Senate Could Ban Private Sales, Restrict Gun Shows


Senate Could Soon Consider Ban on Private Sales, Restricting Gun Shows
— Please use the pre-written message below to help direct your comments to the Senate today!

(Wednesday, May 2, 2001) — What do education and gun shows have in common? Nothing really, but Senators could soon be voting to seriously restrict your Second Amendment rights as debate over the education bill, S. 1, is now shifting into high gear.

Democratic Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island has introduced legislation to severely restrict your ability to sell and buy firearms at gun shows, and he could offer this bill as an amendment to the education bill. Sen. Reed’s bill, S. 767, would not only ban the private sales of firearms at gun shows — if the buyer refuses to be registered through a background check — it could conceivably drive gun shows out of business altogether.

Considering that last year’s Republican-controlled Senate voted repeatedly in favor of gun control, there is no guarantee that the Reed bill would lose right now — especially since the Senate is evenly split between Republicans and Democrats.

Anti-gun McCain “compromise” in the works. Further complicating matters is the fact that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has teamed up with Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT), Al Gore’s vice-presidential running mate, to put together a gun control “compromise” that could be one of the most dangerous anti-gun bills introduced in the 107th Congress.

The McCain-Lieberman compromise also restricts your ability to buy and sell firearms, and because it is “bipartisan,” it could actually get more votes than the Reed provision. Gun owners should contact their Senators because McCain might very well try to add this legislation to the education bill.

While McCain has still not officially introduced his bill, there have been enough written and published statements from his office to determine what the particulars are. Gun owners should be concerned about this legislation because it would, in a nutshell:

* Ban private sales at gun shows unless the buyer submits to a registration background check;

* Discourage most gun shows from even occurring, as the liability for promoters would be immense — they could land in jail for very technical violations of procedure; and finally,

* Encourage authorities to arrest and convict honest gun owners who may inadvertently violate one of the many federal anti-gun laws, several of which carry severe penalties for committing mere technicalities.

For example, a law-abiding citizen who innocently drives by a school with a gun in his car could find himself being sent to prison as a result of McCain’s increased funding for more agents to crack down on “gun crimes.”

Or a parent who uses the family handgun to go target shooting with his 15-year old son (when the son does not have written permission to handle the firearm in his possession) could find himself facing severe criminal charges.

Or even worse, an individual who uses a gun for self-defense in a way that a court subsequently finds to be inappropriate could be sent to prison for a MANDATORY MINIMUM of five years.

ACTION: These examples are just the tip of the iceberg. And that is why your help is needed today. Taking on someone who is widely regarded as an American hero, especially by the media, is no easy task. But hero or not, if a U.S. Senator is responsible for legislation that would deliver a crushing blow to our rights as gun owners, we cannot sit still!

Every member of the U.S. Senate needs to hear from gun owners to let them know that we strongly oppose any so-called “compromise” gun legislation offered by Sen. McCain, and we want them to vigorously oppose this provision — or any other anti-gun proposal.

Please contact your Senators at once so we can stop this anti-gun McCain legislation!

You can call your Senators at 1-877-762-8762 (toll free) or at 202-224-3121. To identify your Senators, as well as to send a message via e-mail, see the Legislative Action Center at on the GOA website. Note: some Senators have recently stopped accepting e-mail. These Senators should be contacted via fax or phone.

—– Pre-written message —–

Dear Senator:

Please do not support any gun control “compromises” on the education bill, S. 1.

As you may know, Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and John McCain (R-AZ) may be offering competing versions of legislation restricting gun shows. I hope you will vote AGAINST both of these anti-gun proposals.

The so-called “loopholes” that these Senators want to close are actually freedoms that are guaranteed under the Bill of Rights. Both proposals would virtually ban the private sales of firearms at gun shows, unless a buyer submits to a registration background check.

It is outrageous that Senators in Washington, D.C., would even consider banning a constitutionally protected activity that law-abiding, consenting adults are peacefully engaging in.

Both of these gun proposals could also drive gun shows out of business, as the liability for promoters would be immense — they could land in jail for very technical violations of procedure.

Senator Reed’s proposal would track the provisions in his bill, S. 767. McCain’s language has yet to be introduced. Nevertheless, I hope you will oppose either proposal, or any other anti-gun provision that is offered to the education bill. Please let me know what you intend to do.