Anti-gun Advocates In Senate Seek Rules Changes

-- Action would clear the way for semi-auto bans, guns show bans, gun licensing, and ammunition bans

-- Action would clear the way for semi-auto bans, guns show bans, gun licensing, and ammunition bans

Monday, January 3, 2011


Make no mistake about it:  Procedure is power.

The reason we are not stuck with bans on semi-autos, gun shows and ammunition is because the U.S. Senate is structured so that whatever party is in the minority still retains procedural power to protect the rights of the citizenry against the "tyranny of the majority."

But on January 5, 2011, at the beginning of the new Congress, Senate Democrats are hatching a plan to decimate long-standing Senate rules in order to remove those protections.  

The linchpin of the plan would be a ruling by Senate President Joe Biden that the Senate is not a "continuing body" and therefore has NO rules -- other than whatever 53 Democrats and Independents might unilaterally adopt.

At the core of their efforts will be an attempt to abolish the "hold letter" -- at least as it currently exists.  Pro-gun senators have used "hold letters" in the past to kill proposed gun show bans, semi-auto bans, ammunition bans, gun licensing requirements, registration lists -- any number of anti-freedom initiatives.

Basically, a hold letter allows a single Senator to slow down movement on unconstitutional legislation, so that it can't be rammed through before the American people can voice their concerns.

Gun banners may also try to reduce the number of senators required to shut off filibusters of anti-gun measures.  And they will do this in the expectation that the Second Amendment community has been preoccupied during the holidays and, thus, won't mobilize in time to stop the plan.

Again, procedure is power.  The rules that currently exist in the Senate have been designed to slow down unconstitutional legislation -- and this is in keeping with our concept of checks and balances.  Thus, not all rules changes are automatically bad, since anything that slows down the galloping herd of gun control is a good thing and should be supported.  

To this end, Senator Jim DeMint may offer an amendment to the rules that would prohibit anti-gun legislation from being passed in the Senate, unless two-thirds of all senators vote to consider it.  Now that's the kind of rules change that we can support!

ACTION:  Contact your two senators, and tell them the following:

First, resist efforts by the anti-gun Left to abolish or amend the Senate rules on January 5 in order to make it more difficult to filibuster anti-gun measures.

Second, oppose any attempt to abolish "hold letters," which have been used by pro-gun senators to kill a number of anti-freedom initiatives.

Third, support the amendment to the Senate rules by Senator Jim DeMint that would prohibit anti-gun legislation from being passed in the Senate, unless two-thirds of all senators vote to consider it.

There are two different pre-written letters for this alert -- one for Republicans and one for Democrats.

If you use GOA's Legislative Action Center to contact your Senators, the correct pre-written letter will AUTOMATICALLY be chosen.  If you choose to contact your Senators without going through the GOA website, then please make sure you choose the correct letter below for the correct Senator.


----- Pre-written letter to Republican Senators -----


Dear Senator:

The reason we are not stuck with bans on semi-autos, gun shows and ammunition is because the U.S. Senate is structured so that whatever party is in the minority still retains procedural power to protect the rights of the citizenry against the "tyranny of the majority."

But on January 5, 2011, at the beginning of the new Congress, the Senate Democratic leadership is hatching a plan to decimate the Senate rules.  

The linchpin of the plan would be a ruling by Senate President Joe Biden that the Senate is not a "continuing body" and therefore has NO rules -- other than whatever 53 Democrats and Independents might unilaterally adopt.

At the core of these efforts will be an attempt to abolish the "hold letter" -- at least as it currently exists.  Pro-gun senators have used hold letters in the past to kill proposed gun show bans, semi-auto bans, ammunition bans, gun licensing requirements, registration lists -- any number of anti-freedom initiatives.

Gun banners may also try to reduce the number of senators required to shut off filibusters of anti-gun measures.  And they will do this in the expectation that the Second Amendment community has been preoccupied during the holidays and, thus, won't mobilize in time to stop the plan.

I would ask you for the following:

First, resist efforts by the anti-gun Left to abolish or amend the Senate rules on January 5 in order to make it more difficult to filibuster anti-gun measures.

Second, oppose any attempt to abolish "hold letters," which have been used by pro-gun senators to kill a number of anti-freedom initiatives.

Third, support the amendment to the Senate rules by Senator Jim DeMint that would prohibit anti-gun legislation from being passed in the Senate, unless two-thirds of all senators vote to consider it.

Sincerely,


----- Pre-written letter to Democrat Senators -----

Dear Senator:

On January 5, 2011, at the beginning of the new Congress, there are some in the Senate leadership who are hatching a plan to decimate the Senate rules.  

The linchpin of the plan would be a ruling by Senate President Joe Biden that the Senate is not a "continuing body" and therefore has NO rules -- other than whatever 53 Democrats and Independents might unilaterally adopt.

At the core of these efforts will be an attempt to abolish the "hold letter" -- at least as it currently exists.  And, they may also try to reduce the number of senators required to shut off filibusters.

Ironically, these are the same senators who were, a half-decade ago, screaming at the prospects of Republicans and Vice President Dick Cheney changing the rules in order to expedite judicial nominations.  

Also ironic is the fact that the same Democrats who are so enthusiastic about squashing the rights of the minority might well be in the minority in the Senate after the next election.

I would ask you to resist efforts to abolish or amend any Senate rules that would make it more difficult to filibuster or place holds on legislation.  These valuable tools have a history of protecting the rights of all Americans.

Sincerely,