S. 10 Finally Dies

Hatch’s “Horror Bill” Is Finally Dead!
— Sen. Smith and gun owners team up for huge victory

(Monday, October 26, 1998)– Last month, Gun Owners of America asked you to contact Senator Bob Smith (R-NH) once more to ask him for a huge favor. The result? Sen. Smith delivered about as well as slugger Mark McGwire would have done with a game on the line.

GOA reported earlier last month how Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) hurriedly brought up his Horror Bill (S. 10) for a surprise vote, but was unable to get the required Unanimous Consent agreement. Senate Democrats would only “consent” to debate the bill if they were allowed to offer dozens of amendments– many of them anti-gun.

Senate staffers reported that Hatch, having been rebuffed on the Senate floor, then began scheming for ways to slip his anti-gun Horror Bill (S. 10) into a completely different bill– without a vote– and then to bring the bill to the floor in an unamendable form.

That’s when the GOA grassroots network went to work. The timing was crucial. Your calls, faxes, emails and letters– from all over the nation– spurred Senator Smith to continue his leadership role in defense of the Second Amendment.

Senator Smith Goes To Bat For Gun Owners Nationwide– Earns The Senate MVP!

And defend our rights he did. Sen. Smith confronted Hatch and adamantly declared that he would personally keep S. 10 from reaching the Senate floor. Smith promised to withhold the “consent” needed for Hatch to bring up S. 10 as long as the anti-gun provisions remained in the bill. Sources close to the Senate noted that Hatch was irate. Nevertheless, Sen. Smith refused to back down against the powerful Judiciary Committee Chairman.

Unable to overcome the obstacles laid down by Senator Smith, Hatch put up the white flag. Well, sort of. Hatch agreed (once again) to revise his bill. But after looking at the new (supposedly clean) version, GOA attorneys discovered there were still provisions that would endanger the rights of law-abiding gun owners. Regardless, the clock has now run out on S. 10.

Credit GOA Members For Getting SEVEN Senators To Drop Their Support Of S. 10

This is a tremendous victory. Early in 1997, Majority Leader Trent Lott listed S. 10 as one of the Top Ten “Must Pass” bills for the Congress. Most of the “experts” in Washington thought this bill was unstoppable. Nevertheless, GOA chose to conduct a full, frontal assault against the anti-gun bill.

Lamenting our opposition to his bill, Sen. Hatch stated recently on the Senate floor that, “I have been involved in this fight [to pass a juvenile crime bill] for over three years now. Rarely have I found an issue over which interest group opponents were more determined to block [such a bill].”

For almost two full years, your GOA alerted members and activists regarding the dangers in S. 10. Your response has been tremendous and has resulted in SEVEN cosponsors dropping their names from the Horror Bill. One of those seven cosponsors even went on to take up the cause against the bill. That was Sen. Bob Smith, who is the one Senator most responsible for killing the bill this year.

We have come a long way. Clearly, your grassroots work has resulted in a massive victory. As originally introduced, S. 10 would have virtually eliminated the Second Amendment as we know it today. Prosecutors would have been given the tools to charge gun dealers under the RICO (racketeering) statute. Dealers could have faced 25 years in prison and the confiscation of their home and business for the ‘vicious crime’ of merely committing two recordkeeping offenses!

“How many gun dealers would remain in business with that ‘sword of Damocles’ hanging over their heads?” asked GOA Executive Director Larry Pratt. “Not many to be sure.

“The members and activists of Gun Owners of America deserve a pat on the back. Representative government still works, and you guys did your job to communicate your position to your elected officials,” Pratt said.