Newsletters 1994-2001

New rules issued by the Environmental Protection Agency could result in the banning of lead bullets. The EPA plans to investigate whether it deems lead bullets as toxic to the environment and will then consider implementing either a complete ban or partial restrictions on the manufacture of such bullets.

At press time, Gun Owners of America was working closely with Rep. Bill Emerson (R-MO) to provide a Congressional letter opposing the proposed regulations.

The EPA plans to study this issue to determine whether lead bullets should be banned or regulated. Nowhere in the proposed regulations, however, does the EPA provide a constitutional basis for restricting Second Amendment rights.

Surprisingly, the EPA also claims the authority to ban the bullets, even if the agency never completes its environmental-impact study. The EPA states it can issue "an order to prohibit or limit the manufacturing, processing, or distribution" of lead bullets while it continues its risk evaluation.

"This is clearly an outrageous attempt -- once again -- to infringe upon our Second Amendment liberties," said GOA Executive Director Larry Pratt.

"Legislators like Sen. Patrick Moynihan (D-NY) have made it clear that the way to ban guns is to dry up the supply of bullets," Pratt said. "This is just another chipping away of our rights. If they can claim authority over lead bullets, where will it end?"
Texas bureaucrats close gun range

In Texas, this type of environmental action has recently led to the closing of a shooting range. State authorities used local environmental regulations to deem the bullets as toxic waste, and thus, closed the range.

The range is the Southwest Tactical Training Range and the offending authorities are from the TNRCC (Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission).

The TNRCC claims that lead bullets are contaminating the environment -- specifically, degrading the land and the water in a drainage ditch behind the shooting barriers.

Thus, they have shut down the range, claiming that the legitimate discharge of a firearm is a deposit of hazardous (lead) waste and would subject the offender to a possible $25,000 fine for each occurrence (that is, for each pull of the trigger).

Bob Arwady, owner of the range, states that this action is directed specifically at his range without regard for genuine potential environmental hazards. This is clearly evident, he says, when one considers that directly adjacent to the range is the largest landfill in Ft. Bend County, as well as a large wrecking yard that houses junk cars, many still containing old batteries.

Furthermore, says Arwady, each of these facilities share the same drainage system as the range, yet "neither have been targeted for any similar action." Incidentally, no water samples were taken by the TNRCC agents.

"The simple fact is," says Arwady, "TNRCC bureaucrats, at tax payer expense, are attempting to use environmental laws as a back door to enacting gun control!"

GOA alerted gun owners in the Austin area to the TNRCC meeting in late January that was to hear Arwady's case.
GOA Finds New Attitude on the Hill
-- Time to go on the offensive

The revolution is continuing in Washington. When the revolution began in 1992, it started with one pro-gun leader -- Rep. Roscoe Bartlett of Maryland -- and a freshman class that was favorable to the gun rights cause.

Now the revolution is growing rapidly.

The recent elections have brought several new legislators to Capitol Hill who truly want to put the government back in its cage. And quite a few of these new Congressmen are pro-gun stalwarts who want to turn back Sarah Brady's agenda.

Sadly, the revolution has not yet permeated the entire Congress, as the average Congressional grade only rose after the November elections from a D to a C- in the House and from a D+ to a C in the Senate.

But for the first time in a long time, GOA has found a host of gun rights activists in the Congress.

As GOA lobbyists have stormed Capitol Hill with model legislation, several legislators have taken a strong interest in going on the offensive and in repealing legislation like the recently passed semi-auto ban.

And unlike last year, GOA has found the new legislators willing to push hard for holding hearings on BATF abuses -- including an independent investigation on the actions in Waco, Texas and Ruby Ridge, Idaho.

Of course, one of GOA's top goals is passing H.R. 78 -- Rep. Bartlett's Citizen's Self-Defense Act. Another priority is passing H.R. 464 -- the "Bartlett/Stockman Assault Weapon Ban Repeal Act."

But the agenda does not stop there. GOA has already presented several model bills to legislators on a broad range of subjects. Here is a sampling that GOA has taken to the Hill:

* Repealing the sporting purposes test. The Second Amendment was meant to protect more than target shooting or duck hunting.

* Repealing the import ban on certain rifles, shotguns and ammunition. Both President Bush and President Clinton have imposed unconstitutional bans on firearms and ammunition. These unconstitutional acts need to be taken off the books.

* Requiring federal agents -- like those in the BATF -- to get permission from a local sheriff before they conduct an arrest. This requirement could have prevented the burning of innocent women and children in Waco, Texas; and the murder of a mother and son in Ruby Ridge, Idaho.

* Penalizing federal agents who break the law by registering gun owners. Federal agents have defied federal law by computerizing lists of firearms buyers from dealer records. Currently, there is only a vague prohibition against such activities, and BATF has interpreted this statute in an abusive manner. Moreover, there are neither penalties for such violations nor provisions allowing for the right of individuals to sue.

* Holding hearings on BATF abuses. C-Span viewers should be treated to several days of testimonies detailing the years of abuse that BATF agents have wrought upon law-abiding citizens. GOA has found that Rep. Helen Chenoweth of Idaho -- the newly elected Congresswoman who represents Randy Weaver -- is willing to push hard to get oversight hearings on BATF.

* Repealing the crime bill. Congress has no authority to ban guns, nor do they have the authority to provide dancing lessons for felons, organize midnight basketball games, finance local police and organize Multi-Jurisdictional Task Forces, all of which are in the Crime Bill.

* Repealing the mandatory waiting period. Gun owners should push for a complete repeal and not settle for any compromise -- including settling for an instant background check which could actually be more dangerous than a mere waiting period.

The Justice Department correctly observed in 1989 that, "Any system that requires a criminal history record check prior to purchase of a firearm creates the potential for the automated tracking [or registration] of individuals who seek to purchase firearms."

This registration of gun owners could eventually lead to gun confiscation, as has already occurred both at home (in New York City) and abroad.

In the next few weeks, GOA also hopes to find sponsors for legislation on a host of other issues including, bills to take away BATF enforcement authority, thus reducing them to an investigative agency; repealing the 1968 Gun Control Act; and much more.

If the pro-gun Congressmen can introduce the bills and force votes on these tough bills, people may find that the revolution will continue for more than just a couple of months.
Clinton Admits Gun Control Cost Him Control of the Congress

Syndicated columnist Robert Novak relayed a startling admission from the President soon after the November elections.

In his December 3, 1994 column, Novak writes that President Clinton admitted the gun ban "cost the Democrats an estimated 21 seats in the House and therefore handed control of the chamber to the Republicans."
Repeal the Assault Weapons Ban!

ON JANUARY 11, Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) and Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) took the first step toward rolling back more than 40 years of gun control. They introduced HR 464, a bill to repeal the anti-gun provisions of the 1994 Crime Bill.

HR 464 would repeal both the ban on more than 180 firearms and the limitation on magazine capacity.

Even before the bill was formally introduced, word leaked out to G. Gordon Liddy, who announced the good news on his nationally syndicated talk show. Telephones instantly began to light up on Capitol Hill urging other members to cosponsor the gun ban repeal, officially known as the Bartlett/Stockman Assault Weapon Ban Repeal Act.

"Gun owners must put the heat on their Congressmen right away," said Larry Pratt, Executive Director of Gun Owners of America. "Our best shot at repealing the ban is when the Crime Bill is brought up for revisions by House Republicans as part of the Contract with America."

House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA), while not opposed to repealing the ban, has shown no interest at all in bringing it up. The House leadership is interested in amendments to the 1994 Crime Bill which knock out some of the social welfare programs, not ones that deal with the gun issue.

Gun Owners of America is committed to pushing for a complete repeal of the gun ban. "Congress should force Clinton to deal with this issue," Pratt said. "If he vetoes it, he makes himself a target for the 1996 elections. And those who vote against us in the Congress will also have to answer to angry voters."
Fierce debate expected

It is difficult to predict when the repeal legislation will move through the Congress. The House will probably act first -- in February or March -- but the Senate may not act until much later.

One thing is certain, however: When the gun issue arises the debate will be intense. Last year most legislators did not challenge whether Congress had any authority to impose gun control restrictions. The debate was one of degree, rather than one of principle.

But now there are new members of Congress who believe, and are prepared to argue, that existing gun control laws are unconstitutional.

There are at least four areas that pro-gun Congressmen need to discuss when pushing for the repeal of the assault weapons ban.

First, debate on the floor of the Congress must clearly explain the true meaning of the SECOND AMENDMENT. According to the Founding Fathers, the Second Amendment was intended to ensure that the government would never have a monopoly of force. Government was perceived as being a potential threat even in the best of times.

Thomas Jefferson said that "The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government."

And in 1982, the Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution stated that the Framers intended to "create an armed citizenry ... considered essential to ward off tyranny."

Indeed, the Founding Fathers considered firearms as essential to maintaining liberty. A reading of the colonists' complaints makes it clear that the illegitimacy of the colonists' official government was pervasive and enduring. The government (from London) was trying to dictate the colonists' practice of religion, speech and commerce. The government was conducting warrantless searches of the colonists' homes and perverting the trial-by-jury system. An additional factor was taxation without representation.

When the British troops came to confiscate the colonists' firearms on April 19, 1775, the colonists successfully resisted them in the villages of Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts.

Some have argued that times have now changed, that people cannot possibly protect themselves from a superior army. But recent events in Chechnya have demonstrated how mere AK-47s can hold off an army of tanks and helicopters. Even if the urban areas fall to the Russian army, the Chechen freedom fighters could still resist the army in the countryside, just like the Afghans did during the 1980s. The Second Amendment is not an anachronism. It still works today.

Second, the debate in Congress must set forth the true meaning of the Second Amendment MILITIA.

When George Mason told the Virginia ratifying convention that "the militia ... consist now of the whole people, except for a few public officers," nobody disagreed with him.

In fact, Congress passed the Militia Act of 1792 only months after ratifying the Second Amendment. As such, the Militia Act should help interpret what the Framers meant when they penned the term "a well-regulated militia" in the Second Amendment.

Consider what the Senate subcommittee had to say 13 years ago:

    In the Militia Act of 1792, the second Congress defined "militia of the United States" to include almost every free adult male in the United States. These persons were obligated by law to possess a [military] firearm and a minimum supply of ammunition and military equipment.

Furthermore, the Militia Act required every man to keep his military rifle and ammunition at home. By contrast, the National Guard keeps its guns and ammunition in armories. This clearly shows that the National Guard was not the "militia" the Founders had in mind.

"There can be little doubt," stated the Senate subcommittee, "that when the Congress and the people spoke of the 'militia,' they had reference to the traditional concept of the entire populace capable of bearing arms, and not to any formal group such as what is today called the National Guard."
Banned firearms rarely used in crimes

Third, the debate in Congress must emphasize the fact that assault weapons are rarely used in the commission of a crime.

During last year's debate many Congressmen misrepresented how often semi-automatic "assault weapons" were actually used in crime. In fact, the number is negligible as evidenced by the following:

* The Bureau of Justice Statistics reported in 1993 that violent criminals only carry or use a "military-type gun" in about one percent of crimes nationwide.

* According to the FBI, people have a much greater chance of being killed by a knife or a blunt object than by any kind of rifle, including an "assault rifle." In Chicago the police report that the chance is 95 times greater. That is, a person is 95 times more likely to be stabbed or beaten to death in Chicago than to be murdered by an "assault rifle."

* The FBI reports also show that police officers are two to three times as likely to be killed by their own gun than by an "assault weapon."

Clearly one can't have it both ways. If one wants to ban weapons that are dangerous to police, than one should begin by pushing for a ban on police officers' own weapons-since these guns kill far more often than "assault weapons."

Finally, pro-gun Congressmen need to clearly define the terms of the debate. Some representatives in the last Congress grossly misled the American people about semiautomatic firearms. People were told these guns were machine guns, and yet they are not.

On the one hand, the Supreme Court has already suggested that machine guns would be constitutionally protected firearms. In U.S. v. Miller, the Court stated that, "The Militia comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense ... [and that] when called for service, these men were expected to appear bearing arms supplied by themselves and of the kind in common use at the time."

This is certainly consistent with the Militia Act of 1792, where the Founders required every man to own a military firearm and to keep it in his home.

Nevertheless, the truth is that the "assault weapons" Congress banned last year are semi-automatic firearms which are identical to thousands of semi-autos that were not banned. The irony is that these "assault weapons" are not even as lethal as common hunting rifles.

Gun owners owe a big debt of gratitude to the leadership of Representatives Bartlett and Stockman. "GOA worked hard to elect these two men and we have yet to be disappointed," said Larry Pratt. "While it was unfortunate that we were the only national gun organization supporting them in their initial elections, they have truly become the Second Amendment leaders in Congress."

Stockman narrowly defeated Jack Brooks last November in a very difficult race. Brooks was the former judiciary Committee Chairman and sponsor of the Crime Bill. Gun owners should revel in the fact that Brooks' replacement is taking such a leading role in undoing the damage done by Brooks and the other anti-gunners last year.
Bartlett's Self-Defense Bill Reintroduced

CONGRESSMAN Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) began the 1995 legislative session strong by reintroducing the Citizens' Self-Defense Act (HR 78). The purpose of this bill is to protect individuals from being prosecuted for using a firearm in self-defense.

This protection would even be extended to people who, like Bernhard Goetz, possessed a firearm in violation of an unconstitutional gun-control law. In 1984 Bernhard Goetz successfully used a firearm to defend himself against four attackers on a New York subway train, but was sent to jail for carrying an unlicensed firearm.

Of course, there are many less publicized cases where law-abiding gun owners were prosecuted for defending their lives. For example, in 1990, in Goldsboro, North Carolina, Ronald Biggs' house was ransacked by five men who broke through the front door. In the process, Biggs was hit in the face and threatened with a baseball bat.

Biggs tried to escape by running out the back door of his own house, but was pursued by his attackers. Biggs turned and shot one of the men. The result? Ronald Biggs was charged with a felony, while the attackers were charged with breaking and entering, a misdemeanor.

In 1991, a former Deputy Chief of Police for Sacramento, California, used a gun to defend himself when he was attacked on a rural road near Salem, Oregon. Bruce Thayer was struck twice in the face while restrained by a seat belt before he shot and killed his attacker. Trained in law enforcement, Thayer went by the book. He stayed at the scene, set out flares, and flagged down a passing motorist to call the police. Nevertheless, it was ten months before Thayer was cleared of the murder charge -- and by then he had been forced to sell his home to pay for legal bills.

In 1994, Tom Cain of Kentucky was charged with murder after shooting an intruder who broke into his store. Ironically, Cain was shot at least six times. This fact did not, however, prevent prosecutors from incarcerating Cain while building their murder case.

A more recent example occurred right in the back yard of the Congress in Washington, DC. A Washington Times editorial sums up the case this way:

    A Northwest Washington woman fended off two thugs ... saving her life and those of her daughters in the process. Now comes the hard part: waiting to see if the U.S. attorney's office will charge her with illegally defending herself. There is nothing in DC law that exempts those ... who use the weapons [banned since 19761 in self-defense.

Obviously, this list could go on and on. People increasingly realize that the police just can't be there to protect every individual. Lowell K. Duckett, a Lieutenant in the Washington, DC police department and President of the Black DC Police Caucus, says that people are more inclined to try to protect themselves because they have lost faith in the justice system. "The confidence in law enforcement is eroding. People are going to buy guns to protect themselves. In our country the most sacred place is in your home," Lt. Duckett said.

The passage of Congressman Bartlett's bill is more important today than ever. People have the right to defend themselves. As its name implies, the purpose of the Citizens' Self-Defense Act is to protect people who are persecuted for exercising that right.
Brady Law Endangering Lives

When the Brady waiting period took effect last February, the mainstream media hailed it as a tremendous victory. They claimed it was an important first step in taking guns out of criminals' hands.

And yet, much overlooked was the fact that in most cases, the only people being denied firearms were the innocent victims.

Shortly after the new Brady law took effect, the Wall Street Journal ran a story on how a waiting period would have certainly killed one lady.

The story, which ran on March 3 of last year, was about Marine Lance Corporal Rayna Ross of Virginia. Ms. Ross was stalked by a former boyfriend who had already assaulted her with a knife and gun on two separate occasions.

The situation escalated to such a point that Ms. Ross and her one year old child were chased out of their apartment. They had to stay with friends, often moving to a different place every night.
Waiting period would have been too late

Ms. Ross finally bought a firearm. Three days later, her tormenter broke into her home at 3 a.m. dressed in a black jumpsuit and armed with a bayonet.

She shot him dead; the local prosecutor later called it a "justifiable homicide."

Ms. Ross could defend herself only because she did not live in a state that was subject to a Brady-type waiting period. If she had, Ms. Ross would have had to wait two more days before picking up her self-defense firearm.

As stated by the Journal, if the Brady law had been in effect, "this story would have ended differently."

Sarah Brady answered the Journal's article with a letter of her own. She stated that the Brady law has a provision allowing for a "waiver" in case somebody is in physical danger. The story would have ended the same, she says, even "post-Brady."

But there are several problems with this waiver. How many days will it take to actually get a waiver? And even more importantly, will an anti-gun police chief actually grant one?

Remember that during the 1992 Los Angeles riots, the 15 day waiting period on firearms was never lifted and then-Mayor Tom Bradley actually put a freeze on the sale of ammunition. The tendency of many anti-gun officials is to think that more guns on the street will escalate violence, rather than helping honest people defend themselves.
GOA denounces Brady Law

Gun Owners of America has relentlessly criticized the new Brady law since it took effect.

Executive Director Larry Pratt was quoted in papers across the country saying the Brady law "will hinder honest citizens who may be in imminent danger from purchasing a firearm to protect their lives and property."

Moreover, Pratt clearly showed how the main result of Brady's waiting period and background check is to place unconstitutional burdens upon law-abiding citizens.

"Can you imagine applying these prior restraints on other rights, requring people to wait five days before publishing an editorial or giving a sermon?" Pratt asked. "First Amendment lawyers would be in court in a flash if Congress ever passed such a law."

Regardless, many newspapers tried to put the best spin possible on the new Brady law, claiming it had stopped scores of people from buying firearms.

But those stops, some papers noted, did not necessarily keep people from buying a firearm. Those people -- if they were actually criminals -- were only delayed in their purchases. They can still buy a gun on the street.

The spin-doctors also never determine how many of the stops are legitimate denials. The fact is, most people stopped by background checks are not criminals at all. In Maryland, 85% of the gun buyers who challenge their initial denials are found to have been denied erroneously.

Maryland state law provides for an appeal process, the Brady law does not.

In California, 96 percent of handgun pruchases that initially denied are done so erroneously, according to the Office of Technology Assessment.

And some jurisdictions are using non-criminal records to deny people their gun rights. Officials in Houston, Texas, boasted of a 9% denial rate one month after the Brady law took effect. But a spokesman for the Houston Police Department told The Gun Owner that "almost all of these denials were based on traffic violations."

This clearly shows how police officials can abuse their authority when given the power to approve who can exercise their rights. Congress should revisit this issue and and stop infringing on the rights of decent Americans.
Gun Control Crumbling in the Courts

Five federal courts have overturned the state mandated background check in the Brady Law, delivering a striking blow to gun control advocates nationwide.

These courts have held that Brady violates the Tenth Amendment which prohibits Congress from exercising powers not granted to it. Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution lists the powers delegated by "We, the People" to the Congress, and the courts are finding that telling the chief law enforcement officer in local jurisdictions to enforce a background check is most definitely not found there.

In another area federal courts are also helping Congress force a return to the original intent of the Commerce Clause in the U.S. Constitution. One might wonder what the Commerce Clause has to do with gun control. Constitutionally, they have nothing to do with each other. But Congress and the courts since President Franklin D. Roosevelt have expanded the Commerce Clause beyond recognition.

The founders intended for the Commerce Clause to prevent one state from taxing or otherwise prohibiting commerce from one state into another state. Until recently, the big government view of the Commerce Clause has been that Congress can regulate anything that enters interstate commerce. In practice this has meant that Congress can regulate anything.

The most infamous stretching of the Commerce Clause occurred in the Wickard v. Filburn case of 1942. Farmer Filburn was fined for growing more wheat than he had been allotted by the Agriculture Department. Filburn argued that his wheat did not enter interstate commerce because he used it all on his farm. The Supreme Court unconstitutionally held that Filburn did affect interstate commerce. By not buying wheat from the government-controlled market, Filburn was held to have negatively affected interstate commerce.

Such court decisions have provided the justification for gun control at the federal level. One should remember that the 1934 National Firearms Act was enacted before the Commerce Clause provision was stretched beyond recognition. And thus, Congress had to settle for "just" taxing machine guns so heavily in 1934 dollars that hardly anybody would be able to pay the tax.

Stretching the Commerce Clause in the Constitution has since allowed the federal government to restrict Second Amendment rights without a second thought. Congress has simply argued that because most, if not all, firearms cross state lines at some time, Congress can regulate those firearms.

It is interesting to note that when Prohibition was imposed on the country, it was thought necessary to pass a constitutional amendment to ban booze. Since the time of the expansion of the Commerce Clause by the courts, Congress has felt free to ban guns and ammunition even though they enjoy specific Constitutional protection.

We should not be surprised about all of this. Congressmen simply do not know anything about the document they are sworn to uphold and protect. This became so apparent and so frustrating that one day last year, Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) rebuked his colleagues in a floor speech. He pulled out his ever-present copy of the Constitution from his vest pocked and read off the list of specific powers delegated by We the People to the Congress. He pointed out that much of what the Congress did violated that list be going beyond it.

When Bartlett finished, the Recording Clerk of the House asked him for a copy of what he had read from so he could get his remarks verbatim. He asked Bartlett, "What was that you were reading from?" When Bartlett told him it was the Constitution, the Clerk did not know where to find a copy --in the House of Representatives!

Now, however, the Fifth Circuit Federal Court has challenged this interpretation. In striking down the 1990 Gun-Free School Zones Act in United States v. Lopez, the court held that there is no connection between guns in schools and interstate commerce. In essence, the court was reaffirming that there is no Constitutional authority to ban firearms.

Similarly, in United States v. Bownds , the Federal District Court for Mississippi found that the ban on machine guns manufactured after May, 1986 and sold to the public is also unconstitutional because the ban lacks any connection to interstate commerce. Again, the courts are stating Congress cannot use the Commerce Clause in the Constitution to usurp powers that are not otherwise granted to Congress.

Both the Lopez and the Bownds cases were decided in 1994. They may well be appealed by the government. Please stay tuned.
Rhino-Ammo Fuels Debate over Banning Bullets

A minor furor broke out over the Christmas holidays when the Signature Products Corporation in Alabama claimed they had developed two "hyper-destructive" handgun bullets.

Researchers boasted that the so-called "Rhino-Ammo" could cause almost "instantaneous death" because of the lethal shrapnel that is "hurled" into vital organs.

"When (Rhino-Ammo) hits somebody, they're going to die," said David Keen, chemist and inventor of the bullet. "It causes a horrific wound. That's not by accident. It's engineered by design. The round disintegrates as it hits. There's no way to stop the bleeding."

While initial press reports treated the ammunition as something innovative, BATF has run several tests and determined that the ammunition is no different than other frangible bullets.

The other new bullet, the "Black Rhino," is intended to cut through body armor. In 1986, Congress banned the manufacture of "cop killer" ammunition that was Teflon-coated or made of certain metal alloys. The Crime Bill passed last year broadened the ban to include other metal-alloy ammunition.

If the Black Rhino can actually penetrate body armor, it would sidestep the ban because it is made of polymers.
Schumer calls for sweeping ammo ban

This prompted Rep. Charles Schumer (D-NY) to call for a comprehensive ban. "I want to ban bullets based on what they can do, rather than how they are made," Schumer said.

The significance of this statement is monumental. Almost any hunting round can penetrate a bullet-proof vest. Schumer's statement merely states what many have feared all along -- that the gun controllers would eventually turn their sites on even the hunting community.

Critics like Schumer claim that this ammunition must be banned to keep it out of the hands of criminals. Even some gun lobbyists came out against the bullets, saying there would be no way to keep the bullets out of the "wrong hands."

But as GOA's Larry Pratt explained on several talk shows: "Banning the ammunition only means that the police and criminals will have it, but the average person will not. Where has a ban ever worked? Washington, D.C.? New York City? The truth is, decent people need something like this ammunition to protect themselves."

After all, Pratt said, the Second Amendment was intended to provide for at least a parity of force between the people and the government. Imagine the outcry from our forefathers, if the British had tried to ban "Red Coat-piercing ammunition."

The best way to keep criminals from getting this kind of ammunition is to keep them off the streets. As shown through several studies, the crux of the problem is this: seven percent of criminals commit almost 70 percent of all the violent crimes. Until the United States puts a screeching halt to its turnstile incarceration system, no amount of gun control (or ammo control) will lower the crime rates.
Core issue is one of self-defense

While most of the outrage focused on the armor-piercing round, the debate over the frangible bullet, Rhino-Ammo, has been just as intense. And for now, hollow-point bullets have once again entered the public dialogue.

Last year, Winchester pulled their Black Talons off the shelf after they were used to kill six people on a Long Island Rail Road train.

Because hollow-point bullets cause larger and more deadly wounds, the media often portrays them as "inhumane." The irony, of course, is that a bullet's lethality is exactly what makes it a potent item for defense. Guns (and bullets) are used in self-defense more than 2.4 million times a year by law-abiding citizens in this country.

The real issue is stopping power. Many police reports tell of assailants who are shot many times before finally stopping. When one only has a handgun for self-defense, one needs a bullet that is going to quickly drop the attacker.

Examples abound of people who have repeatedly shot an attacker in self-defense, only to see the assailant continue to approach, and finally, to harm their victim. An example like the following, mentioned in Women & Guns magazine (October 1991), is typical: Laura Brooks, a 29 year old, grabbed her handgun one night when she was awakened by the sounds of someone breaking into her apartment. When the naked intruder entered her room, she fired her gun and hit him twice -- once in the shoulder and once in the leg.

However, the man kept coming and brutally attacked her with a 12-inch screwdriver, beating her savagely numerous times. Finally weakening, the attacker picked up her gun and fled, only to be captured later. Brooks survived, although she suffered massive nerve damage to one hand, an injury from which she may never fully recover.

Obviously, the gun and bullets this woman used did have an effect upon the assailant. Unfortunately, the effect was too slow. The stopping power of her gun and ammunition was not immediate -- and not enough to protect her.

While Mr. Schumer and the mainstream media may ignore victims like Laura Brooks, the real issue surrounding the gun control (or ammunition control) debate is one of self-defense.

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