Armey Spin Doctors And Terror Bill

Terrorism Bill Still on Track
— Armey spin doctors hard at work

(Friday, March 1) — The House Judiciary Committee has confirmed to GOA that Republicans still plan to bring the terrorism bill (H.R. 2768) to the floor during the week of March 11. You will remember that a couple of weeks ago, GOA issued an alert to this effect. A flood of phone calls poured in Rep. Dick Armey’s office as a result, and his spin-doctors then went quickly to work. Here’s what they said:

Fiction: “Rep. Armey is not pushing the bill.” This statement contradicts every other source on Capitol Hill. As one leadership office told GOA: “Everyone knows Armey’s in charge of the [terrorism] bill. Even White House officials are telling people that.” In fact, the Speaker and/or the House Majority Leader is responsible for scheduling legislation.

Fiction: “There is not going to be a vote on the terrorism bill.” Again, not true. Both Republican and Democratic offices have been notified of an impending vote to occur during the week of March 11. [Of course, it’s always possible that this date might change.] But right now, the middle of March is the goal. As reported in the February 20 issue of the New Gun Week, a House vote on the terrorism bill is “set for Mar. 11 – 15.” [Note: Armey spin-doctors could be playing a game of semantics. The bill which was voted out of the Judiciary Committee is H.R. 1710. Technically speaking, this bill would come to the floor and then be substituted by H.R. 2768. If spin-doctors claim H.R. 2768 is not coming to the floor, they are not exactly being forthright.]

Fiction: “H.R. 2768 does not threaten the Bill of Rights.” False. If any office gives you this line, ask for a copy of the bill. The bill, which is over 150 pages long, infringes on the First, Second, Fourth, Sixth, Ninth and Tenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. [GOA members should have already received the February 28 issue of The Gun Owners newsletter, which contains a detailed analysis of the problems in the bill. If you’re not a member, call 703-321-8585 and sign up to receive GOA’s in depth reports on a regular basis. Membership is $20.]

Beware: GOA learned yesterday that the House leadership is now saying they are going to fix the terrorism bill. First of all, that is a tacit admission that there were problems with the bill! But beware, they told us twice the problems had been fixed, when that was NOT the case. Be skeptical about any promises they now make to “fix the bill.” Are they going to remove all the provisions that do the following: terrorize gun sellers by applying a negligence standard to them, order a study on whether to ban even more ammunition, order a second study which could set a precedent for registering ammunition, allow FBI “fishing expeditions” into one’s financial and travel records, allow government officials to benefit from illegal wiretaps done in “good faith,” allow the government to use secret evidence in court in some circumstances, limit the right of gun owners to appeal bad court decisions and federalize many state crimes?


* Call Rep. Armey and urge him to squelch this bill. Ask him to keep it from coming to the floor. We don’t need a bill that threatens gun owners rights in the many ways listed above. If he says he’s going to fix the bill, ask for details. If the answer you get is not to your satisfaction, demand he hold back the bill. Call him at 1-800-962-3524, 1-800-872-8513, or 202-225-7772, fax: 202-225-7614.

Also Beware: The House leadership is also trying to sell this bill as a “crime bill.” Some Republican offices are coming under pressure, being fearful of opposing a “crime bill.” Don’t let Hill offices tell you this is a “Contract with America” item. First, the real “Contract” with America is the U.S. Constitution. H.R. 2768 is unconstitutional. Secondly, calling it a crime bill does not make the provisions easier to swallow. Nothing has been changed — a skunk by any other name still smells the same. Remind your Representative that you still oppose the “government terror” bill, even though the leadership is now calling it a “crime bill.” Call your Representative at the 800 numbers above or 202-225-3121.