Newsletters 1994-2001

GOA Denounces Most Recent Clinton Gun Ban

In April President Clinton took another shot at the Constitution when he banned the importation of 58 semi-automatic firearms.

Spokesmen from Gun Owners of America immediately took to the air, condemning his actions on national talk shows and denouncing the ban, which covers designs based on AK-47, FN-FAL, HK 91 and 93, Uzi and SIG SG550 rifles.

 
Anti-gun Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) erupts during a March
debate after being challenged by Gun Owners of America's Executive
Director Larry Pratt (on the right).

"President Clinton has simply affirmed what he has always believed," said Larry Pratt, Executive Director of Gun Owners of America. "Clinton really believes that the Second Amendment is about duck hunting."

This recent gun ban also helps expose the incremental approach to banning guns that Sarah Brady's organization (HCI) has been pushing for years.

Indeed, in discussing the then-upcoming import ban last October, one White House official was quoted in the Los Angeles Times (10/22/97) as saying, "We are taking the law and bending it as far as we can to capture a whole new class of guns."

Rep. Paul's bill would undercut Clinton gun ban

GOA was quick to point out, however, that the blame for this ban does not entirely fall on the president's shoulders.

"Congress must repeal the unconstitutional sporting purposes test," said Pratt. "And the best way to do this is to pass Rep. Ron Paul's bill."

Pratt was referring to H.R. 2721, a bill in Congress that would repeal the sporting purposes provisions of the 1968 Gun Control Act.

"If Congress were to repeal that aspect of the '68 Act, the President would not be empowered to circumvent the Constitution by enforcing unconstitutional regulations," Pratt said.

"Sporting purposes" test fails to consider self-defense as a reason to own guns

The President has capitalized on provisions of the 1968 Act, stipulating that imported firearms must be "particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes."

This "sporting purposes" distinction is an unconstitutional hairsplitting that bans the import of some firearms merely because they are used to defend one's family, rather than to shoot deer.

"The Second Amendment protects hunters and sportsmen - but it does not exist ONLY to protect hunters and sportsmen," said Rep. Paul.

"Our Founders realized Americans would use firearms to protect themselves, their families, and their country."

The "sporting purposes" test, as Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership has shown, came right out of the 1938 Nazi Gun Control Act which in turn was used by the Nazis to disarm the Jews and then commit genocide.

Congress could revisit Presidential power grab

The battle over the recent gun ban began last November when President Clinton imposed a 120-day moratorium on the importation of these rifles.

The ban then became permanent after the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms issued a report in early April claiming that the 58 firearms in question did not fit a "sporting purpose."

Consequently, some Congressmen have begun discussing the possibility of defunding any administrative attempt at keeping such firearms out of the country.

Congress can amend the Treasury appropriations bill to defund the ability of any administrative official from keeping the above-mentioned firearms out of the country.

If such a legislative "rider" were placed on the appropriations bill, the Clinton ban would, in effect, be repealed.

While the defunding route is a stopgap approach, passing H.R. 2721 into law would prevent Presidents like Bill Clinton -- and George Bush before him - from imposing additional import bans.

Gun Owners of America will keep readers updated as more information becomes available.


Politicians Calling for More Gun Control in the Wake of Tragedy

Students at the New York City parochial high school had no reason to believe that the day would be anything but ordinary. Boys in jackets and ties sat studiously at their desks going about the day's assignments.

But Jim Carroll had plans to make this day very extraordinary.

Jim walked quietly into the classroom, and in a cold, calculated manner, shot six of his classmates.

Though it may sound eerily familiar to any of several recent school ground shootings that have been in the news, the Jim Carroll incident occurred only on the set of a Palm Pictures film in the mind of Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio. The movie is The Basketball Diaries.

In The Diaries, an aspiring teenager could learn how to sniff glue, shoot heroin, and even experience the macabre delectation of slaying one's classmates.

Mr. DiCaprio went on to film the movie Titanic.

Fourteen-year-old Michael Carneal, having watched The Diaries, went on to kill three students at his Paducah, Ky., high school.

Make believe and reality. The distinction is sometimes blurred.


Actor Leonardo DiCaprio in The Basketball Diaries, a movie
watched by Michael Carneal, who later killed three students
at a high school in Paducah, Ky.
 

Waiting period for the First Amendment?

In the wake of several recent school shootings, especially after the tragic shooting deaths of four students and a teacher at Westside Middle School in Jonesboro, Arkansas, experts of every stripe have been scrambling to find answers to the inexplicable. What is turning some children in this country into cold-blooded killers?

Some of the possible explanations that were offered were legitimate, complex answers to a complex problem. But most people do not like to deal with complexities.

For instance, some pundits suggested that taking morality out of the schools - in addition to banning any mention of the Ten Commandments (do not murder, etc.) - seemed like a logical place to look for root causes.

Others pointed to a combination of violence on television and in the movies, coupled with the possibility of copycat killings.

"A decade ago, the idea of shooting up a schoolyard wouldn't cross anyone's mind," James Fox, dean of criminal justice at Northeastern University, said in Time magazine.

"Now young people have prior examples. These kids [at Jonesboro] probably couldn't spell Paducah, but they've heard of it," said Mr. Fox.

Even Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee stated after the Jonesboro incident that the schoolyard killings resulted from a "national culture of violence fueled by film and television."

But violence in film is a tough issue to handle. What is too violent, and who makes that determination? Hollywood was self-governed for years (many believe sufficiently) but it is hard to expect that such a multi-billion dollar industry will show constraint to the detriment of the bottom line.

Many observers also pointed out that a lack of parental or adult supervision is a problem of practically epidemic proportions.

But after spending the past thirty years trying to get both parents out of the home, it would take a colossal admission of guilt on the part of many new age pundits to turn around and simply blame mom and dad for the problems with our young people.

A simpler solution was needed.

Media looks for a Southern scapegoat

Southern culture was impugned as a contributing factor in the Jonesboro incident (although one of the two boys grew up in Minnesota). The New York Times ominously described rural-to-suburban Jonesboro as a "place where guns and hunting are a way of life and young boys are brought up learning to shoot early."

Apparently, the link is that teaching responsible and safe firearms use to young people is raising up a generation of adolescent killers. But those closest to the Jonesboro incident quickly repudiated such a notion.

Jonesboro Mayor Hubert Brodell defended the shooting sports as an integral part of family life in that community. "It's a sport, like fishing," the Mayor said.

Rickey Elder, a 42-year-old paramedic at the scene told reporters, "You lay a gun on a table and a hundred years from now it will still be sitting there, unless someone touches it."

Westside Middle School principal Karen Curtner unequivocally maintained that mere access to firearms "had nothing to do with what happened."

The history of youth violence supports Mrs. Curtner's claim, and is one fact that would frustrate any gun control proponent who took the time to consider the evidence.

Gun control has resulted in more crime, not less

The undeniable reality about youth violence is that while gun control has increased dramatically over the past several decades, incidents of youth violence has not declined.

According to the gun control theory, there should be a corresponding drop in crime with the increased restrictions on firearms. But while firearms have never been more restricted in this country than now, society is actually less safe than it was thirty or forty years ago.

In fact, children in the not-so-distant past were actually encouraged to take firearms to school for rifle practice, carrying guns on subways and school buses. Yet, incidents of firearms- related violence were unheard of.

Nevertheless, the hue and cry over "access to firearms by young people" is almost deafening, appearing in literally hundreds of articles and opinion pieces across the country.

"There is more access to guns [today]," opined Pennsylvania State University psychologist Dr. Mark T. Greenburg, ignoring the fact that it is illegal for children under the age of 18 to possess a handgun without written parental permission.

"Access to firearms" played a critical role in the shooting, claimed Handgun Control Inc.'s Sarah Brady, although the youths had to resort to breaking and entering to gain access to the guns.

The preponderance of evidence indicates that there is no link between access to firearms and youth crime.

 
GOA spokesman John Velleco (left) debating David Pastenak of the
Coordinating Handgun Committee on Fox Cable News Network.
GOA was active in battling antigun activists following the tragic
deaths in Jonesboro, Arkansas.

Access to guns saves lives

Furthermore, John R. Lott Jr., law professor at the University of Chicago, points out that there is a societal down side to more and more laws limiting access to firearms and laws restricting where people can carry firearms.

"Consider a fact hardly mentioned during the massive new coverage of the October 1997 shooting spree at a high school in Pearl, Miss.," Professor Lott wrote in a recent Wall Street Journal piece.

"An assistant principal [Joel Myrick] retrieved a gun from his car and physically immobilized the gunman for a full four and a half minutes while waiting for the police to arrive. The gunman had already fatally shot two students (after earlier stabbing his mother to death). Who knows how many lives the assistant principal saved by his prompt response?"

Gun grabbers want to punish law-abiding gun owners

Of course, politicians in Washington were quick to jump on the "access" bandwagon, and even quicker to offer a legislative solution.

Senator Richard Durbin asked the rhetorical question on the Senate floor, "Why do children kill?" followed by the admission "I do not know the answer to that."

In spite of this admission, the Illinois Senator offered his own solution. "Here is what I'm proposing," Mr. Durbin told his colleagues and the C-SPAN audience. "I am proposing Federal legislation that will apply to every State" that requires gun owners to keep their firearms under lock and key.

California Senator Dianne Feinstein proposed legislation banning the sale of magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds, even if the magazines were made before a 1994 law which banned the future manufacture and sale of the magazines.

And the President himself used the Jonesboro tragedy as a platform when he banned the importation of 58 different semi-automatic rifles, even though none of the banned firearms were the type used in the school shootings.

The quick-fix mentality of legislators, whose only response to any situation is to pass more laws, has not gone unnoticed even by proponents of stricter gun control.

At the outset of a nearly full page analysis in the New York Times, writer Peter Applebome observed that "there can be something sadly diminished, and ultimately misleading, in the ritualized rush to instant judgment - or the rush to instant spin and advocacy - that follows each cataclysmic lurch of the news cycle.

And it is worth asking amid the flood of questions that the shootings leave in their wake whether the babble of interpreters provides insight or just sows more confusion and cynicism."

Mr. Applebome went on to state that "Antigun groups leaped on the incident as an occasion for activism and spin."

Activism and spin that could land people like the grandfather of accused murderer Andrew Golden in prison.

Although the adults in 11-year-old Andrew Golden's life by all accounts appear to have acted responsibly with regard to their firearms, antigun proponents like Senator Durbin would have them prosecuted and thrown in jail.

Bear in mind exactly what Andrew and his partner, 13-year-old Mitchell Johnson, went through to obtain the firearms that were used in the shooting.

They stole a van belonging to Mitchell Johnson's family, then armed with a crowbar, they broke into the grandfather's home and stole his firearms.

Gun control laws have utterly failed

Both juveniles also broke several gun laws while on their violent rampage, further illustrating the failure of gun control.

Consider some of the gun laws these young thugs ignored: minors in possession of handguns, using a firearm in the commission of a felony, and the gun free school zones gun ban.

What Senator Durbin and others are proposing is that the grandfather, who perhaps never committed a crime in his life, be held criminally liable and possibly sent to prison because two young monsters broke into his house and stole his property and then used that stolen property in the commission of a crime.

If there were such a law in effect in Arkansas, it is possible that the grandfather would have to serve more prison time than the two murderers, if they are convicted.

In Jonesboro, there is no telling what drove these boys to murder. But if they can get out of juvenile detention three years before they are legally old enough to drink alcohol, the consequences are extremely light.

Criminal action without consequences. In The Basketball Diaries, DiCaprio was playing out a drug-induced fantasy. There were no consequences.

If people as young as eleven and thirteen get the message that there are practically no consequences for their actions, and that perhaps society will even hold adults responsible for their crimes, we probably have yet to see the extent of violence a small percentage of our youth are capable of committing.

Teen Uses Handgun to Save Lives of Mother, Child

Although young people who misuse firearms tend to be in the news more than honest gun owners, the number of legitimate self-defense uses of firearms, even involving youths, far exceeds illegal uses.

In an article headlined "Spring Creek teen saved mother's life, sheriff says," the Elko [Nev.] Free Press reports that 15-year-old Nicholas Templeton successfully used a firearm to defend his mother, who was being beaten by a violent former boyfriend.

According to the Free Press, Elko County Sheriff Neil Harris credits the boy with saving the lives of both his mother and a 3-year-old child who was also in the house.

The sheriff reported that the teen at first attempted to physically pull the attacker off his mother, but when those efforts failed, he went into his mother's bedroom and loaded a .22 caliber handgun. He fired three shots, hitting the man twice, fatally wounding the man, while not injuring his mother.

The assailant, Terry White, had just been released from jail the night before the attack after serving nearly a month in jail for failing to pay fines from a stalking charge brought by the woman, the Free Press reported.

"It appears to me the kid was only acting to protect his mother and the 3-year-old child," the sheriff said. "He may have saved all their lives."



More Senators Fleeing Hatch's Horror Bill!

GOA postcards shedding more "light" in Congress

 
In response to an avalanche of postcards sent by GOA members, Senator John Ashcroft (R-MO)
thanks GOA's Executive Director Larry Pratt and GOA for bringing to his attention the Second
Amendment pitfalls in Sen. Hatch's S. 10.
Another Senator has jumped ship.

In April, Senator Larry Craig (R-ID) asked that his name be removed as cosponsor of S. 10 -- the Juvenile Injustice Bill introduced by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT).

This makes Senator Craig the fifth person to jump off the bill -- a move which keeps the momentum building against it.

In other news, GOA postcards have continued to shed more "light" on Capitol Hill.

GOA members have sent thousands of postcards to Senators Bob Smith (R-NH) and John Ashcroft (R-MO) -- both of whom are seeking the GOP's presidential nomination -- asking them to take action against Hatch's Horror Bill.

Readers of The Gun Owners will remember that Senator Bob Smith (R-NH) responded by putting a "hold" on the bill in February, making it more difficult for a vote on the bill to occur without positive changes being made.

More recently, Senator John Ashcroft announced that he was working to fix the problems in S. 10 and publicly thanked GOA and its members for "bringing to my attention the RICO (2nd Amendment) problems with the juvenile justice bill."


So Much for "Protection for Women"

Lautenberg Gun Ban Frees Abuser

In 1996, Representative Bob Barr (R-GA) lauded the Lautenberg misdemeanor gun ban as "strong protection for women and children."

A Wisconsin judge recently disagreed with Rep. Barr, however, and claimed the punishment of a lifetime gun ban for a misdemeanor offense "did not fit the crime."

The misdemeanor gun ban -- named after its' author, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) -- constitutes a lifetime gun ban for convictions as slight as spanking a child or grabbing a spouse.

The Associated Press reported that the judge "threw out the conviction against a man who slapped his girlfriend because it would have cost him his hunting rifle."

The prosecutor in the case told the AP that "The judge indicated quite clearly that . a lifetime firearms ban would be unduly harsh."

Chad Giller's sentence was set aside the day before deer season began, and according to his lawyer, Mr. Giller "did go deer hunting."

It appears that because the penalties resulting from this ban are so far-reaching, judges and juries may be tempted to completely look the other way when dealing with domestic violence cases.

Real protection for women would be for Congress to repeal the misguided misdemeanor gun ban and allow the states to deal with crime at the local level.

Rep. Helen Chenowith (R-ID) has introduced H.R. 1009 to repeal the Lautenberg intrusion into states' rights. Though her bill has 37 cosponsors in the House, the Republican leadership has refused to move her bill forward.

Lautenberg Ban Claims Another Victim

Also in the Badger State, Kirk J. Lewitzke became one of the first persons convicted under the 1996 misdemeanor law.

Lewitzke was convicted over a decade ago for a domestic misdemeanor offense.

Acting on a tip from his ex-wife that he had guns in his house, agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms raided Lewitzke's home and found several firearms.

Lewitzke claimed the firearms did not belong to him, but the law states that a person not only is prohibited from owning firearms, but also from mere possession.

If this is a harbinger of things to come, thousands of gun owners could face the same difficulties.

"GOA called this gun ban `The Domestic Confiscation' ban back in 1996. It looks like it's living up to its name," said GOA spokesman John Velleco.


GOA in the States

Kentucky

As this issue of The Gun Owners goes to press, it appears that a clean-up of Kentucky's concealed carry statutes will become law.

The General Assembly overwhelmingly passed the "carry reform" in March. The main provision of the bill (HB 318) would replace the state's bureaucrat-controlled reciprocity system with true statutory recognition - meaning that a carry permit issued by any other state will now be valid in the Blue Grass State.

Local grassroots activists had guided the bill through the House, but when it hit the Senate, anti-gun bosses threw it into the only hostile committee they had.

When GOA alerted gun owners to this transgression, Kentuckians swamped the Senate with phone calls, letters, faxes and postcards.

In fact, the grassroots pressure was so intense that the anti-gunners themselves moved the bill to the floor on a 9-1 vote.

Final passage was by a wide enough margin to override a veto, although the Governor is expected to sign the measure.

Georgia

"Lock Up Your Safety" legislation seems to be the current favored tactic of the gun grabbers at the state level. Unfortunately, they sometimes get a little help from pro-gun groups on this front.

In Georgia, this took the form of SB 407, a bill that would have allowed anti-gun prosecutors to throw one in jail if prosecutors determined (arbitrarily) that the person had not secured their gun in a safe enough manner.

This bill was expected to pass easily-until Georgia gun owners learned of its existence. At the end of a long and contentious battle, SB 407 finally died in late March.

A last ditch effort was made to attach this onerous language as an amendment to a House bill. But the "pro-gun" compromisers had been badly burned by the heat generated by the grassroots.

Instead of passing that amendment, the House passed pro-gun Senator Pam Glanton's self-defense protection language. With this on the books, Georgians are protected from persecution by anti-gun officials if they use a gun in self-defense.



Your Long Distance Calls Could Help Protect Our Second Amendment Rights

The big three long distance telephone companies ALL support gun grabbing politicians. Here is a list of some of the anti-gunners they have supported as taken from Federal Election Commission records.

AT&T: Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Carol Mosley Braun (D-IL), Chris Dodd (D-CT), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Russ Feingold (D-WI), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Herb Kohl (D-WI), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Patty Murray (D-WA), Chuck Robb (D-VA), John D. Rockefeller (D-WV), Paul Sarbanes (D-MD), Arlen Specter (R-PA), and Senate candidates Bill Weld (R-MA) and Dick Zimmer (R-NJ). Among a host of anti-gun Representatives were Major Owens and Charles Schumer with most of the rest of the likely suspects also receiving contributions.

MCI: Senators Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Carol Moseley Braun, Dick Durbin, Tom Harkin, Carl Levin (D-MI), Barbara Mikulski, Chuck Robb, John D. Rockefeller and Bill Weld. Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) and Edolphus Towns (D-NY) were among the many House anti-gunners.

Sprint: Senators Barbara Boxer, Dick Durbin, Dianne Feinstein, Tom Harkin, and John D. Rockefeller. Representatives: Kevin Brady (R-TX), Tom Campbell (R-CA), Ron Dellums (D-CA) were among the many anti-gunners in the House being helped by Sprint.

LifeLine: This long distance carrier gives to NO gun grabbers. LifeLine is a conservative, pro-gun company that gives ten percent of your long distance bill to GOA.

No matter what long distance company you use, your money will be at work in the gun control debate. The question you must answer is, "On which side of the debate will your money be used?"

LifeLine's rates are four to eight percent under AT&T's standard tariff rates. Do yourself a favor -- and help GOA at the same time -- by switching your long distance to LifeLine. By having LifeLine contribute to GOA's overhead for you, your regular donations are freed up to go for GOA lobbying even more than before.

For information, or to sign up, just call 1-800-311-2811.


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