Update: Cloture Vote On S. 254
Battle Lines Forming in the Senate
— Senator Bob Smith forces colleagues to decide between God or gun control
(Tuesday, July 27, 1999) — What does one do when outgunned by the other side? Call for Divine help of course.
Senator Bob Smith (I-NH), who is fighting a lonely battle in the U.S. Senate, has done just that.
It still appears that on this Wednesday, Smith will force a showdown between two different approaches to fighting crime: one that emphasizes the role of the Ten Commandments and prayer (the House crime bill) and one that imposes even more gun control (the Gore-Lautenberg version passed in the Senate).
Smith’s parliamentary maneuvering resulted in yesterday’s expected vote being cancelled– thus leaving the ultimate showdown for later this week.
On Wednesday, the Senate will vote on whether to shut down Smith’s filibuster of a “substitute” embodying the language of the Senate anti-gun crime bill (S. 254).
If Senators Trent Lott (R-MS) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) are successful in overcoming Smith, then they will replace the House crime bill (H.R. 1501) with the anti-gun Senate version.
IT IS CRITICAL THAT SENATORS VOTE IN FAVOR OF THE SMITH FILIBUSTER.
The Smith filibuster is the ONLY thing keeping the anti-gun S. 254 language from advancing in the legislative process.
Senators Lott and Hatch want to take the gun control language in S. 254 and substitute it into the House crime bill. The House bill contains language reaffirming the role of the Ten Commandments and prayer in public schools; prohibiting the release of dangerous criminals solely on the basis of prison conditions; and recognizing the role of media violence, the impact of certain music, and lack of school discipline in tragedies such as the one which occurred at Columbine.
The House bill is not a perfect bill, but one can see the interesting dilemma that Senator Smith has put his Senate colleagues into.
As Smith is framing it, Senators must decide between choosing morality (in the House bill) or choosing a Senate bill that contains the Al Gore/Frank Lautenberg gun control provisions– including one that would almost certainly put gun shows out of business (see Talking Point #4 below).
As far as Second Amendment rights are concerned, the ultimate yardstick is to STOP S. 254 AND THE “SENATE SUBSTITUTE” THAT EMBODIES IT!!! Thus, the message gun owners can relay to their Senators is that for every crime bill vote that arises in the next couple of weeks, they should always vote against the anti-gun Senate language.
HERE’S WHAT TO DO:
* Please call both of your Senators toll-free at 1-888-449-3511. You can also call them using the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121. Ask your Senators to vote in support of the Smith filibuster and to vote AGAINST the S. 254 language at every point along the way.
* Please forward this message to as many interested people as you can.
* Many of you have already sent numerous faxes and e-mails to your Senators, and we thank you for that. But at this late date, it is imperative that we flood their offices with phone calls.
TALKING POINTS (Gun control in the Senate bill, S. 254):
1. Young adult gun ban. This ban, introduced by Senator John Ashcroft (R-MO), could severely punish parents who allow their kids to even touch a so-called semi-automatic “assault weapon.” While the amendment allows for certain exemptions, there are some imponderable questions which NO senator could answer, but which a parent would have to answer in order to avoid incarceration.
For example: What is a “semiautomatic assault weapon”? The definition, plus exemptions, takes up six pages of fine print in the U.S. Code. While a gun manufacturer will pay handsome salaries to attorneys to decipher such convoluted definitions, it will be considerably harder for a parent to determine which of his family firearms are so-called assault weapons, and suspect under this provision.
2. Extending the ban on moderate-capacity magazines. This provision, introduced by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), would ban the importation of any magazine that can hold over 10 rounds– no matter when the magazine was manufactured.
3. Hatch-Kohl “Lock-up your safety” requirements. Senators Orrin Hatch (R) and Herb Kohl (D) introduced this amendment which forces gun sellers to include trigger locks with every handgun sold.
4. Banning private sales of firearms at gun shows. This amendment offered by Sen. Lautenberg of New Jersey would ban private sales at gun shows– sales between two PRIVATE individuals– unless the buyer first submits to a background registration check. Under this provision, even displaying a firearm at a gun show, and subsequently transferring that gun to a non-dealer (if it is displayed with a notice that it is for sale), will result in a two-year prison sentence– five years for the second violation.
This amendment would also impose a series of restrictions and requirements upon gun show promoters– requirements that would almost certainly put gun shows out of business. For example, this Lautenberg provision allows gun show promoters to be imprisoned for two years for failure to notify EVERY attendee of his legal requirements. Finally, this provision grants BATF open-ended inspection authority to harass vendors at gun shows, and explicitly gives BATF the right to keep a gun owner registration list for up to 90 days.
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