05/09 Gun Owners Are On The Verge Of A Huge, Legislative Victory

— The next few days could see the end of the pernicious gun ban on NPS lands


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Get ready to pinch yourself.

After eight years of clashing with anti-gun bureaucrats and congressional leadership hostile to gun rights, we have never been closer to victory in the battle to repeal the National Park Service (NPS) gun ban. 

As you are by now undoubtedly aware, NPS land is subject to a blanket gun ban.  A Bush administration regulation partially reversing the ban was singlehandedly negated recently by an activist judge in Washington, D.C.

Gun Owners of America reported last week about an amendment to repeal the gun ban, sponsored by Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), that passed by an overwhelming 67-29 vote.  Senator Coburn attached his amendment to a fast-moving “must pass bill,” H.R. 627, dealing with credit card industry reform.

The Coburn amendment simply allows for state law — not unelected bureaucrats and activist judges — to govern the carrying of firearms on NPS land.

“Visitors to national parks also should have the right to defend themselves in accordance with the laws of their states,” Sen. Coburn said. 

The Senate wrapped up business on the underlying bill today, while the House passed its version of the bill several weeks ago.  The measure now heads back to the House to be “reconciled” with the Senate bill. 

The problem for anti-gun House leaders is that their priority bill, H.R. 627, now contains a pro-gun amendment.  Speaker Nancy Pelosi is forced to either delay the entire bill in order to try to strip the popular pro-gun amendment out later in the year, or allow the underlying bill to move through the House before Memorial Day with the Coburn amendment intact.

Sources close to the situation tell GOA that the Democrat leadership, which has opposed the NPS gun ban repeal at every turn, may have finally run out of options.  The enormous outpouring of grassroots activism from GOA supporters may have at last convinced congressional leaders that if they bury this measure yet again, the repercussions will reverberate into the next election.

President Obama wants to sign this credit card legislation before Memorial Day.  So it is possible that there will be just one more vote on this issue in the House this week.  As of today, it appears the leadership plans to bring the underlying bill to the floor in two pieces for two separate votes — one on the main bill and one on the Coburn amendment. 

If both pieces pass the House, then they can be combined together as one bill and sent directly to the President without going to a House-Senate conference committee.  (There would be no need to iron out differences in conference committee since the Senate would have already passed the exact same version of the bill.) 

Bottom line:  we just need to make certain that the gun ban repeal amendment passes in the House, after which it will be joined back up with the main bill and signed into law.  That’s why the action item below — asking you to urge your Representative to vote for repealing the NPS gun ban — is so crucial.

This could be the last strike in a long battle, but even on the cusp of winning GOA has also learned that some — supposedly on the pro-gun side — are willing to compromise away this victory.  Please be absolutely sure to take the action below, and then forward this email to your pro-gun friends. 

And remember, the progress we have made on this issue would not be possible without your support.  GOA has been the lone voice fighting for this gun ban repeal on Capitol Hill.

Action: Please use the Take Action feature to contact your Representative and urge that the Coburn amendment remain attached to H.R. 627.  The vote is scheduled to occur this week!

—– Pre-written letter —–

Dear Representative,

Last week, an amendment to repeal the National Park Service (NPS) gun ban passed overwhelmingly in the Senate by a vote of 67-29 as part of the credit card reform bill.

NPS land is subject to a blanket gun ban.  Although a Bush administration regulation partially reversed the ban, that reversal was singlehandedly negated by an activist judge in Washington, D.C.

The pro-gun amendment, sponsored by Sen. Tom Coburn, prevents unelected bureaucrats and activist judges from stripping me of my Second Amendment rights on NPS land.

It appears that the leadership plans to bring the underlying bill to the floor in two pieces for two separate votes — one on the main bill and one on the Coburn amendment.

I urge you to stand up for my Second Amendment rights and to support the effort to keep the Coburn amendment attached to the underlying bill, H.R. 627. 

Gun Owners of America will score this vote in its congressional rating, and will inform me of how you vote.