Jody Hice Wins Runoff Election!
Thousands of Gun Owners Stand and Say “I’m Larry Pratt”
The Anti-gun Left is coming unglued; frustrated by legislative defeats
NASCAR’s David Gilliland to Drive GOA Car at Irwindale Speedway this Saturday
Once Again, Gun Owners Like You Vanquish Reid and Obama
Round One of the Fight over S. 2363
Jody Hice Wins Runoff Election! -- Great news for gun owners across the country came out of an obscure Georgia runoff last night.

Read the Full Story
Thousands of Gun Owners Stand and Say “I’m Larry Pratt” -- Groundswell movement blasts Rep. Maloney for attacking Gun Owners of America

Read the Full Story
The Anti-gun Left is coming unglued; frustrated by legislative defeats

Read the Full Story
NASCAR’s David Gilliland to Drive GOA Car at Irwindale Speedway this Saturday -- Come out and bring the kids to Family Night!

Read the Full Story
Once Again, Gun Owners Like You Vanquish Reid and Obama -- Kudos go to Senators Paul, Cruz, Lee and Cornyn

Read the Full Story
Round One of the Fight over S. 2363 -- The Harry Reid Preservation Act

Read the Full Story
image Jody Hice Wins Runoff Election!
image Thousands of Gun Owners Stand and Say “I’m Larry Pratt”
image The Anti-gun Left is coming unglued; frustrated by legislative defeats
image NASCAR’s David Gilliland to Drive GOA Car at Irwindale Speedway this Saturday
image Once Again, Gun Owners Like You Vanquish Reid and Obama
image Round One of the Fight over S. 2363

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GOA News

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Open Letter

An Open Letter to Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney

July 23, 2014Rep. Carolyn Maloney
United States House of Representatives
2308 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515Dear Ms. Maloney:It has recently come to my attention that you have levied baseless accusations against me to the Capitol Police and House Sergeant-at-Arms, claiming that I have “called for death threats...

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Maloney

GOA Chides Rep. Maloney for Foolish Comments

GOA today chided Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) for her utter hypocrisy -- and lack of understanding -- regarding our key historical documents, like the Federalist Papers.Rep. Maloney has called for Capitol Hill law enforcement to Read More...
ATF

ATF Backs Down on Gun Sale Reports

(American Thinker) -- For nearly three years, federally-licensed firearms dealers (“FFLs”) in southern border states have been badgered by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (“ATF”) to report sales of two or more rifles to the same person during any consecutive five-day period. Purporting to need this information to stop arms...

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Open Carry

GOA Supports the Texas “Open Carry” Movement

Gun Owners of America has come out in strong support of efforts by Texas gun owners to combat anti-gun bigotry by exercising their rights to carry openly in public. The Executive Director of GOA told the Wall Street Journal:  “I see open carry as a positive thing...” Pratt went on to say that gun owners should “consider what’s the...

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Self-Defense Corner

Top Headline

Who says it never happens? Concealed carrier stops Craigslist robbery at Stroud Mall (Pennsylvania)

It started with a Craigslist listing. It ended with a concealed carrier stopping a stun gun wielding robber.A Pennsylvania man agreed to sell his cell phone to someone through Craigslist on Tuesday (June 10th). He followed the usual safety rules by meeting at a heavily trafficked, public facility...

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SC Resident Uses Gun to Stop Possible Killing Spree of Recently Released Convict

Lancaster County, SC – 29 year old Jermaine Grier (pictured) was just released from prison on June 2nd after serving his most recent sentence in prison. According to The State, South Carolina’s Homepage, Grier was no stranger to the criminal justice system,"Grier’s criminal history dates back to 2002 when...

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When they yelled 'get the AR', four intruders ran - 1 got trapped in the bathroom (Indiana)

It's the exact scenario gun control advocates say "will never happen" to you - 5 intruders wearing masks, at least two of them armed, forced their way into a Fort Wayne, Indiana residence when the owner answered the door. One of the intruders, Nathan L. Simmerson (pictured above) ran up the stairs...

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By the Time Armed Thug Saw Quick-Thinking Homeowner Crouching and Holding an AR-15, It Was Too Late

Jonathan Haith says he was sleeping in his Henderson, North Carolina, home on Monday morning when heard a light knock on his backdoor. He ignored the noise at first — but a second louder noise coming from the “laundry room area” got his attention in a hurry. The loud bang was the sound...

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Detroit Thugs Shoot Grandma Three Times – Seconds Later, They Learn Why Her Nickname Is Now ‘Rambo’

A pair of Detroit thugs obviously had no idea who they were messing with when they targeted Paris Ainsworth, a 51-year-old grandma who carries a .45 caliber handgun. There’s a reason her siblings now jokingly refer to her as “Rambo.” Ainsworth had just arrived home after working...

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4/95 GOA Fights Proposed EPA Lead Ammo Ban

    "GOA was instrumental in generating Congressional opposition to the EPA's lead bullet ban."
    -- Rep. Bill Emerson (R-MO)

AN OLD ADAGE states, "There is more than one way to skin a cat." Gun banning zealots have adopted a variation: "There is more than one way to gun control."

Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY) understands this well. "Gun's don't kill people," he writes, "bullets kill people." The Senator argues that firearms can last many lifetimes but ammunition, on the other hand, is essentially disposable. If the supply can be curtailed, firearms will be reduced to mere decorations.

While Sen. Moynihan and his devotees may have been quelled somewhat by the November elections, many still remain in Washington that are all too willing to pick up the slack. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for one, appears eager to take up Moynihan's cause.

Under the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) of 1976, the EPA is conducting comprehensive studies to determine the effect of lead on the environment. Included in these studies is a close look at the environmental impact of lead ammunition.

The EPA argues that as the lead bullet is dispersed from a firearm, it eventually finds its way into the ground, and therefore falls under its purview. This, along with the fact that the agency is predisposed to rule in favor of banning lead ammo, could spell bad news for gun owners. However, although it may come as a surprise to some at the EPA, a lot of people, including many Members of Congress, believe that the lead ban proposal goes well beyond the authority of the agency.
Congressional opposition

Rep. Bill Emerson (R-MO) has been battling the EPA for years on this issue. "The EPA is trying to ban lead ammo, and no matter which way you look at it, that equals gun control. It's very clear that the law-abiding gun owner is being attacked on every side," Rep. Emerson told The Gun Owners.

In an effort to thwart the ban, GOA worked with Rep. Emerson to mobilize Congressional opposition. Emerson wrote a letter to EPA Administrator Carol Browner, and GOA worked to get 52 Representatives to sign their names to it in the few days available for comment.

"We believe this is clearly an issue that falls outside the purview of the EPA," writes Emerson. "More importantly ... this proposal seriously infringes upon the right of American citizens afforded them in the Second Amendment. It is obvious to us that if lead ammunition is severely restricted or banned, then the EPA is effectively infringing on our right to keep and bear arms."

Emerson also challenged the agency's scientific data and its interpretation of TSCA. "The agency has done studies that they say prove lead is a major problem. Others have done studies which challenge the EPA's findings. But it's like the agency has a one-track mind: It wants to ban lead ammo," said Rep. Emerson.
GOA members make their voices heard

Congress is not alone in voicing opposition to the proposed ban. The EPA received so much E-mail from GOA members (in response to GOA FAX Alerts) that EPA Director of Chemical Management Division, John Melone, asked for a meeting with GOA Executive Director Larry Pratt (another example of how your calls, faxes and letters can influence Washington politics!)

In this meeting, Melone emphasized that the proposal was a Significant New Use Rule (SNUR) and would not affect lead ammo because it is considered an existing use. However, when Pratt questioned the EPA's motives for singling out ammunition for its studies, Melone admitted that a "significant increase" in the volume of lead in the market could be considered a "new use," and could therefore fall under severe restrictions or prohibition.

EPA Administrator Carol Browner also was compelled to respond officially, thanks in large part to GOA members. "[The] EPA has not banned, nor does it plan to ban, the manufacture or use of lead ammunition," says Browner in a written statement.

If that is true, then several questions arise, such as why does the EPA classify lead shot ammo as one of "five priority classes" which are candidates for being regulated if in fact the agency has no intention of regulating the industry? And why is the agency conducting its studies under the heading of "health risks to children"? If nothing else, the EPA will have laid the groundwork for prohibiting lead ammo because of a supposed threat to children.

Lest anyone get the impression that this battle is merely an intellectual or scientific debate, it would be helpful to point out just a few cases where environmental extremism is taking away guns, closing down businesses and disrupting people's lives.
GOA helps reopen Texas shooting range

In Fort Bend, Texas, the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (TNRCC, a state version of the EPA) was a party in a suit filed against Bob Arwady, owner of a local shooting range.

The TNRCC claimed that lead bullets coming from the range were contaminating the environment by degrading the land and water in a drainage ditch behind the shooting barriers. Arwady "voluntarily" closed the range under the threat of a $25,000 fine for each round fired.

At that point GOA was made aware of the situation. GOA members in the area were contacted and encouraged to attend the TNRCC meeting on behalf of Arwady. So many people showed up at the hearing that a loudspeaker had to be placed outside the building because of the overflow.

A GOA alert also found its way into the hands of Dr. Peter Proctor, a board certified medical toxicologist. Subsequently, Dr. Proctor submitted a letter on behalf of Arwady, and volunteered to testify on his behalf.

In his research of over 5,000 scientific papers, Dr. Proctor "could find no reference to outdoor shooting ranges as significant sources of environmental lead." Dr. Proctor went on to say that the lead found in ammunition is entirely different than the lead associated with poisoning. In fact, many people have carried bullet fragments in their bodies for years without suffering any lead poisoning, Proctor noted.

Arwady also received assistance from Congressman Steve Stockman (R-TX) who wrote the TNRCC to voice his concerns about the state encroaching on individual property rights. Other legislators lending assistance to Arwady included pro-gun State Representatives John Culberson, Charles Howard and Mike Jackson, as well as State Senators Kenneth Armbrister and Drew Nixon.

The TNRCC, apparently a bit embarrassed over the incident, then denied being party to the suit brought against Arwady.

But Portia Poindexter, Fort Bend Assistant County Attorney, told the Houston Post that in fact, "the TNRCC is a necessary and indispensable party" to this case.

More recently, the TNRCC tried to change its tune altogether. It now claims the problem with the range is not an environmental issue, but with stray bullets hitting people. However, people being struck by stray bullets was not mentioned in the suit filed against Arwady.

Currently, the shooting range is preparing to re-open, which according to Arwady is due to GOA's involvement.

"When I asked GOA for help, they were quick to respond. GOA was the only organization that went to bat for me, generating pressure on the TNRCC to drop the case," said Arwady.
Gun manufacturers put on notice

Perhaps even more incredible is a situation that exists currently in California. Health and Safety Code Section 25249.5 requires a "warning before exposure to chemicals known to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity."

Acting in the 'public interest," the Pacific Justice Center, a so-called watchdog civil rights organization, eagerly interpreted the code to mean gun manufacturers were required to put warning labels on their firearms.

When a gun is fired, said William Verrick of the Pacific Justice Center, "the shooter and those around him are exposed to dangerous levels of lead." Consequently, the group has notified several gun manufacturers in other states that they are in violation of the code. But here again, studies have been done that contradict the California statute.

The DO-IT Corp., located in Denver, Iowa, is a manufacturer of lead fishing lure molds. According to company president and GOA member Jerry Bond, DO-IT underwent an industrial hygiene inspection to determine the impact on employees who were exposed to lead virtually the entire workday.

The test, conducted by the Iowa Bureau of Labor, included placing a breathing apparatus near the employees' heads, which was worn the entire workday. The results of the test showed that lead was "not detectable" in the air breathed by the employees.

The DO-IT study tested employees who work full-time in a lead manufacturing plant, an enclosed environment with an obviously high concentration of lead material. If they were not harmed by lead exposure, it can hardly be argued that shooters or people around shooters are in any toxic danger due to exposure.

In spite of these clear abuses of authority at the state level, the EPA adamantly asserts that it will not abuse its authority. That may be so, but history gives us no expectation that federal agencies are less intrusive than state agencies. Here are some steps you can take to help protect our gun rights from environmental agencies:

* Stay informed -- extremist actions take place all around us. Know what's going on in your local community and voice opposition to these various forms of gun control.

* Keep GOA informed. We don't always know what is going on out there unless you tell us.

* Make copies of this article and pass them around to family and friends.
BATF Hearings Scheduled for May

One of GOA's top priorities this year was to get hearings investigating the abuses conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

In meetings with legislators on the Hill earlier this year, GOA lobbyists asked several Representatives to go to Rep. Henry Hyde, head of the House Judiciary Committee, and ask him to conduct such hearings.

At first, Representatives reported there was a definite lack of interest on the part of Rep. Hyde and that he was going to require a "lot of persuasion." But as the constant flow of legislators went to Hyde, the opposition to holding BATF hearings gradually diminished.

Rep. Helen Chenoweth (R-ID) was one of the prime instigators who pushed hard to get hearings.

"It is high-time that we had hearings on the BATF," Chenoweth said. "The BATF has provoked armed conflicts in Waco, Texas and in my home state of Idaho. The result has been dead men, women and children."

As this newsletter goes to press, hearings on BATF abuses are now scheduled for late May. A special Firearms Legislation Task Force has been formed and it will report directly to Rep. Bill McCollum (R-FL), head of the House Crime Subcommittee.

The task force members include the following Republican Representatives: Bob Barr (GA), Steve Stockman (TX), Helen Chenoweth (ID), Roscoe Bartlett (MD), Ed Bryant (TN), and Fred Heineman (NC).
BATF hearings long overdue

To underscore how badly these hearings are needed, Rep. McCollum -- the man who is overseeing the hearings -- has publicly expressed doubts as to whether the BATF has committed any abuses in the past.

On February 8, McCollum told colleagues on the House floor that his subcommittee would be holding hearings on "the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms . . . and on some of these alleged rights violations, which may be very real or maybe are not."

Similarly, Rep. Jim Lightfoot (R-IA) had high words of praise for the BATF. Responding to Rep. Harold Volkmer's harsh criticism of the BATF, Lightfoot said that BATF agents are just average Americans trying to make a living:

"Not being the boot-jacked Gestapo, as they were described earlier, they [the BATF] are good, hardworking Federal employees who have families, men and women with children, who are trying to make a living and do what they think is right," said Rep. Lightfoot.

Lightfoot is the ranking chairman for the Appropriations subcommittee that oversees BATF.

The public display of affection that some Republicans showed for the BATF was so startling that even Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) had to take a jab:

    We have just heard virtually every one on the Republican side rise to speak in praise of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, to defend the actions in Waco, to defend the actions in Idaho. Now, it had not previously been my experience that Republicans were as supportive of the law enforcement efforts of the Clinton adminis- tration. . . . Republicans, who on the whole when they were in the minority were quite critical of virtually all the actions of the administration, now they are in the majority . . . find virtues heretofore unchronicled in various of the Clinton administration entities. I want to say that I am pleased to welcome this spirit of constructiveness.

Clearly, the BATF hearings scheduled for May are long overdue. Many Congressmen need to see how abusive many agencies in the federal government have become. Far from protecting the Bill of Rights, many agencies have specialized in attacking the very rights they have sworn to defend.

The Congressional hearings will specifically look into the federal abuses committed in Idaho and Waco, Texas, as well as the many cases where the BATF has unduly harassed law-abiding Americans.

The hearings on BATF conduct will be a part of a bigger effort to look at gun rights and the failure of gun control. The House is also expected to begin consideration of the semi-auto ban repeal in May. While prospects of passing the bill are extremely good in the House, the chances of getting the repeal through the Senate and past the President are rather slim.

"Our best chance of enacting a semi-auto ban repeal is to first attach the repeal provision to a 'must-pass' piece of legislation," said GOA Executive Director Larry Pratt.

Several pro-gun Democratic legislators have told GOA that they strongly believe the President will sign a gun ban repeal if it is part of a larger, more popular bill. Among reasons they cited was the fact that so many Democratic legislators lost their seats during the last election because of their support for gun control.

Pratt assured that, "There will be many opportunities to get the repeal measure onto a 'must-pass' bill, and we are already working with Congressmen who want to offer the repeal measure as an amendment." Please stay tuned.
H.R. 666 a "Green Light" for Massive Gun Sweeps

On February 8, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 666, a bill that would allow evidence seized by officers in an illegal search to be included in a trial if they can claim they were acting in "good faith." Critics charge that the bill would give officers the opportunity to harass law-abiding citizens since the bill removes the incentives for officers to first secure a warrant.

On that same day, pro-gun Rep. Harold Volkmer (D-MO) introduced an amendment to exempt the BATF from getting these expanded powers. Mr. Volkmer defended his amendment saying that without it, the bill will give the BATF a "green light" to conduct warrantless searches and confiscate guns.

"They [will] not have to go to the magistrate and get a warrant for anything," Volkmer said. "They [can] just go right in there and bust those doors down and go in and take the guns."

Gun Owners of America sent a letter to every Representative before the vote warning them that a vote against this amendment would be counted as an anti-gun vote. Volkmer helped publicize GOA's position by reading the letter on the House floor. The Volkmer amendment passed 228-198. (See vote below.)

The day after the vote, special agent Robert Switzer, who is in charge of the BATF office in St. Paul, Minnesota, said he was "embarrassed" by the House's decision to set ATF aside from every other law enforcement agency. "What would the Director of the FBI do if that happened to the FBI?" Switzer asked.

Switzer said that he and every other Special Agent in Charge that he has spoken with supports merging the ATF with the Secret Service. "I would like to work for and retire from a real law enforcement organization, not a regulatory agency," Switzer said.

As gun owners were cheering the February 8 vote on the Volkmer amendment, House leaders were predicting the provision would be stripped in the Senate. In early March, the Senate began hearings on legislation similar to H.R. 666. The two Senate bills that deal with "good faith" exceptions for police officers are S. 3 and S. 54.
House Democrats fear H.R. 666 will encourage warrantless searches

Critics of H.R. 666 say the legislation will remove the deterrents which prevent officers from conducting warrantless searches. The bill allows an officer to violate the Fourth Amendment if the officer has an "objectively reasonable belief" that he is acting in "good faith." Some claim that this "objective" standard will allow judges to easily determine whether officers acted properly or not.

The problem is that in many cases, it will be impossible to verify what the officer's "objective belief" really was, and the test will in fact become quite subjective. Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL), speaking in favor of this legislation, said that under H.R. 666 the defendant will have the burden of proving that the law enforcement officer "could not have reasonably believed that he was acting in conformity with the fourth amendment."

Notice that the defendant will have the burden of trying to prove what the law enforcement officer "believed"! Officers can easily concoct "objective" reasons after the fact to justify an illegal search. The defense then has to prove that the officer actually knew he was not acting properly; they will have to delve into the officer's mind and show what he was really thinking.

Currently, one protection afforded by the "exclusionary rule" is that evidence seized during an illegal search will be excluded from trial.(1) But under H.R. 666, evidence seized from an otherwise illegal search could be introduced in a trial if the officers can show they were acting in "good faith." In essence, officers could easily find something to justify their actions after the fact.

The BATF is notorious for doing this already.

In June of 1971, four BATF officers burst into the home of Ken Ballew. The tragic events which followed show clearly how renegade officers will always try to justify their actions after brutalizing the innocent. Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) explained on the House floor what happened: BATF first entered an apartment upstairs where they held a shotgun at the head of some 8-year-old children. When they found they had raided the wrong place, they then went downstairs, and they broke through a back door in the man's home. . . . They seized the man's wife and threw her into the hall in only her underpants. Mr. Ballew was coming out of the shower with a cap and ball revolver seeking to defend his home and his wife against a noisy band of intruders who bore no indicia of their service as law enforcement officers.

The result? BATF officers shot Mr. Ballew in the head. If he is still alive today, he is disabled and still partially paralyzed, incapable of speech -- and unlike Jim Brady, he has never been available for Congressional testimony.

After the assault, the officers quickly began justifying their actions. Dingell explains:

    They [the BATF officers] went outside, still dressed as hippies with beards and in scruffy clothes, and at which time they first put on their BATF armbands to show that they were law enforcement officers engaged in proper exercise of their legal authority, and that they had given proper warning to the individual of their authority which, in fact, they had not.

The officers immediately tried to justify their actions. And while Mr. Ballew did not have illegal evidence, this case clearly demonstrates how officers will always want to justify their actions. It's human nature. At times, they may even be willing to lie.

"Indeed, the [Ballew raid] was classed as a training exercise," Rep. Dingell explained. "This whole unfortunate matter was covered up under the aegis of Mr. Connelly, the then-Secretary of the Treasury."

This legislation will encourage cover ups. It will encourage warrantless searches and seizures, and the subsequent justification of actions. If this legislation becomes law, officers may find it's much easier to justify their actions after they've collected substantial evidence from an innocent victim, rather than demonstrating ahead of time to a judge that they have probable cause.

What if "illegal" evidence had been found in Mr. Ballew's apartment? Would that mean that Mr. Ballew -- an otherwise law-abiding, decent person -- was in reality a violent thug? Hardly. Would, say, an "illegal" handgun found in his apartment have justified the treatment that Mr. Ballew received? Never. But could the BATF have invented reasons after the fact to "show" their raid was executed in good faith? Probably.

Some will say that honest people would never have illegal evidence in their possession. But does such a claim stand historical scrutiny?
H.R. 666 will lead to harassing of law-abiding citizens

Some have claimed that decent people will never have contraband items. These folks argue that this reform measure only seeks to stop criminals from getting off on technicalities; that honest people will never have illegal evidence that needs to be suppressed.

In the first place, the Fourth Amendment (and the exclusionary rule) were not designed to protect the guilty, they were intended to protect the innocent from invasion by renegade officials. Not surprisingly, government studies have found that only a small percentage of criminals (less than one percent) ever benefit from having evidence suppressed because it was obtained illegally.

The question is, should we sacrifice the security of all law-abiding citizens because less than one percent of the criminals may inadvertently benefit? Many Americans are in possession of guns, that while protected by the Second Amendment, are "illegal" because of local anti-gun laws. Even Congressmen have been known to run afoul of the law because they owned such "illegal" evidence.

Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) was caught illegally carrying a handgun in Northern Virginia in 1994. Fortunately for him, he was not caught near his home in the District where the handgun is illegal and would have netted Mr. Hinchey a much more serious penalty.

Also in 1994, The Washington Times reported that Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) owned one of the rifles covered by the "assault weapons" ban. The gun, which was reportedly located at Sen. Rockefeller's D.C. home, is illegal under D.C. law.

And then there are several well-known cases from the private sector. For example, Carl Rowan and Bernard Goetz are decent and upstanding citizens. Both exercised their constitutional right to protect themselves, and in doing so, both were caught with "illegal" evidence.

Carl Rowan used an unregistered handgun to shoot a trespasser in his backyard. The 1988 shooting occurred in Washington, D.C. where such firearms are strictly controlled. And Bernard Goetz used an "illegal" handgun to shoot several attackers on a New York City subway in 1984. A jury acquitted Goetz on assault charges, ruling that he acted in self-defense. Nevertheless, he was convicted of possessing an "illegal" firearm and sent to jail.

Carl Rowan and Bernard Goetz -- both are decent people who exercised their constitutional right to protect themselves. If either person had been subject to warrantless searches before they used their guns for self-defense, officers would have found a gold-mine of "illegal evidence." But were these people really criminals? Hardly.

And yet, H.R. 666 gives a green light to anti-gun officials who want to harass law-abiding gun owners. In the name of getting tough on crime, constitutional protections will be thrown out the window and otherwise honest citizens can be persecuted by their government.
Congress should curtail, not encourage, warrantless searches

In Chicago, police have conducted routine sweeps through apartment complexes, entering homes without warrants to search for guns. Any guns found are "illegal evidence" in a city that prohibits most firearms which could be used for self-defense.

Under H.R. 666, there are no protections and no disincentives to keep police from conducting warrantless searches. As explained by Rep. Harold Volkmer (D-MO):

    [Officers will] not have to go to the magistrate and get a warrant for anything. They [can] just go right in there and bust those doors down and go in and take the guns and if they find something illegal, they say 'Hey, we gotcha.' And if they do not find anything illegal, they say 'sorry.' Sometimes they do not even say that, folks.

How will police be dissuaded under this legislation? Currently, police are deterred from conducting warrantless searches because illegal evidence is thrown out at trial. But under H.R. 666, these disincentives are removed.
Senate "punishments" will not provide a deterrent

Some have put forth the argument that illegal evidence found should be admitted in trial, with the subsequent punishment of any officer that violated procedures. This is the approach of a similar bill, S. 3, but it is destined to fail.

Consider that in Waco, Texas and Ruby Ridge, Idaho, people were killed -- and yet the offending officials only received wrist slaps. The two commanding officers for the BATF, while originally fired for lying to cover up their actions, were subsequently rehired. And in Idaho, a mother and son were killed, and yet the Justice Department has repeatedly defended the actions of the offending agents.

If the agencies in question will only slap wrists when people have been killed, will these same agencies be any more forceful when the infraction is just a mere procedural violation? The provisions in S. 3 requiring the agency to conduct an in-house investigation is hardly a deterrent!

Throughout this nation's history, non-violent Americans have been harassed for possessing items such as gold, booze, excessive cash, certain handguns, rifles and shotguns, and much more. The Founding Fathers certainly faced this scourge.

And thus, they crafted the Bill of Rights as a way of erecting a barrier between the government and the people. The Bill of Rights assume that government officials will not always act in "good faith." And rather than having citizens open their home to any inquisitive officer who might want to search for "illegal" evidence, it is the government that should be forced to open its doors to the inspection by its master -- the people.

Case after case can be given of government officials sealing records, withholding evidence, burying damaging reports -- in short, shielding their actions from public scrutiny. Again, it should not be the law-abiding citizens who must live in fear of their government, rather, the servants must be held accountable to their masters.

H.R. 666, S. 3 and S. 54 turn the Bill of Rights on its head. Not only are they an attack on the Fourth Amendment, they will endanger the Second Amendment as well. Gun owners should contact their legislators and express their opposition to these bills.

This article is part of a longer Fact Sheet on H.R. 666. If you would like to order this Fact Sheet, which comes complete with footnotes, write to GOA, Dept. H, 8001 Forbes Place, Suite 102, Springfield, VA 22151. Ask for the Fact Sheet on H.R. 666. Please enclose $3 for copying, shipping and handling expenses. Or grab it from here at H.R. 666 and the Assault on the Bill of Rights.

1. While the exclusionary rule is not technically a part of the Fourth Amendment, advocates point out that it has historically been the best way to enforce the guarantees which protect honest citizens in their "persons, houses, papers, and effects." The exclusionary rule says that illegally obtained evidence cannot be introduced at trial, and thus, it provides the best deterrent against government abuse. In essence, one could view the exclusionary rule as that which puts teeth into the Fourth Amendment guarantees, just like the "no prior restraints" doctrine -- which says officials cannot restrain freedom of speech, press, etc. prior to publication -- enforces the guarantees in the First Amendment. (The "no prior restraints" doctrine was articulated by the Supreme Court in Near v. Minnesota, 1931.)
Did Your Rep. Vote for the Beast?

On February 8, 1995, the House of Representatives voted on an H.R. 666 amendment -- introduced by Rep. Harold Volkmer (D-MO). The amendment would prevent the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms from conducting searches and seizures in violation of the Fourth Amendment. Under the provisions of H.R. 666, law enforcement officers will be able to conduct such searches if they act in "good faith." Rep. Volkmer defended his amendment saying that without it, the bill will give the BATF a "green light" to conduct warrantless searches. "They [will] not have to go to the magistrate and get a warrant for anything," Volkmer said. "They [can] just go right in there and bust those doors down and go in and take the guns." The Volkmer amendment passed 228-198.

The following Representatives voted anti-gun by voting AGAINST the Volkmer amendment in the House:

Abercrombie    Cunningham     Hefley         Lowey       Rohrabacher
Andrews        Davis          Heineman       Lucas       Ros-Lehtinen  
Archer         Deal           Hilleary       Luther      Roukema
Armey          DeLauro        Hobson         Maloney     Royce  
Bachus         DeLay          Hoekstra       Manton      Sanford
Baesler        Deutsch        Hoke           Manzullo    Sawyer
Baker (CA)     Diaz-Balart    Horn           Markey      Saxton  
Baker (LA)     Dickey         Hostettler     Martini     Schiff
Ballenger      Dixon          Houghton       McCollum    Schumer
Barr           Doggett        Hoyer          McCrery     Sensenbrenner   
Barrett(NE)    Dornan         Hutchinson     McDade      Shadegg
Barton         Dreier         Hyde           McHale      Shaw    
Bateman        Ehlers         Inglis         McKeon      Shays
Beilenson      Ehrlich        Johnson (CT)   McNulty     Skeen   
Bentsen        English        Johnson (SD)   Meyers      Smith (MI)   
Bereuter       Eshoo          Johnston       Mfume       Smith (NJ)                                                     
Berman         Everett        Jones          Mica        Smith (TX)   
Bilbray        Ewing          Kaptur         Miller (FL) Talent
Blute          Fawell         Kasich         Molinari    Taylor (NC)   
Boehlert       Flanagan       Kennelly       Moran       Thomas
Boehner        Ford           Kim            Morella     Torkildsen   
Bonilla        Fowler         King           Myrick      Torricelli   
Bono           Fox            Kingston       Neal        Upton  
Brownback      Frank (MA)     Kleczka        Nethercutt  Waldholtz
Bryant (TN)    Franks (NJ)    Knollenberg    Neumann     Walker
Bunning        Frelinghuysn   Kolbe          Norwood     Wamp  
Burr           Gallegly       LaFalce        Nussle      Ward  
Buyer          Ganske         Lantos         Owens       Watts (OK)                                                             
Calvert        Gekas          Largent        Oxley       Weldon (FL)     
Canady         Gibbons        Latham         Packard     Weldon (PA)     
Cardin         Gilchrest      LaTourette     Pallone     Weller
Castle         Gillmor        Lazio          Paxon       White  
Chabot         Goodlatte      Leach          Porter      Wolf  
Chambliss      Goodling       Lewis (CA)     Portman     Wyden  
Christensen    Goss           Lewis (KY)     Pryce       Yates  
Clinger        Greenwood      Lightfoot      Quinn       Young (FL)    
Coble          Gunderson      Linder         Radanovich  Zeliff
Collins(GA)    Hansen         Livingston     Ramstad     Zimmer
Cox            Hastert        LoBiondo       Regula      
Coyne          Hayworth       Longley        Rivers
            

Brady Law a Huge Failure
Only four prosecutions at one-year mark

February 28 marked the one-year anniversary of the Brady law's enactment. And the results for gun control advocates were rather grim.

The Washington Post reported on February 24 that 40,000 or more people had been denied the ability to buy a handgun from a gun dealer. But of that number, only four have been prosecuted!

That means the other 39,996 people who were denied -- many of them denied illegitimately -- are still on the street and able to buy a gun.

"Where is the crime prevention? Where is the deterrent?" asked GOA Executive Director Larry Pratt in a statement to the press. "These results prove what pro-gun advocates have been saying all along. Violent criminals do not submit to background checks."

The overwhelming number of denials were apparently due to errors or to the fact that the buyer had committed a non-violent offense in the past.

Reuters news services quoted Pratt as saying, "The law has done nothing to curb violent crime, and has only hindered honest citizens who may be in imminent danger from purchasing a firearm to protect their lives and property."

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