-- VA Tech shootings now spurring the most far-reaching gun control in a decade
ACTION: Now that Congress is moving to restrict YOUR rights in response to the VA Tech shootings, please make sure to take the following three actions after you read this alert:
1. Urge your Representative to OPPOSE HR 297, the Dingell-McCarthy legislation that is designed to take the Brady Law to new heights, turning it into a law on steroids which could one day keep even YOU from buying a gun. (Contact information and a draft letter to your Representative are provided below.)
2. Gin up the e-mail alert systems in your state and forward this e-mail to as many gun owners as you can.
3. Please stand with Gun Owners of America -- at http://www.gunowners.org/ordergoamem.htm -- and help us to continue this fight, as right now, we are combating this latest onslaught ALONE in our nation's capital. GOA spokesmen spent all of last week doing radio and TV debates, interviews for newswires, and opinion editorials for newspapers. This week, we begin the battle in Congress to defeat legislation that could block millions of additional, honest gun owners from buying firearms.
The biggest gun battle of the year is about to erupt on Capitol Hill. Fueled by the recent Virginia Tech shootings, an odd coalition is forming to help expand the number of honest people who now won't be able to buy a gun.
The legislation has been introduced by none other than the Queen of Gun Control herself, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY). But she has picked up a key ally, as the bill (HR 297) is being pushed by a powerful gun group in Washington, DC.
On Friday, The Washington Post reported on the strange coalition. "With the Virginia Tech shootings resurrecting calls for tighter gun controls," the Post said, "the National Rifle Association has begun negotiations with senior Democrats over legislation to bolster the national background-check system."
Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), who was once on the NRA Board of Directors but resigned when he supported and voted for the Clinton semi-auto ban in 1994, is reported to be "leading talks with the powerful gun lobby in hopes of producing a deal [soon]," Democratic aides and lawmakers told the newspaper.
Rep. McCarthy admitted to the Post that her "crusades" for more gun control have made her voice "toxic" in gun circles. "So Dingell is handling negotiations with the NRA," the newspaper reported. "Dingell is also in talks with Sens. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) and Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner (Wis.), the senior Republican on the House Judiciary Committee."
Despite all this bad news, the Post article does go on to explain that there are some potential pitfalls.
First, you will remember that this is the bill you helped kill last year, when an avalanche of postcards was dumped on Congressional desks by thousands upon thousands of GOA activists. That's why the Post says there is one huge obstacle -- the members of Gun Owners of America.
"The NRA must balance its desire to respond to the worst mass shooting by a lone gunman in the nation's history with its competition with the more strident Gun Owners of America, which opposes any restriction on gun purchases," the Post reported.
SO WHAT DOES HR 297 DO?
Well, the rest of this alert will answer this question. This alert is long, but it is important to read it in its entirety. We need to "arm" ourselves with the facts so that we can keep pro-gun Congressmen from being duped into supporting a bill that, as of now, is being unanimously cosponsored by representatives sporting an "F-" rating by GOA.
HR 297 provides, in the form of grants, about $1 billion to the states to send more names to the FBI for inclusion in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System [NICS]. If you are thinking, "Oh, I’ve never committed a felony, so this bill won't affect me," then you had better think again. If this bill becomes law, you and your adult children will come closer to losing your gun rights than ever before.
Are you, or is anyone in your family, a veteran who has suffered from Post Traumatic Stress? If so, then you (and they) can probably kiss your gun rights goodbye. In 1999, the Department of Veterans Administration turned over 90,000 names of veterans to the FBI for inclusion into the NICS background check system. These military veterans -- who are some of the most honorable citizens in our society -- can no longer buy a gun. Why? What was their heinous "crime"?
Their "crime" was suffering from stress-related symptoms that often follow our decent men and women who have served their country overseas and fought the enemy in close combat. For all their patriotism, the Clinton administration deemed them as mentally "incompetent," sent their names for inclusion in the NICS system, and they are now prohibited from owning guns under 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(4).
HR 297 would make sure that more of these names are included in the NICS system.
But, of course, Representatives Dingell and McCarthy tell us that we need HR 297 to stop future Seung-Hui Chos from getting a gun and to prevent our nation from seeing another shooting like we had on Virginia Tech. Oh really?
Then why, after passing all of their gun control, do countries like Canada and Germany still have school shootings? Even the infamous schoolyard massacre which occurred in Ireland in 1997 took place in a country that, at that time, had far more stringent gun controls than we do.
Where has gun control made people safer? Certainly not in Washington, DC, nor in Great Britain, nor in any other place that has enacted a draconian gun ban.
IMPORTANT TALKING POINTS FOR CAPITOL HILL
Regarding Cho's evil actions last Monday at Virginia Tech, your Representative needs to understand three things:
1. If a criminal is a danger to himself and society, then he should not be on the street. If he is, then there's no law (or background check for that matter) that will stop him from getting a gun and acting out the evil that is in his heart. (Remember that Washington, DC and England have not stopped bad guys from getting guns!) So why wasn't Cho in the criminal justice system? Why was he allowed to intermix with other college students? The justice system frequently passes off thugs to psychologists who then let them slip through their fingers and back into society -- where they are free to rape, rob and murder.
2. Background checks DO NOT ULTIMATELY STOP criminals and mental wackos from getting guns. This means that people who are initially denied firearms at a gun store can still buy one illegally and commit murder if they are so inclined -- such as Benjamin Smith did in 1999 (when he left the gun store where he was denied a firearm, bought guns on the street, and then committed his racist rampage less than a week later).
NOTE: In the first five years that the Brady Law was in existence, there were reportedly only three illegal gun buyers who were sent to jail. That is why in 1997, a training manual produced by Handgun Control, Inc., guided its activists in how to answer a question regarding the low number of convictions under the Brady Law. The manual basically says, when you are asked why so few people are being sent to jail under Brady, just ignore the question and go on the attack. [See GOF's Gun Control Fact Sheet.]
3. Background checks threaten to prevent INNOCENT Americans like you from exercising your right to own a gun for self-defense. No doubt you are familiar with the countless number of times that the NICS system has erroneously blocked honest Americans from buying a gun, or have heard about the times that the NICS computer system has crashed for days at a time, thus preventing all sales nationwide -- and effectively shutting down every weekend gun show.
Perhaps the most pernicious way of denying the rights of law-abiding gun owners is to continuously add more and more gun owners' names onto the roles of prohibited persons. Clinton did this with many military veterans in 1999. And Congress did this in 1996, when Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) successfully pushed a gun ban for people who have committed very minor offenses that include pushing, shoving or merely yelling at a family member. Because of the Lautenberg gun ban, millions of otherwise law-abiding Americans can never again own guns for self-defense. HR 297 will make it easier for the FBI to find out who these people are and to deny firearms to them.
GOA has documented other problems with this bill in the past. In our January alert on HR 297 we pointed out how this bill will easily lend itself to bureaucratic "fishing expeditions" into your private records, including your financial, employment, and hospital records.
HR 297 takes us the wrong direction. The anti-gun Rep. Dingell is trying to sell the bill to the gun owning public as an improvement in the Brady Law. But don't be fooled! The best improvement would be to repeal the law and end the "gun free zones" that keep everyone defenseless and disarmed -- except for the bad guys.
CONTACT INFORMATION: You can visit the Gun Owners Legislative Action Center to send your Representative the pre-written e-mail message below. And, you can call your Representative toll-free at 1-877-762-8762.
----- PRE-WRITTEN LETTER -----
I am a Second Amendment supporter who strongly opposes HR 297 -- the NICS Improvement Act of 2007 -- and I strongly agree with Gun Owners of America that this bill should be defeated.
The minor improvements this bill makes to the Brady instant check are insignificant when compared to the outrageous invasions of our privacy it would permit.
Gun Owners of America has posted an analysis of HR 297 on its website, showing how the bill will target millions of law-abiding gun owners, including thousands of combat veterans who served our country bravely.
Supporters of this bill say we need it to stop future Seung-Hui Chos from getting a gun and to prevent our nation from seeing another shooting like the one at Virginia Tech. But honestly, what gun law has stopped bad guys from getting a gun? Not in Canada, where they recently had a school shooting. Certainly not in Washington, DC or in England!
I think we've got to stop treating criminals like medical patients, thus allowing them to slip through the cracks. If we are not going to incarcerate dangerous people, then all the gun laws in the world will never stop them from getting firearms.
Don't be misled into thinking that this is a bill that gun owners endorse. Most gun owners want Brady repealed, not "fixed." The law has done nothing to prevent criminals from obtaining guns, but it has violated the Second Amendment rights of millions of law-abiding Americans.