Incumbent Protection Bill Nearing Showdown

“Campaign finance reform is long overdue,” said Michael D. Barnes, President of the Brady Campaign and a former Congressman from Maryland. “The passage of Shays-Meehan is a victory for democracy…. Perhaps now, the gun lobby’s stranglehold on Congress will be broken.”
— U.S. Newswire, February 14, 2002

(Thursday, March 14, 2002) — Look who’s supporting the Incumbent Protection Bill these days. Sarah Brady’s organization, formerly known as Handgun Control, Inc., recently hailed the passage of the anti-gun bill in the House.

Michael Barnes, the president of the Brady Campaign, basically admitted that his group can’t compete with pro-Second Amendment organizations. So he wants to “level the playing field” by silencing the voice of his opponents.

“Even though [Shays-Meehan] will impact our election activities as well,” Barnes says, the bill will reduce even more “the gun lobby’s ability to obstruct the progress of sensible gun laws. Shays-Meehan will level the playing field so that our lawmakers are no longer beholden to special interest groups like the NRA.”

Of course, it’s not a level playing field that Barnes is after. Anti-gun groups like the Brady Campaign get more free publicity from the media than they could ever afford to buy. So Barnes knows good and well that by squelching the First Amendment freedoms of pro-gun organizations, his group will have a great advantage.

This is not a surprising attitude from a man who makes his living trying to restrict other freedoms — such as the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms — guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.

Barnes’ attitude is somewhat reminiscent of the ole’ Federalists, who passed the Sedition Act of 1798 as a means of punishing their opponents who were critical of the John Adams administration. Instead of giving the Federalists an advantage, however, the law enraged people so much that they went to the polls and defeated members of that party in the election of 1800. The act was one of the main things that drove the Federalist Party into extinction.

Ignoring the lessons of history, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) is committed to passing the bill that will muzzle the First Amendment rights of groups like Gun Owners of America. As a result, the Senate could begin voting on the Shays-Meehan bill by this Friday (tomorrow).

That’s why it is so important that you contact your Senators right now. More than likely, you have already contacted them. Please contact them again. Urge your friends and family to contact their Senators as well.

CONTACT INFORMATION: You can call your Senators at 202-224-3121 or toll-free at 1-877-762-8762. To identify your Senators, as well as to send a message via e-mail, see the Legislative Action Center at on the GOA website.


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