Gun Report From Capitol Hill

Gun Report From Capitol Hill

“Gun Owners of America is the pit bull of the Second Amendment. They are relentless and never give any ground whatsoever to the gun grabbers.” –Rep. John Hostettler (R-IN), July 2000

(Friday, August 4, 2000) — This has been a hard-fought year. You have helped us to fight (and win) several battles. And quite frankly, gun owners have done as well as anyone could expect considering the obstacles we have faced in the White House.

Below, you will find a list of victories that you have helped to bring about. But first, a quick wrap-up of the final days before Congress recessed last week.

Pro-gun Language Dies In Conference

Rep. Virgil Goode (I-VA) succeeded in getting a pro-gun amendment stuck into the House version of the Treasury-Postal funding bill. The Goode provision would keep the Treasury Department from giving any preference towards Smith & Wesson when the agency buys service revolvers for its agents.

On the Senate side, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) stuck a similar amendment into the bill. But what should have then been a pro-gun coup resulted in disaster when the pro-gun language was stripped out of the bill in a conference committee — apparently because moderate Republicans did not want to give President Clinton a reason for vetoing an appropriations bill.

Anti-gun Amendments Expected Next Month

Gun owners will be faced with renewed attacks upon the 2nd Amendment when the Senate returns for action in September. The Democrats have made it clear that they plan to use delaying tactics to slow down the appropriation bills, unless they are allowed to offer anti-gun amendments to those bills.

This is, of course, how some of the worst anti-gun legislation was enacted in the recent past. You will remember that the Lautenberg gun ban (disarming millions for misdemeanor infractions) and the Kohl gun free school zone ban were both added onto appropriation bills in September 1996.

On a positive note, Sen. Bob Smith (R-NH) could offer pro-gun amendments to the upcoming spending bills. As the Commerce-Justice-State bill did not come up before the recess, his amendment to alter current law to require the “immediate destruction” of gun buyers’ records will have to wait until September.

ACTION: Continue to register your support for the Smith amendment. Call 202-224-3121 or toll-free at 1-888-449-3511. A pre-written letter is included at — simply plug in your zipcode and select your Senators as recipients.

Finally, for some encouragement, here are some of the victories that we have accomplished together this year.

Highlights From The First Half Of 2000

  • Feb 02

    Gun activists quickly respond to GOA’s call to action from the night before. The issue concerns an anti-gun amendment offered by Senators Levin (D-MI) and Schumer (D-NY) that would help the cities bringing suit against gun makers. The Levin amendment prevents gun makers from declaring legitimate bankruptcy, and thus, discharging any enormous judgments that result from frivolous lawsuits. The amendment failed 68-29.

  • Mar 01

    Sen. Boxer (D-CA) attacks GOA for refusing to compromise and for opposing firearms restrictions. Boxer’s amendment instructing House-Senate conferees to finish its work on the anti-gun juvenile bill fails on a tie vote.

  • Mar 03

    GOA responds to Sen. Hatch (R-UT) who has publicly stated he will support a juvenile crime bill containing certain gun control provisions. GOA begins an intense grassroots campaign to help the Senator “see the light.”

  • Mar 07

    President Clinton laments the fact that Sen. Hatch has now changed his tune. Now that progress on the juvenile crime bill is moving slow, the President notes that “there’s so much pressure on Senator Hatch not to call a [conference] meeting.”

  • Mar 15

    Gun control proponents sink to a new low, as gun activists help generate more than 20 new pro-gun votes in the House of Representatives. Last September, Rep. Lofgren (D-CA) had offered a motion to instruct the crime bill conferees to move the bill out of committee. That anti-gun motion had passed with 241 votes. But after months and months of grassroots pressure, Lofgren could only muster 218 votes (a 51% majority) on March 15, 2000. While gunnies still lost this vote, the narrow margin indicated there was no mandate for sending the President an anti-gun crime bill.

  • May 17

    Gun control sinks to a new low in the U.S. Senate. Having passed the juvenile crime bill one year earlier with 73 votes (out of 100), gun grabbers helplessly watch their amendment squeak by on a vote of 50-49. The amendment instructs conferees to report the anti-gun crime bill out of the committee. Even though gun owners technically “lost” this vote, the slim margin was itself a victory. Again, the slim margin sends a message to the conferees — loud and clear — that there is no real mandate for getting any work done on the anti-gun crime bill. To this day, the bill that was “inspired” by the Columbine tragedy remains bottled-up.

  • May 18

    Democrats are fuming as GOA works to successfully encourage House members to keep pro-gun language in the DoD authorization bill. The language, inserted by pro-gun Rep. Hostettler (R-IN), would bar the Department of Defense from giving Smith & Wesson preferential treatment in government contracts — thus preventing the DoD from rewarding the gun maker for selling out gun owners in March.

  • Jun 21

    Gun owners rally behind Rep. Hostettler who scores again in a big way, when he successfully attaches a pro-gun amendment to the HUD funding bill. White House officials decry the Hostettler provision that prevents HUD from joining in coalition with state and local governments that are interested in suing the gun industry.

  • Jun 28

    Gun owners dodge a bullet after thousands of angry activists bombard Capitol Hill. On this day, the House backs away from their initial plan to force lobby groups like GOA to disclose many, if not all, of its members’ names. The Senate agrees to the House’s changes one day later.

  • Jun 29

    Grassroots pressure encourages nine Congressman to switch their votes and to support a Hostettler amendment that will defund the Clinton & Wesson agreement. Unfortunately, the amendment fails, as just three more vote switchers would have given Hostettler the victory.

  • Jul 26

    Rep. Barr (R-GA) tells GOA that the secret search provisions have been killed after the resounding outcry from activists reached Capitol Hill. This language, dubbed the “sneak and peak” provisions, would have let the government sneak onto your property while you were away, seize certain items from your home and not tell you about it for months — if at all.