Gun Owners Are Doing Quite A Job On Capitol Hill

Gun Owners Are Doing Quite A Job On Capitol Hill!

Grassroots Pressure Encourages Nine Congressmen to Switch Votes
— Gun owners enjoy terrific victory, narrow defeat

(June 29, 2000) — First, gun owners came within an inch of gutting the Clinton & Wesson agreement on Monday night. (See report and action item below) Second, after getting bombarded by thousands of angry activists, Representatives in the House voted on Wednesday morning to leave gun rights activists and groups like Gun Owners of America alone.

Three Votes Would Have Made the Difference on Hostettler Provision

Under increasing pressure from the grassroots, nine Congressmen switched their earlier positions and cast their votes with Rep. John Hostettler (R-IN). His amendment would have prevented the Justice Department from enforcing any part of the Clinton & Wesson agreement, thus effectively barring the Clinton-Gore administration from unilaterally imposing gun control upon gun makers, gun dealers and gun buyers.

Unfortunately, the Hostettler amendment narrowly failed by a vote of 201-196, partly due to the fact that many pro-gun Congressmen were still out of town and not present for the vote. (Votes taken on Monday will typically see many Representatives absent from the House chambers.) The vote can be found at under House (106-2).

Despite the narrow loss, Hostettler’s office has told GOA that the Congressman plans to offer his amendment again. The next vehicle will be the Treasury-Postal appropriations bill which will probably come to the floor after the July 4th recess.

ACTION: Please contact your Representative and ask him to support the Hostettler amendment to the Treasury-Postal bill (which still does not have a number). Your good work has already persuaded nine Reps. to switch their votes. Keep applying the pressure! You can contact your Rep. toll-free at 1-888-449-3511, or you can visit him over the holidays while he is back in the district. For faxing or emailing, see the Legislative Action Center at on the GOA website.

Target List: Several Reps. Need to Feel More “Heat”

There are slightly more than 50 Congressmen in particular that need to be taken to the woodshed for casting anti-gun votes. Most of the NO votes against Hostettler’s amendment were anti-gun Democrats. But many NO votes were cast by compromising Republicans and supposedly pro-gun Democrats.

Partial target list that includes 53 (of the 201) Representatives who cast anti-gun votes AGAINST Hostettler on Monday. These Reps. especially need to hear from you:

Bereuter (NE)      Houghton (NY)   Pryce (OH)
Bilbray (CA)       Hyde (IL)       Quinn (NY)
Boehlert (NY)      Isakson (GA)    Ramstad (MN)
Castle (DE)        Johnson (CT)    Rogan (CA)
Davis (VA)         Kelly (NY)      Ros-Lehtinen (FL)
Diaz-Balart (FL)   King (NY)       Roukema (NJ)
Dunn (WA)          Kuykendall (CA) Saxton (NJ)
Ehlers (MI)        LaTourette (OH) Shaw (FL)
Foley (FL)         Leach (IA)      Shays (CT)
Fossella (NY)      LoBiondo (NJ)   Simpson (ID)
Franks (NJ)        McHugh (NY)     Smith (NJ)
Frelinghuysen (NJ) McInnis (CO)    Stupak (MI)
Gallegly (CA)      Miller (FL)     Sweeney (NY)
Ganske (IA)        Northup (KY)    Tancredo (CO)
Gilchrest (MD)     Oberstar (MN)   Upton (MI)
Gilman (NY)        Obey (WI)       Walsh (NY)
Greenwood (PA)     Oxley  (OH)     Weller (IL)
Horn (CA)          Porter (IL)

Target list (Continued)

Dishonorable mention goes to the Crime Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Bill McCollum (R-FL), who missed the Hostettler vote on Monday. Quite frankly, it was probably a good thing he missed it, since he voted against Hostettler last week, thus helping to kill his amendment. (That particular amendment sought to keep the Department of HUD from enforcing the Smith & Wesson agreement.)

To ensure Rep. McCollum does not continue voting anti-gun, GOA encourages ALL Florida gun owners to contact him over the holidays. Since Rep. McCollum is running for Senate, he would certainly appreciate hearing from ALL Florida gun owners at 202-225-2176.

House Retreats on Forcing Lobby Groups to Hand Over Activists’ Names

On Wednesday morning, gun owners dodged a bullet when the House backed away from its plan to force lobby groups like GOA to disclose many, if not all, of its members’ names. GOA alerted activists on Monday about the impending vote on H.R. 4717. Subsequently, House members and leaders came under intense grassroots pressure, and thus, formulated a substitute bill (H.R. 4762) that only covered so-called 527 organizations.

Grassroots activists get the credit for shooting down the original bill. “We just couldn’t get it [passed],” said Rep. Amo Houghton, a New York Republican who wrote the bill. “It had too many people with too many pieces that they hated.”

Make no mistake. Even the substitute bill sacrifices constitutional freedoms on the altar of campaign finance reform. H.R. 4762 passed easily since it only covered those political organizations that are formed under Section 527 of the tax code. (There are relatively few 527s in existence.) The 527s are political organizations that primarily affect elections by running issue ads and making political expenditures without advocating the defeat or election of a particular candidate.

H.R. 4762 quickly moved to the Senate where it passed this morning on a 92-6 vote. The bill would force 527s to disclose any contributor who gives more than $200, and to report any expenditure of more than $500. Gun Owners of America will not be affected by the legislation as passed by the House and Senate.