U.S. Senate Set To Vote On Gun Control

U.S. Senate Set To Vote On Gun Control
— Ask your Senator to oppose Clinton’s anti-gun agenda

(Friday, May 7, 1999)– It’s been a busy week. You guys did an outstanding job directing attention upon the Second Amendment compromises occurring in Austin, Texas. Gov. George Bush’s office stated they received hundreds upon hundreds of phone calls and other contacts from concerned gun owners. This sends a tremendous message to a man who aspires to the presidency in the year 2000.

But now it’s time to shift your focus from Texas to Washington, D.C. As you well know, the Colorado tragedy has spawned a feeding frenzy among the political left, and next week, gun control is going to be the topic in the United States Senate. Debate over a juvenile crime bill (S. 254) is scheduled to begin on Tuesday. Your hard work last year has resulted in the virtual sanitizing of this crime bill. But the greatest danger now is that many Senators are planning to offer anti-gun amendments– many of them containing the President’s proposals.

Legislative contacts in the Senate have told GOA that some Republicans are wilting. Some feel that they have to vote for something; that they have to support some kind of gun control. So it is important that you start contacting your Senators right away.

According to legislative and media sources on Capitol Hill, four issues where Republican Senators could “buckle under” are the following: imposing instant “registration” checks for private sales at gun shows, banning the imports of large-capacity magazines, banning young adults from possessing semi-autos, and holding parents responsible for crimes that a minor commits with their firearm.

To make matters worse, former NRA first Vice President Neal Knox reported in the Shotgun News (6/1/99) that the NRA might be willing to consider extending the instant check to private sales at gun shows. Knox writes that at the recent NRA convention in Denver:

[NRA Executive Vice President Wayne] LaPierre clearly offered a compromise with President Clinton’s campaign to require ‘Instant Checks’ on private sales at gun shows. He said: ‘We will consider instant checks at gun shows when, and only when, this Administration stops demanding new gun taxes and stops illegally compiling the records of millions of lawful gun buyers.’

President Charlton Heston went even further this morning on ABC This Week by saying he was ‘in favor’ of gun show background checks if the government does not keep records on buyers.

If this is the NRA’s official position, it will make it very difficult for Senators to see that background checks are ALWAYS a constitutional infringement, and to see that such checks will ALWAYS give officials an opportunity to register gun buyers– regardless of how many “protections” are printed in the law.

[Note: USA Today also reported Heston’s position on the young adult gun ban (one of the amendments mentioned above that Republicans might help pass). The paper reported today (5/7/99) that “NRA President Charlton Heston says he supports a ban on juvenile possession of semiautomatic assault weapons”– or in other words, a ban on any semi-auto Clinton deems is politically incorrect.]

Senate staffers have told GOA that Senators not only need to hear opposition to gun control from the grassroots, but that Senators need to hear what they can vote IN FAVOR of– what they can support. GOA has responded in the following manner:

Support a repeal of the School Zones Gun Ban. This law, prohibiting the possession of a firearm within 1,000 feet of a school, has not stopped kids from shooting up schools. But it does threaten to penalize decent Americans like Joel Myrick of Pearl, Mississippi who used his firearm to subdue a gunman in 1997. Good people should not have to face the prospects of felony charges for defending the lives of others. Consider how absurd such a ban would be if we applied it to cars. More Americans die in cars than by guns every year. And just recently, a nut in California intentionally ran over several children on a play ground– killing two. Should we now ban cars within 1,000 feet of a schoolyard? Why are these suggestions absurd when applied to cars, but not to guns?

HERE’S WHAT TO DO: Please contact your two Senators (202-224-3121; see the GOA website at http://www.gunowners.org/index.html#leg for fax and e-mail info). Ask them to vote against any and all infringements of the Second Amendment– no matter how “minor” the infringement may appear on its face. Ask them to support a repeal of the Gun Free Zones law which punishes law-abiding citizens for defending themselves– and which does nothing to keep guns out of the “wrong hands.”

P.S. There is also a proposal being considered in some Senate offices that would halt the march toward more gun control by requiring a two-thirds supermajority vote in the U.S. Senate before any gun control measure can be considered. It is unclear at this time whether such a proposal has enough votes to pass. But such a requirement would permanently destroy the effectiveness of HCI in the Congress’ most powerful chamber. Moreover, this requirement would have ample precedent in the U.S. Senate, since currently spending caps can be exceeded only if a Senate supermajority allows it to happen. This should also pass Constitutional muster under Article I, Section 5. While your Senator might not have heard about this proposal yet, you can make him or her favorably predisposed to it by mentioning your support of the idea.

P.P.S. Handgun Control, Inc. is also asking its members to call the Senate. It’s important that you show your Senators that there are more of the good guys who support the Constitution.