once again in an emergency alert, after the press reported that Senator Hatch would meet with the President.

Your pressure has been working.

Yesterday, the President met with Congressional leaders to discuss strategies for moving the anti-gun crime bill out of the conference committee. Senator Hatch was, in fact, one of the congressional delegates attending the meeting.

Even though Hatch has voted for the anti-gun crime bill twice — both this past May and July — he emerged from the meeting saying that he doesn’t want the bill to go forward in its current form. Why the transformation?

Well, President Clinton may have given a little insight to the answer during a question and answer period yesterday. The President stated that “there’s so much pressure on Senator Hatch not to call a [conference] meeting.”

Indeed, that “pressure” is spelled G-U-N-O-W-N-E-R-S. You guys have done a fantastic job. Sen. Hatch is under tremendous pressure to oppose the bill. But we can’t let up just yet.

Realize that the Senator, if he could, would like to pass some gun control. On the first day of debate on the crime bill last year (just days after the Columbine shooting), Sen. Hatch had this to say:

“The administration — and several of my colleagues — have called for more gun control. I plan to offer and support many of the proposals that have been discussed.” Source: Sen. Orrin Hatch, statement on the Senate floor, as printed in the Congressional Record, May 11, 1999.

Hatch then proceeded to vote for several anti-gun amendments, to vote for final passage of the bill and to vote to override Senator Bob Smith’s filibuster in July. Hatch then called a conference meeting together and was very hopeful that a crime bill (with gun control) could be sent to the President:

“We have an obligation to reconcile these firearm-related provisions in this conference. I hope my colleagues will put the gun issue in perspective and realize that these provisions, while controversial, are but a small part of the overall legislation.” Source: Sen. Orrin Hatch, before the Committee on the Judiciary, Juvenile Crime Conference, Aug. 5, 1999. See: http://www.senate.gov/~hatch/state104.html

Even yesterday, Rep. Henry Hyde stated that, “Everyone [including Sen. Hatch] agrees on the trigger locks, on the banning the large cartridge clips, on a juvenile Brady, on denying access to assault weapons to juveniles. Those things are very much in agreement.”

Senator Hatch followed that by saying “if we could put the gun show provision aside I think we’d have a bill. But we can’t get the other side to do that so far.”

Such statements indicate that the Senator is trying to please both sides. He will oppose the worst gun provision in the bill, but then support what he considers to be the milder gun restrictions. In other words, he’ll support “Gun Control Lite.”


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