Incumbent Protection Back Again

Incumbent Protection Bill revived in the House

Having died in the Senate, the Incumbent Protection Bill has now been resurrected in the House. This new draft, like its predecessors in the House and the Senate, would severely regulate — or “chill” — the free speech of groups like GOA by limiting their ability to report on incumbents’ records during the election season. This, of course, would benefit the anti-gun media and incumbents, who would not be limited in their ability to publicize (and distort) their own records or viewpoints.

For example, on page 7 of this new bill (H.R. 3485), GOA “political activity” that would be heavily regulated (and prohibited in many cases) would be “any activity carried out for the purpose of influencing (in whole or in part) any election for Federal office, influencing the consideration or outcome of any Federal legislation or the issuance or outcome of any Federal regulation, or educating individuals about candidates . . . “

When debating the Senate bill, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) summarized this issue quite well:

The Supreme Court has made it abundantly clear . . . [that] spending is speech and the first amendment applies to individuals, groups, candidates and parties, as well as applying to the press. . . . [The press doesn’t] like it. They would like to have more power, not less. They would like to control our campaigns, control the discourse in the course of the campaign that goes on, and control the outcome with their editorial endorsement. But the first amendment doesn’t allow them to control the political process. It also doesn’t allow the Government, through some statute we passed here, to be put in charge of regulating either the quality or the quantity of political speech. (Source: Congressional Record, 2/26/98.)

ACTION: Gun owners should urge their Representatives to oppose any bill (like H.R. 3485) that would not only restrict your First Amendment rights, but the free speech rights of those groups (like GOA) that represent you. A vote on the House bill is scheduled for this week.

To contact Capitol Hill, call 202-225-3121, or use the toll free number at 1-800-522-6721. Individual office numbers, fax numbers, and e-mail addresses can be found at the GOA website.

GOA spokesmen counter gun grabbers in aftermath of Jonesboro shooting

From Fox Cable Network to MSNBC and other media outlets, spokesmen from Gun Owners of America have been called on today to counter Chuck Schumer and his fellow gun grabbers in the aftermath of yesterday’s tragic shooting in Jonesboro, Arkansas.

Not surprisingly, the shooting has led to the familiar cries for more gun control on today’s talk shows. As if reading off the same page, many pundits have trotted out the same old, worn-out argument that the “availability of guns” is the problem.

Of course, what these gun grabbers miss is that the young thugs broke several laws already (murder, no guns allowed within 1,000 feet of a school, possession with intent to commit a crime, etc.). Moreover, the anti-gun zealots completely ignore the biggest evidence that their “availability of guns causes crime” mentality is pure myth. Consider that in the 1950’s, when there were far fewer gun control laws on the books, there was not a problem with illegal guns in schools. There was no Brady law, no semi-auto ban, no Gun Free Zones Ban. Guns were more “available” in the 1950’s and yet there was no “gun problem” in the schools!

So what has changed? Well, the lax punishment of criminal juveniles and the imitation of T.V. violence are just two of many reasons. But clearly, guns are LESS AVAILABLE today than they were 40 years ago. As you contact your elected officials, make sure they don’t buy into this “availability of guns is the problem” myth.