Part A: Dole’s Flip-Flop

Trouble Reading His Lips?
— Dole flip-flops as callers put on the heat

by Gun Owners of America

(Friday, June 9) — As you probably know, the Senate passed the anti-terrorism bill (S. 735) by a vote of 91-8 on Wednesday night. In GOA’s last alert (6/7/95), we explained Sen. Bob Dole’s role in passing S. 735 — a bill which he himself sponsored, along with Senators Hatch and Gramm.

As you will recall, Sen. Dole brokered the “unanimous consent” agreement last week which allowed Democrats to file several anti-gun amendments to S. 735. Not one specific pro-gun amendment was filed. While the Democrats later dropped many of these amendments (that is, they declined to actually present the amendments for consideration), Democrats did manage to get several amendments passed which are unfriendly to our rights:

(1) An amendment to increase the BATF budget by $100 million (or $20 million a year through the year 2000); (2) An amendment to extend the statute of limitations for violations under the 1934 Act from three years under current law to five years; (3) An amendment to expand the ability of the military to enforce civilian law; (4) An amendment to allow the government to wiretap your home if a person subject to a wiretap order visits your home.

DOLE FLIP-FLOP. Sen. Bob Dole engineered the “unanimous consent” agreement which set the terms of debate on S. 735. As mentioned, the agreement allowed the potential for many anti-gun amendments to be considered, without a corresponding volley of pro-gun amendments to put the other side on the defensive. Once the agreement was in place, gun owners were in the proverbial position of showing up to a gun fight with a knife. Gun owners were truly “lucky” to have escaped with only a few infringements on our rights.

After GOA’s last alert (6/7/95), many of you called Sen. Bob Dole’s office to protest his actions. And the answers his office gave you were quite interesting.

Right after our alert was posted on Wednesday, you guys shut down Sen. Dole’s phone lines. Some of you were told that Dole had allowed all the anti-gun amendments to be filed as a means of killing the bill. “Don’t you know that making a bill worse is a good way to kill a bill,” one caller was told by a Dole staffer. The only problem is, Sen. Bob Dole is the chief sponsor of S. 735. Why would he want to make his own bill worse, so he can then defeat it?

On Thursday morning, Dole’s spin-doctors were singing a different tune. Callers were told that Sen. Dole had NOT brokered a “unanimous consent” agreement allowing all the anti-gun amendments to be filed. (Remember, on Wednesday, Dole’s office had been claiming that allowing the anti-gun amendments was a strategy to defeat his bill.) Confused? So were we.

What about the claim from Dole’s office that he did not broker a “unanimous consent” agreement? Well, judge for yourselves. The Congressional Record (5/26/95) gives the following account on page S 7609:

“Mr. DOLE. I ask unanimous consent that the following amendments be the only first-degree amendments in order . . . and that the amendments be limited to the following time agreements where designated, to be equally divided in the usual form. . . .

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection to the [majority leader’s] request? Without objection, it is so ordered.”

At this point in the debate, the Senate had agreed to two things: 1) To decide which amendments could be offered; and 2) To limit the number of the amendments. What followed in the Congressional Record was a list of the 60-plus amendments which would be allowed — many of them would have stripped the Second Amendment to its bare bones.

As already stated, most of the horrible amendments did not pass (amendments such as gutting the DCM, limiting handgun purchases to one per month, etc). But some did (as detailed on the first page).

ONE FINAL POINT: The unanimous consent agreement which Dole brokered states the following: “No assault weapon amendments [shall] be in order to S. 735.” Thus, the unanimous consent agreement not only excluded many pro-gun amendments from being offered, it also SPECIFICALLY PROHIBITED ANY ATTEMPT TO REPEAL THE SEMI-AUTO BAN.

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

See PART B of this message for ACTION ITEMS.