05/96 Legislative Update: Stockman et al

GOA Applauds Rep. Stockman for Strong Pro-gun Record
— Update on other legislative odds and ends

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

(Friday, May 10) — GOA lauded Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) this week for his “active defense” of gun owners’ rights. Rep. Stockman was one of the prime movers of the gun ban repeal, having introduced a discharge petition that helped force the leadership to bring a bill up for a vote in April. He also lobbied the Rules Committee in efforts to improve the bill which eventually did pass the House.

“The bill that passed the House will not repeal the entire Clinton gun control package of 1994,” said Rep. Stockman. “If we’re truly going to end the era of big government, we’ve got to completely get Big Brother out of our lives.”

In addition to his work on the gun ban repeal, Rep. Stockman is one of only a handful of Congressmen to maintain a perfect voting record (GOA: 100%) throughout the entire 104th Congress. He steadfastly opposed the government terror bill and supported EVERY effort to delete harmful provisions (affecting our gun rights) from the bill.

“Read My Lips.” During the past year, President Clinton & Co. pushed, scratched, yelled and hollered in order to get the terrorism bill passed and signed into law. During the whole fight, the President and his allies insinuated more than once that opponents of the bill were weak on crime. But according to The Washington Post (5/1/96), the President is now quietly working to repeal certain parts of the terror bill which are clearly unconstitutional. The immigration reform bill which is now in a conference committee will be the chosen vehicle for undoing some of the damage perpetrated in the terror bill. But don’t hold your breath; none of the provisions the President is interested in repealing will any way lift the tourniquet which has been placed on the Second Amendment.

Tracking employees today, gun owners tomorrow? As already mentioned, the immigration reform bill (S. 1664) is currently in a conference committee. The bill, while not technically requiring a national I.D. card, will require officials to keep detailed information on citizens in order to allow employers to check on the eligibility of prospective employees. While the goal of curbing illegal immigration is noteworthy, tremendous problems could result in giving Big Brother more information on its citizens. The bill, in addition to calling for a pilot program to advance a national identification system, also permits the use of biometric identifiers — such as fingerprints, retina scans or voice analysis — to keep track of citizens.

“All of this sounds quite Orwellian,” said GOA Executive Director Larry Pratt. “These computer registries would only help facilitate the registration of gun owners which is now a real threat with the advent of the Instant Background Check.” [The IBC forces gun dealers to give the names of every prospective gun buyer to the authorities. While it is illegal for them to compile registration lists, one wonders if violators would even be prosecuted. Consider that in Waco and Ruby Ridge people were killed — and yet only a few of the offending officials even received wrist slaps.] There would be great danger in mixing these computer data bases, since officials could misuse the information and deny firearms purchases or carry licenses based on religious, ethnic or other politically correct criteria.

A minor victory for gun owners. As you know, the government terror bill authorized a huge pay increase for the BATF (Sec. 816). Originally, this section was specifically written to give the BATF a $100 increase. After loud protests from the gun community, legislators rewrote the section. The pay increase has now been reduced to $40 million and the intended recipient of the money is now the “Department of Treasury” — which of course, is the parent department over the BATF. It appears that legislators have tried to “conceal” their vote for BATF funding by redirecting the money through the Treasury head.