August Recess A Critical Time

GOA Alone Is Fighting To Kill All Anti-Gun Measures
— your contacts this month are the only thing that will stop the gun grabbers

The NRA, duplicating the approach it employed during the gun debates in June, will not oppose new trigger locks or a ban on the possession of assault weapons by most people under the age of 18. — Roll Call, Aug. 12, 1999

(Monday, August 16, 1999) — For several months now, GOA has been fighting the so-called “Juvenile Justice” legislation, as currently embodied in S. 254. The bill is in a joint House-Senate conference committee– despite the efforts of Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and her ilk to blast it out earlier this month, S. 254 will remain there until Congress reconvenes in September.

It is during this traditional August recess that the fate of gun control in the 106th Congress will likely be decided. Legislators are back in their districts, scheduling town meetings, and interacting with constituents. It is absolutely imperative that gun owners contact their Representative and Senators this month.

Consider that Roll Call (the newspaper of record covering Washington political activity) had the following to say about lobbying efforts regarding the Juvenile Justice legislation:

The NRA… has been too quick to compromise and too slow to mobilize its troops to defeat anti-gun legislation in the House and the Senate, GOP leadership sources and gun activists say…. “Gun Owners [of America] is much smaller, but much more active. They moved quickly and we heard from their people,” said one leadership source close to the issue.

No-compromise Is The Key To Victory

Sen. Bob Smith (I-NH) showed last year that we do not have to succumb to defeatism on the eve of a battle. Smith was told that there were only 40 votes in support of his proposal to cut off FBI funding for their registration of Brady Instant Check gun buyers. When the smoke cleared, Smith got 69 votes. From “no way will this pass” to a veto-proof majority, the Smith amendment proved that the People, not the vote-counting insiders, determine the fate of legislation in America.

Preemptive Concessions Are Not Only Wrong, They Can Backfire

Another telling quote from the Roll Call article shows what happens when gun owners give up without fighting:

The [NRA]… is willing to allow several provisions, such as the so-called Juvenile Brady proposal, to sail through, according to its top lobbyist, James Baker. Baker’s strategy, which reflects a belief inside the NRA that some gun control measures will pass in the wake of recent shooting sprees, has ticked off many pro-gun Members and activists who deplore any talk of a compromise…. Another senior GOP leadership source added: “They have told us all along that it would be fine to support Juvenile Brady and other proposals and their membership would not care. But they did [care], and [Republican leaders] are not happy about that.”

Here’s What To Do

Make certain that you contact your Members of Congress while they are home on break. You can get their home office phone numbers from the government pages of your phone book, or call the Capitol toll-free at 1-888-449-3511 and request them. It is specifically asked that you do not use e-mail as a contact method this month. This is a time to directly confront legislators. Ask the local office if there are any town meetings scheduled. If so, be sure to attend and make gun rights a central part of the discussion. Have a friend seated away from you to “follow up” on your point when the politician tries to duck your question. And above all, spread the word. Get other pro-gun friends and family to make calls as well. The message is simple: THERE IS NO GUN CONTROL THAT IS ACCEPTABLE.

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