ACTION: Fax or e-mail Senator Bob Smith (R-NH) and thank him for defending your rights (fax: 202-224-1353; e-mail:
(Friday, May 14, 1999) -- With anti-gun Democrats on the offensive, Republicans yesterday retreated and gave up significant 2nd Amendment ground. On two separate occasions, scores of Republicans crossed party lines to support gun control proposals. And on a third vote, several Republicans crossed over to give anti-gun Senators Schumer and Feinstein a victory in their efforts to ban the importation of high-capacity magazines. The words "shall not be infringed"-- the unmistakably clear language of the 2nd Amendment-- were repeatedly ignored.
* Young Adult Gun Ban. This ban, which passed 96-2, could severely punish parents who allowed their kids to even touch a so-called semi-automatic "assault weapon." [Senators Bob Smith and Mike Enzi voted 'NO,' while Sen. Inouye (HI) and Moynihan (NY) were absent yesterday.] While the amendment allows for certain exemptions, there are some imponderable questions which NO senator could answer, but which a parent would have to answer in order to avoid incarceration.
For example: What is a "semiautomatic assault weapon"? The definition-- plus exemptions-- takes up six pages of fine type in the U.S. Code. It is fairly easy for a gun manufacturer to determine what firearms he may or may not manufacture. It is considerably harder for a gun collector to determine which of the firearms already in his collection are "semiautomatic assault weapons" and which are not.
Second, a child can handle a banned semi-auto if he is in the "immediate and supervisory presence" of a parent or if he possess a written permission slip from the parent. But what happens when, during a target practice session, the parent walks to the car to retrieve more ammunition and the juvenile is no longer in the parent's "immediate" presence and he does not have a permission slip? A parent can receive 20 years in jail for this infraction. This will never happen, you say? Just ask Randy Weaver how an arcane law involving a mere possession infraction can affect one's life.
* Instant Registration Checks. The Senate voted 94-3 to allow this amendment to proceed. (Senators Inhofe (R-OK), Smith (NH) and Enzi (WY) were the only ones voting right.) This amendment will force the instant registration check system upon gun sales that occur between PRIVATE sellers and PRIVATE buyers at gun shows.
The number one danger here-- besides being an infringement of the 2nd Amendment-- is the threat of gun owner registration. According to government studies from 1989 onwards, any background check can lead to registration, despite legal prohibitions. If this provision becomes law, expect anti-gunners to start complaining about the next Brady "loophole"-- that is, private individuals buying and selling guns outside of a gun show (say, in a home) without a background check. By closing all the "loopholes," gun grabbers can thereby register ALL gun owners in America.
* Republicans Preemptively Surrender to Chuck Schumer. Republican Sen. John Ashcroft (MO) introduced the young adult gun ban, while four other Republicans [Hatch (UT), Craig (ID), McCain (AZ) and Gordon Smith (OR)] sponsored the amendment requiring background checks at gun shows. But Republicans weren't the only force in town trying to appease the Democrats. The Associated Press reported that "Craig, a member of the National Rifle Association board of directors, said the organization had 'grudgingly' agreed" to the gun show amendment.
By a voice vote, the Senate yesterday voted to ban the importation of magazines holding more than 10 rounds. (Earlier, the Senate defeated a motion to kill the amendment by a vote of 59-39.) While anti-gun Senators claimed these magazines were impractical for "hunting," they dared not discuss the positive self-defense benefits of these magazines-- like how such clips gave the Korean merchants in Los Angeles the needed firepower to fend off rioters in 1992 when the police were retreating from the riot-torn areas of the city.
Republicans who sold out on the magazine ban need to hear from you! Among the 59 supporters were Abraham (MI), Bennett (UT), Chafee (RI), Collins (ME), Coverdell (GA), DeWine (OH), Domenici (NM), Fitzgerald (IL), Frist (TN), Grassley (IA), Gregg (NH), Hutchinson (AR), Lugar (IN), Nickles (OK), Roth (DE), Sessions (AL), Gordon Smith (OR), Voinovich (OH), & Warner (VA).
Republicans are now trying to limit the number of remaining amendments that can be offered to Orrin Hatch's juvenile crime bill (S. 254). While he may be denied, Senator Smith (NH) is still trying to offer his lawsuit prevention amendment.
On Wednesday, there was some beneficial legislation which passed, including a watered-down version of last year's Smith bill [attempting to curtail FBI tax and registration schemes] and legislation affecting pawn shops and gun dealers.
* Remind Senators of their Oath of Office. More votes are expected in the Senate today-- including final passage of the gun show provision. Remind your Senators (202-224-3121; http://www.gunowners.org/s106th.htm for fax and e-mail info) of some obvious points: our highest law says the "right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." Voting for infringements of our 2nd Amend. rights is an act of lawlessness. Vote "NO" on ANY and ALL gun control.