3/05/04 GOA Told Republicans How To Win On Gun Makers’ Protection Bill

GOA Told Republicans How To Win On Gun Makers’ Protection Bill
— Predicted disastrous outcome of Senate’s ill-considered strategy

For Immediate Release
March 4, 2004
Contact: Ellie McDaniel

Up to two weeks before the Senate Republican leadership — in a humiliating loss — was forced to kill its own gun makers’ protection bill by an 8-to-90 vote, Gun Owners of America was publicly and privately working to educate senators on how to achieve victory on that legislation.

Dubbed the “tree and cloture” strategy, GOA laid out the procedure for insuring that “killer amendments” banning firearms, shutting down gun shows, and outlawing the use of firearms for self-defense could not be offered on the Senate floor.

Tragically, the Senate leadership chose a procedure favored by Senate Democrats. And the result — predicted by GOA a week in advance — was a legislative donnybrook that killed the gun liability measure, perhaps for the rest of the Congress.

The legislative abomination produced by that process had to be killed, and GOA led the battle to insure that pro-gun senators weren’t “whipped” into voting for final passage of a bill containing the semi-auto ban, the gun show ban, and the lock-up-your-safety legislation.

Two weeks ago, GOA members — who had more insight into the process than the Senate leadership — were urging senators to “vote AGAINST [the gun makers’ protection bill] … if [the semi-auto ban] is added as an amendment.”

“The death of the gun makers’ protection bill was the tragic price we paid for an inexperienced Senate leadership that failed to understand and use the Senate rules,” said GOA Communications Director Erich Pratt.

Pratt went on to explain that — given that Democrats were filibustering the conference committal of the pension bill at the same time the gun bill was being considered — it was silly to think that a conference committee could “clean up” the mess the Senate had created.

“Democrats would not have allowed a conference unless the survival of the gun ban was preordained,” said Pratt. “And, if House Majority Leader Tom DeLay had tried to strip the bill of Senate amendments without a conference, it would have come back to the Senate as a fully amendable bill.”

Offering advice to cardiologist/Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist — who recently worked assiduously for a $540 billion entitlement, while adopting a gun rights strategy that was destined to fail — Pratt cautioned: “Physician, heal thyself.”

— GOA —

Erich Pratt is Director of Communications for Gun Owners of America, a national gun lobby with over 300,000 members located at 8001 Forbes Place, Springfield, VA 22151.

Either Erich Pratt or another GOA spokesman is available for press interviews.