06/96 Push: Self-Defense; Repeal

Legislative Update:
Help push Self-defense Act, Gun Ban Repeal

by Gun Owners of America 8001 Forbes Place, Suite 102
Springfield, VA 22151
(703)321-8585, fax: 321-8408

(Friday, June 7) — Support the right of self-defense. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) is the chief sponsor of H.R. 78, the Citizens’ Self-Defense Act. This bill is specifically designed to protect people who are persecuted for exercising their right to use a firearm in self-defense.

As you know, this right is under attack in many parts of our country. Anti-gun prosecutors frequently show their disdain for the Constitution by prosecuting individuals who have used firearms in clear-cut cases of self-defense. Bernie Goetz and Carl Rowan are two well-known examples that are just the tip of the iceberg. Goetz was convicted of possessing an unregistered firearm after shooting four thugs who later admitted they were going to rob him, because in their words, “he looked like easy bait.” Carl Rowan, despite his anti-gun columns to the contrary, used a firearm to thwart an alleged attack in his back yard. D.C. officials charged Rowan for illegal possession of a firearm; the case resulted in a hung jury.

While Goetz and Rowan received a lot of press, they are by no means the only examples of official harassment. Timothy Pastuck in New York City, “Becky” in the District of Columbia, Donald Campbell in Michigan, Don Bennett in Illinois, Ronald Biggs in North Carolina — all these individuals have faced harassment in jurisdictions where law-abiding citizens with firearms are treated as criminals. Clearly, Congress must act to protect these citizens’ Second Amendment rights.

H.R. 78 restores America’s gun rights to what our Founding Fathers had envisioned — a nation where citizens share in the responsibility of maintaining law and order by providing for their own self-defense.

ACTION: Ask your Congressman (1-800-962-3524 or 202-225-3121) to cosponsor H.R. 78, the Citizen’s Self-Defense Act. You can also send a Western Union mailgram (1-800-651-1486) that asks your Representative to cosponsor this important piece of legislation. Your phone bill will be charged for $6.95.

A Lott of expectation on gun ban repeal. With Senator Bob Dole leaving the Senate as early as June 11, the time for him to honor his promise on pushing a repeal of the gun ban is drawing to a close. The baton will now have to pass to the rising Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS).

As you may recall, Sen. Dole had originally promised in March of 1995 that repealing the semi-auto ban “is one my legislative priorities.” However, Sen. Dole never introduced a bill to accomplish that objective. Furthermore, in May of 1995, Dole asked for a “unanimous consent” agreement that kept the gun ban repeal from being voted on. Dole said, “I further ask unanimous consent that no assault weapons amendments be in order to the terrorism bill . . . . ” (Congressional Record, 5/26/95, p. S 7610). Per Dole’s solicitation, the official Senate calendar for the first day of debate on the terror package clearly stated that, “No assault weapon amendments [shall] be in order to S. 735.”

More recently, Sen. Dole stated he has no plans to bring up the repeal bill. “I haven’t considered it,” Dole said this past March. “It’s not a priority.” Apologists for Dole have indicated he cannot force a vote on repealing the gun ban because the bill would not likely pass the Senate. And yet, the Macomb Daily reported last week that Dole would schedule a “vote on the balanced budget amendment . . . even though he knows it will fail.” Today, USA Today quoted Dole as saying, “It’s not whether you win or lose, but whether you’ve made the statement.” Why not use the same strategy in regard to our Second Amendment rights and put all the Senators on record?

ACTION: Call Senator Lott’s office (1-800-962-3524 or 202-224-6253; fax: 224-2262) and ask him to fulfill the promise which was made to gun owners last year. Ask him to either bring up for a vote a free-standing bill to repeal the ban, or — borrowing from the Democratic strategy — to introduce the repeal bill as an amendment to other legislation.