Flurry Of Gun-related Action In Congress

Great Work in Getting More than 60 Reps. on Hostettler Letters!
— Flurry of activity continues in Congress, including Project Exile bill

(Monday, April 10, 2000) — GOA activists and allied groups deserve congratulations for their tremendous efforts last week in getting more than 60 Representatives to stand up against the President’s latest assault on the 2nd Amendment.

You will remember that Rep. John Hostettler (R-IN) has been spearheading the effort. He is working to put pro-gun language in this year’s budget to stop the Clinton administration from imposing backdoor gun control upon a good portion of the gun industry through its recent deal with Smith & Wesson. Specifically, Hostettler is targeting the HUD and Treasury budget subcommittees.

When we last contacted you, only 16 Congressmen had signed the letters that Hostettler was circulating. But your calls, faxes and e-mails have made a huge difference! Hostettler’s office commented that GOA activists have “done a great job,” and noted that several Capitol Hill offices have been swamped with calls, emails and faxes.

In fact, several offices that have been hounded by grassroots contacts have asked Hostettler to “call off the dogs.” Moreover, some offices that initially were not interested in signing the letter, took a renewed look at Hostettler’s letters once they were deluged with phone calls.

The bottom line is that you guys were terrific once again!

Hostettler’s office is currently rounding up signatures from the 61 members who have committed to signing the letter. They include Republicans, Democrats and one Independent:

Aderholt (R-AL) Baker (R-LA) Barr (R-GA)
Bartlett (R-MD) Buyer (R-IN) Chenoweth (R-ID)
Coburn (R-OK) Combest (R-TX) Cook (R-UT)
Cubin (R-WY) Danner (D-MO) Deal (R-GA)
DeMint (R-SC) Dickey (R-AR) Doolittle (R-CA)
Duncan (R-TN) English (R-PA) Gibbons (R-NV)
Goode (I-VA) G.Green (D-TX) Hall (D-TX)
Hansen (R-UT) Hayworth (R-AZ) Hilleary (R-TN)
Hostettler (R-IN) Hunter (R-CA) S. Johnson (R-TX)
W. Jones (R-NC) Largent (R-OK) R. Lewis (R-KY)
K. Lucas (D-KY) McIntosh (R-IN) Ney (R-OH)
Norwood (R-GA) Packard (R-CA) Paul (R-TX)
Pease (R-IN) Pickett (D-VA) Pitts (R-PA)
Rahall (D-WV) Riley (R-AL) Rohrabacher (R-CA)
Ryun (R-KS) Sanford (R-SC) Schaffer (R-CO)
Simpson (R-ID) L. Smith (R-TX) Souder (R-IN)
Stearns (R-FL) Stenholm (D-TX) Stump (R-AZ)
C. Taylor (R-NC) G. Taylor (D-MS) Tiahrt (R-KS)
Vitter (R-LA) Wamp (R-TN) D. Weldon (R-FL)
Whitfield (R-KY) Wicker (R-MS) Wise (D-WV)
D. Young (R-AK)

House Vote Expected As Early As Tomorrow

The House is expected to vote soon on H.R. 4051, a “Project Exile” type of bill introduced by Rep. Bill McCollum (R-FL). Project Exile would be better named “zero tolerance” for unconstitutional gun laws.

The bill would create a $100 million grant program over five years. In order to be eligible for grants under the bill’s provisions, a state must show that it has enacted a statute imposing mandatory minimum sentences for certain gun-related offenses — or has ceded its criminal jurisdiction to the federal government, thus allowing the feds to prosecute certain gun crimes in the state.

Obviously, the threshold question is whether the federal government should expand its role and use federal money to coerce states into enacting congressionally dictated legislation with respect to purely local matters. Congress has frequently tried to force the states into complying with its will in areas that — according to the Bill of Rights — should be matters left to the states. All of this despite the clear language of the 10th Amendment.

Gun owners should not want to give the federal government a greater role in punishing street crime — whether directly or indirectly (through controlling the purse strings). After all, the position of the Founding Fathers was that violent crime should be prosecuted at the state and local levels, without interference from the federal government. Federal money always leads to federal control — a dangerous practice, considering the federal government’s recent track record on gun enforcement.

H.R. 4051 is expected to pass. But gun owners wishing to go on record and let their Representatives know they oppose the bill, should call the toll-free number at the Capitol: 1-888-449-3511 (toll-free) or 202-225-3121 (House switchboard). Or use the new GOA Legislative Action Center at http://www.gunowners.org/activism.htm (more about this later).

Those wishing to see a more detailed analysis of H.R. 4051 can go to http://www.gunowners.org/106anatb.htm on the GOA website. The impact of this legislation would be to stigmatize gun owners and to create an even more labyrinthine maze of laws in which a law-abiding gun owner could, for relatively innocuous conduct, find himself subject to a long, mandatory minimum prison sentence — a term that could not be altered by a judge or jury.

More Gun News

Last Thursday, the Senate attached a non-binding gun amendment to the budget bill for 2001. The Senate voted 53-47 in favor of an amendment offered by Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) — a non-binding provision that asks the House-Senate conferees to get the juvenile anti-gun bill to the floor of each house by April 20.

Four Republicans switched their votes — from a similar vote on March 2 — and voted anti-gun, thus giving the gun grabbers in the Senate the advantage last week.

They were Senators DeWine (OH), Lugar (IN), Smith (OR), and Warner (VA). Also, a fifth Republican Senator who was absent during the earlier March vote cast his lot for gun control last Thursday. He was Senator John McCain (AZ). [Note: the Smith or Oregon (above) who voted for gun control should NOT be confused with the pro-gun Senator Bob Smith of New Hampshire.]

The vote can be viewed at http://congress.nw.dc.us/gunowners/scorecard.html [click on U.S. Senate: 2000 (106-2)].

Support the Second Amendment Sisters

You’ve heard of the Million Mothers March coming to Washington, DC on Sunday May 14. Well, so are the Second Amendment Sisters. They oppose the Mommies for victim disarmament. GOA urges its members to rally with the Second Amendment Sisters.

New Online Activism Tools Available

In response to numerous requests from activists, and in keeping with a commitment to using the Internet to further the cause of gun rights, GOA has established its Legislative Action Center.

By using this tool, via the GOA website, activists can:

* Look up elected officials on both the Congressional and state level. Complete contact information is given. The program matches your zipcode to legislative districts.

* Contact those legislators immediately via e-mail or fax — or print out a conventional letter. Pre-written text is available. The system interacts with the actual House and Senate e-mail servers. Even if your legislator does not maintain a “public” e-mail address, you can send him or her a message that will identify you as a constituent and guarantee that your voice is heard.

* Track legislation.

* Instantly determine if your Congressman has cosponsored any pro-gun bills — and send a message immediately if needed, using our text or yours.

* View Congressional gun vote records, either for the Congress as a whole or for your own legislators.

* Learn the basics of the legislative process.

* Utilize the Election Guide to identify candidates and their contact information, as well as important dates regarding primaries and voter registration.

* Find the e-mail addresses for media outlets (newspapers, TV stations) in all 50 states.

* And much more. It has to be seen to be appreciated.

Please bookmark the following web address or add it to your favorites: