04/95 Action Items: BATF Increases

The Bait-n-Switch is on!
Firearms Task Force bill would increase BATF’s power


by Gun Owners of America

(April 21, 1995) — The House Firearms Legislative Task Force has thrown us a curve ball in H.R. 1488. Here’s what you can do about it.


* WRITE, FAX OR E-MAIL YOUR REPRESENTATIVE and urge him to support deleting the provisions in Section 3 of H.R. 1488, which federalize the states’ violent gun crimes. ATTEND TOWN MEETINGS while he is back home and give him this message as well. Tell him you do not want to give the federal government any more authority over firearms — tell him the BATF has caused enough damage already.

* SEND A WESTERN UNION MAILGRAM to your Representative, to Firearms Task Force Chairman Bob Barr and to Crime Subcommittee Chairman Bill McCollum. Dial 1-800-651-1486, and a messagelike the one below–will be sent to all three of these men. (A fee of $8.95 will be charged to your phone bill.)

* If you agree that H.R. 1488 cannot be supported with the provisions giving the BATF more authority, then TELL YOUR REPRESENTATIVE THAT IF THE OFFENSIVE PROVISIONS IN SECTION 3 ARE NOT DROPPED (AS REQUESTED ABOVE), YOU WANT HIM/HER TO OPPOSE THE ENTIRE BILL. (They need to hear this. The gun ban — as bad as it is — will still sunset in 10 years, even if Congress does nothing at all this year. But if they give the BATF more authority, you can bet that will never sunset!)

Possible Congressional objection you might hear: H.R. 1488 says that the federal government shall give deference to the states in prosecuting gun crimes. Answer: This language is non-binding and there are no penalties against the Feds for ignoring this section. Besides, the Feds can easily claim there is a compelling federal interest which allows them to usurp the state’s jurisdiction. Millions of examples can be given where the Feds have run roughshod over the states’ rights.

Sample letter:

I support Congressional efforts to repeal the 1994 semi-auto ban. But I do not support H.R. 1488 as currently written. GOA has informed me that Section 3 of the bill will federalize certain state gun crimes, and quite frankly, I think this is both unconstitutional and dangerous. Historically and constitutionally, the states have jurisdiction over punishing crimes committed with guns. At a time when Congress should be returning power to the states, Section 3 of the bill will clearly usurp that jurisdiction.

Moreover, this usurpation of power is extremely dangerous. Congress should not give the federal government (and especially the BATF) more authority over gun crimes. The BATF has a notorious record already; we don’t need to get them involved in tracking state gun crimes of any kind. I urge you to support any effort to delete the provisions (in Section 3 of H.R. 1488) which would federalize the states’ violent gun crimes. Failing that, I urge you to oppose the bill.

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