Capitol Hill Shoot Out: Conflicting Messages

Shoot Out On Capitol Hill Results In Conflicting Messages
–but pro-gun leaders win key, though symbolic, victory

(Friday, September 24, 1999) — Supporters of gun rights in the House of Representatives charged the floor today with an arsenal of high-powered arguments in defense of 2nd Amendment liberties. Led by Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA), pro-gun Republicans defied their leadership in presenting an extremely cogent case in defense of our freedoms.

“It’s not the right of the army,” Doolittle roared. “It’s not the right of the National Guard.” The Second Amendment “says ‘the right of the people’– [it’s] an individual right.”

Doolittle cited constitutional authorities from James Madison to Laurence Tribe in making his point that the Second Amendment protects an individual right. He also quoted the highly acclaimed Dr. John Lott in making the simple point that “more guns equal less crime,” as he waved a copy of Lott’s new book for the cameras.

GOA On The Front Lines

In anticipation of this floor fight, lobbyists from Gun Owners of America yesterday provided pro-gun offices with dozens of self-defense incidents from this year alone. Pro-gun Rep. Helen Chenoweth (R-ID) took the list and read self-defense example after example on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.

“The stories go on and on,” Mrs. Chenoweth concluded. “In fact, a 1997 Clinton Justice Department study found that as many as 1.5 million people use a gun in self-defense every year.”

The anti-gun side could offer no rebuttal to this point. Regardless, they remained entrenched in opposing the motion made by Rep. Doolittle. His motion instructs House negotiators to drop any provision that infringes on the 2nd Amendment rights of individuals– provisions like the ban on private sales at gun shows, which can only be surmounted by the buyer’s submitting to a background registration check; a new gun ban for young adults; an import ban on magazines holding more than 10 rounds; etc.

The Doolittle motion passed overwhelmingly by a vote of 337-73. Also, an earlier motion instructing the conferees to work every day until they reach an agreement on the crime bill was narrowly defeated. However, representatives then sent a “conflicting” message when they voted to instruct the conference members (241-167) to include gun show registration checks in the final version of the bill. The latter motion, offered by Zoe Lofgren of California, directly contradicts the Doolittle motion. While contradictory messages are not unique on Capitol Hill, one should realize that all of the motions were non-binding. The conferees could report a gun bill out of committee as early as next week, or not at all if sufficient opposition from gun owners is heard.

GOP And Democratic Leaders United In Their Support For Gun Control

Republican leaders like Rep. Bill McCollum (R-FL) took the floor to explain that he and many other members of the House want to impose the instant registration check at gun shows. House Judiciary Chairman, Henry Hyde (R-IL), also echoed similar opinions yesterday.

On the Democratic side, the anti-gunners were led by Rep. Lofgren (D-CA). She argued that the 2nd Amendment does not protect an individual right, and that the anti-gun crime bill which is currently in conference does not conflict with the Second Amendment.

ACTION: Please thank those members of Congress who spoke up so eloquently in the defense of the 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms. They are Representatives Doolittle, Chenoweth, Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD), and John Hostettler (R-IN).

Contact Info:

House of Representatives
Ph: 888-449-3511 or 202-225-3121

Rep. John Doolittle (CA-4th)
Ph: 202-225-2511
Fax: 202-225-5444
E-mail: [email protected]

Rep. Helen Chenoweth (ID-1st)
Ph: 202-225-6611
Fax: 202-225-3029
E-mail: [email protected]

Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (MD-6th)
Ph: 202-225-2721
Fax: 202-225-2193
No e-mail

Rep. John Hostettler (IN-8th)
Ph: 202-225-4636
Fax: 202-225-3284
E-mail: [email protected]

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