GOA warned you last month about a very dangerous provision in the DoD authorization bill (H.R. 4205). This provision would have allowed the Defense Department to collect and destroy certain privately owned militaria -- including your M1 Carbine, 1903 Springfield, Colt SAA, and more.
The House passed the bill yesterday on a 382-31 vote, and GOA is happy to report that the "demil" provision has been stricken. There are three reasons for this:
* First, you guys rang the phones off the hook over the last month. Thanks to your involvement, legislators on Capitol Hill quickly learned there was a problem in the DoD bill and worked to satisfy their unhappy constituents.
* Second, Rep. John Hostettler (R-IN).
* Third, Sen. Bob Smith (R-NH).
Both Hostettler and Smith worked tirelessly to make sure this dangerous demilitarization provision was removed from the bill. Gun owners should thank them for their efforts.
In other good news, Rep. Hostettler succeeded in keeping pro-gun language in the same DoD bill. Hostettler amended this bill in May when he inserted language to bar the Department of Defense from giving Smith & Wesson preferential treatment in government contracts.
As one of the conference-committee members, Hostettler was instrumental in keeping this pro-gun provision in the bill. Thus, DoD will be prohibited by law, from rewarding the gun maker for the anti-gun deal that it cut with the Clinton administration in March -- an agreement that imposes all kinds of new gun control upon dealers and gun buyers.
Gun owners should thank Rep. Hostettler for his determined efforts to preserve our 2nd Amendment rights.
On August 28, 2000, BATF launched its most recent attack on the Second Amendment. Its proposed regulation (contained at page 52054 et seq. in the Federal Register of August 28, 2000) would require FFLs to conduct an annual gun inventory.
While not the obvious threat of other Clinton-Gore proposals, such as national gun registration, this proposed regulation nevertheless represents the most recent installment in efforts by the Clinton-Gore administration to inflict on the Second Amendment a "death by a thousand cuts."
It is therefore important that law-abiding gun owners make their voices heard with respect to this most recent unconstitutional, unjustifiable effort by this administration to harass its political opposition.
Here are some of the arguments against the regulation:
1. BATF gives no significant justification for inconveniencing law-abiding businesses. It cites "1,271 crime guns" which had been stolen without the theft having been reported. The problem is there is no evidence that the subsequent crimes committed with these guns could have been prevented or the guns more easily traced had the thefts been detected and reported. To the contrary, BATF appears to have been able to locate each shipper and trace each gun with no difficulty. How would a mandatory annual inventory improve this?
2. Contrary to BATF's misrepresentations, the burden on businesses of conducting an annual government-mandated inventory will be far greater than it asserts. Furthermore, the burden will fall on active dealers and inactive ones -- presumably for the purpose of further discouraging law-abiding Americans from holding federal firearms licenses.
3. BATF's ability to impose additional regulatory requirements in connection with the annual inspections are open-ended, and inspections could be required "[a]t any other time the Director of Industry Operations may in writing require" -- even if he decides to require daily inspections.
Small to medium size gun dealers could be easily harassed into early retirement, thus having the effect of "drying up the well" as far as the gun supply is concerned. The supply of gun dealers will be greatly reduced, resulting in higher gun prices. Moreover, the BATF will be able to focus its resources to crack down on the few remaining dealers in existence, as government studies will, no doubt, claim these few dealers are resulting in a high rate of sales to criminals.
4. Finally, BATF's efforts to micromanage the exercise of a constitutional right are unconstitutional. Its attempts to harass gun dealers -- and only gun dealers -- can only be viewed as analogous to prohibitively expensive regulatory burdens applied only to newspapers, to civil rights organizations, or to defense attorneys.
ACTION: The BATF is receiving comments from concerned Americans until November 27, 2000. Please consider using the above talking points to submit your comments in opposition to the regulations. Or view the regulations at http://www.atf.treas.gov/firearms/rules/notice902.pdf (with Acrobat Reader) on the internet and formulate your own letter in opposition.
There are two ways to submit your comments:
Mail: Chief, Regulations Division; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; P.O. Box 50221; Washington, DC 20091-0221; ATTN: Notice No. 902
NOTE: Written comments must be signed. E-mail comments must contain your name, mailing address, and e-mail address. They must also reference the notice number (No. 902) and be legible when printed on not more than three pages 8 1/2 x 11 inches in size. They will treat e-mail as originals and will not acknowledge receipt of e-mail.
Sheriff Richard Mack is the Director of Public Affairs for Gun Owners of America. Mack took the Brady Law to the Supreme Court where the judges agreed that the Feds could not force a local official to perform a background check. Sheriff Mack now has an electronic newsletter. Please stop by http://www.gunvote2000.com and look it over.