8/99 House, Senate Part Ways On Juvenile Injustice
GOA stands alone in successfully killing gun restrictions in House
Congress is looking more like the OK Corral than a country club these days.
The Senate especially has earned a reputation for being a “country club” as members address each other cordially and refrain from disturbing the progress of business in that chamber.
But a cross-fire has ensued over the anti-gun juvenile bill that was hastily passed in the wake of the Colorado tragedy.
At the center of the firestorm is pro-gun Senator Bob Smith (I-NH) who employed an arcane set of parliamentary maneuvers that managed to delay the anti-gun crime bill for weeks.
This was to the chagrin of senators like Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) who wanted to quickly send this gun control to President Clinton.
Majority Leader Trent Lott pushes anti-gun crime bill through the Senate
With tremendous help from its leadership, the Senate passed S. 254 in May, a bill replete with gun bans and gun owner registration.
Senator Lott later confirmed his role in bringing this legislation to the floor:
GOA’s Executive Director Larry Pratt with Rep. Ron Paul
Paul Carry Bill Gaining Key Cosponsors!
GOA Executive Director with Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), sponsor of the carry reciprocity bill (H.R. 407). The bill has garnered almost two dozen cosponsors, including Tom Tancredo, the Congressman representing Littleton, Colorado. Rep. Tancredo has forcefully argued that more gun control would not have stopped the Littleton shootings in April. By contrast, the only school shootings that have been stopped abruptly in recent years (such as in Pearl, Mississippi and Edinboro, Pennsylvania) were halted because an armed teacher or adult was able to apprehend the shooter. Tancredo’s presence on the bill is a powerful argument both for the right of concealed carry and against the clamor for more gun control.
On the juvenile justice bill [S. 254], I could have gone through all kinds of contortions and gyrations to try to block that, but I thought . . . we ought to take it up. . . . I didn’t run around out here trying to block [the anti-gun amendments]. Some of my colleagues said I should have done that.
Indeed, Senators like Bob Smith pleaded with the Majority Leader, but it was to no avail. Lott brought the bill to the floor, it passed the Senate and then quickly moved to the other house.
From inside the Capitol, Representatives John Doolittle (R-CA) and Tom DeLay (R-TX) did everything within their power to weaken and defeat the House gun bill, H.R. 2122.
They were successful, although House leader Denny Hastert (R-IL) was not amused.
Speaker Hastert disappointed that gun control defeated in the House
House Speaker Denny Hastert was openly disappointed in his colleagues after the defeat of the House gun bill, and he posted a statement to that effect on his web page. His June 21 statement read as follows:
I am disappointed . . . [with] the vast majority of Democrats [who] voted against a fair and open process, voted against the Juvenile Justice bill and voted against common-sense [sic] gun control legislation.
[Many Democrats opposed final passage of the House gun bill because conservative Republicans had managed to defeat even greater restrictions during earlier votes.]
Hastert apparently knew he was walking a “fine line.” The Associated Press quoted Hastert as telling leaders in a private meeting “that passing the [House] bill would give the GOP a better chance at [enacting] some gun control, but not so much as to turn off conservative campaign donors next year.”
Regardless, gun owners won a tremendous victory when the gun bill died.
But they did not completely escape unscathed, as the House passed another bill containing some gun control, H.R. 1501.
This bill— while adopting a more “cultural approach” to fighting crime— was amended on the floor to contain a non-binding authorization for more money for the BATF, a federal agency that has consistently harassed and violated gun owners all across the country.
Nevertheless, H.R. 1501 was a vast improvement over the devastating gun control in the Senate bill.
Lott “rolls” Smith and pushes anti-gun crime bill into compromise talks
The Senate bill contained gun bans and gun owner registration provisions, as well as provisions that would almost certainly put gun shows out of business.
Senator Smith promised to filibuster the Senate crime bill… and did succeed in delaying consideration of the bill for weeks.
But in late July, Senator Lott forced the bill to the floor and overcame Smith’s objections to the gun control crime legislation.
The Senate rules would have allowed Smith to continue filibustering the gun bill if Lott failed to produce 60 votes. Unfortunately for gun owners, Lott got the votes he needed.
Sen. Bob Smith (I-NH) stood up for gun owners and tried to filibuster S. 254
Thus, Lott succeeded in forcing the crime legislation into a conference committee, which is now tasked with ironing out the differences between the House and Senate bills.
Democrats praise Lott for strong support of Gore-Lautenberg gun bill
Democratic Minority Leader Tom Daschle (SD) praised Lott for his efforts in overcoming the temporary stranglehold that Smith had placed on the gun control bill.
“I will say I support the effort made by the majority leader to move this bill to conference and the method he has employed to do so,” Daschle said.
“We have had a very good debate on this bill. [Democrats] have had an opportunity to offer amendments. I cite S. 254 as the model I wish we would follow on all bills.”
Senator Lott was truly instrumental in moving this gun control legislation at every point along the way.
But the battle is not yet over as both the House and the Senate must again vote on this legislation when it exits the conference committee.
GOA will continue to update readers and call for appropriate action as needed.
Your GOA on the Front Lines
Hitting the Right Target
By Darrel Scott*
* Mr. Scott is the father of one of the victims killed during the Columbine High School Shooting in Littleton, Colorado. He read his poem as part of his testimony before the Subcommittee on Crime in the House Judiciary Committee on May 27, 1999.
Brady Law Closes Gun Stores More Than 8 Days
Second Amendment suspended scores of times
Janet Reno’s Justice Department has not been friendly to gun owners’ rights.
A review of FBI computer records reveals that the firearms industry has been shut down for more than eight full business days, between Dec. 10 to June 15, due to the National Instant Background Check (NICS).
The four-page report, obtained in July by the National Association of Federally Licensed Firearms Dealers, indicates that legitimate businesses have endured federal closures 84 times in the six-month period.
“What other industry would tolerate such dramatic and constant damage to its business?” asked Alan Korwin, author of Gun Laws of America, the unabridged guide to federal law.
“The most amazing aspect is the absolute silence from the mainstream media,” he says, “where a mere 5-hour outage at amazon.com makes national headlines.”
Many of these shutdowns have resulted in the virtual shut down of gun sales at gun shows across the country.
“With the NICS computer out of commission, the only place you could legally buy a firearm— in the whole country— was from a private individual, since all dealers were locked out of business by the FBI’s computer problem,” Korwin said.
Not to be outdone, gun grabbers in Congress are now trying to close that “loophole.”
Legislation passed by the Senate in May would require gun buyers who purchase from private sellers to also submit to the Brady registration check at gun shows.
Readers may contact Mr. Korwin at 602-996-4020 or go to http://wwww.bloomfieldpress.com on the world-wide web.
Two Studies for Every Gun Owner’s Arsenal
Most crime worse in England than US
One is more likely to be victimized in England than in the United States, says a recent crime study that was conducted by criminologists from both countries.
Published by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the study was unwelcome news for the Brits who received the report with the same enthusiasm as one getting a cold.
“Common sense says America is the most crime-ridden country on earth while Britain is an oasis of peace and tranquility. Common sense is wrong,” wrote The (London) Sunday Times in an editorial. “We urgently need to re-examine our cozy assumptions about law and order.”
Indeed, crime rates for serious offences such as assault, burglary, robbery, and motor vehicle theft were all higher in England and Wales than in America.
GOA predicted England’s spike in crime
Larry Pratt, GOA’s Executive Director, predicted in a debate with a British Parliamentarian in 1997 that England’s latest rash of gun restrictions would lead to increasing crime rates.
During this CNN debate, Pratt told the member of Parliament that research in the U.S. had shown that making guns more available for concealed carry had led to less crime. Therefore, increased restrictions by the British on gun ownership “would only lead to more crime.”
The British legislator replied that, “Anybody who would say that over here would be called quite flaky.” Pratt responded that, “Your statement illustrates why the U.S. is no longer British.”
Criminals enjoy a safer working environment in the U.K.
No doubt, the DOJ report published late last year has removed much of the smug talk from the mouths of those in Parliament.
The rate of assaults are more than two times higher in England and Wales than in the United States, and the British burglary rate is nearly double America’s, the report said.
Rape and murder rates were still higher in the United States. But the report pointed out that Britain was gaining ground as “the difference between the two countries has narrowed over the past 16 years.”
Readers can get this DOJ study entitled “Crime and Justice in the United States and in England and Wales, 1981-96” at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/abstract/cjusew96.htm on the internet.
Clinton Justice Department “finds” 1.5 million reasons to own a gun
There is another study in the archives of the Department of Justice that the President would just as soon forget.
Published two years ago, a “Guns in America” study found that law-abiding citizens use firearms as many as 1.5 million times a year.
Of course, this finding did not sit well with the anti-gun bias of the study’s authors, who attempted to explain why there could not possibly be one and a half million cases of self-defense every year.
Nevertheless, the 1.5 million figure is consistent with a mountain of independent surveys showing similar figures. The sponsors of these studies— nearly a dozen— are quite varied, and include anti-gun organizations, news media organizations, governments and commercial polling firms.
Yearly self-defense cases as high as 2.5 million
Gary Kleck, one of the most renowned criminologists of today, published his well-known study in 1995 showing that as many as 2.5 million people use guns every year to deter criminal attacks.
Despite this overwhelming evidence, anti-gunners like Sarah Brady are rarely deterred from pointing to the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) which typically finds less than 100,000 gun self-defense cases a year.
But Kleck has shot the NCVS argument full of holes. Kleck has clearly shown that NCVS survey is not primarily intended to find out how many people use a gun in self-defense. Rather, this survey is designed to find out the number of people who are victimized by criminals every year.
Most people who have used a gun to deter a criminal attack are not victimized. So if they were asked, “were you the victim of a crime recently,” they would probably answer “no.”
With a “no” answer, the interviewer will never even broach the issue of self-defense. Even the anti-gun authors of the “Guns in America” study concede this point.
Kleck notes this type of questioning results in the underreporting of actual self-defense cases. But again, the purpose of the NCVS survey is not to ferret out those who have used a gun in self-defense; its purpose is to track the number of people victimized in crime every year.
Despite the inadequacies of the NCVS data, the gun-grabbers cling to it as the gospel truth.
And thus, the debate over the beneficial uses of firearms is sure to continue. But gun owners can take heart that, to the chagrin of the anti-gun pundits, official studies issued by the Clinton Justice Department are making the anti-gun faith more and more untenable.
Readers can get the DOJ study entitled “Guns in America: National Survey on Private Ownership and Use of Firearms” at http://www.ncjrs.org/txtfiles/165476.txt on the internet.
The Women’s Voice for the Second Amendment
GOA’s Director of Women’s Policy
As Director of Women’s Policy at Gun Owners of America, I would like to welcome you to “The Women’s Voice for the Second Amendment” web page (http://www.gunowners.org/womensvoice.htm).
Many times I have heard it said that the Second Amendment and gun-related topics are primarily a man’s issue.
This position could not be further from the truth– and it is one with which I and many other women totally disagree.
Second Amendment applies to all people: men and women alike
The Second Amendment reads: “A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
The words “the people” refer to both men and women. The Amendment clearly states that “everyone” or “all people” are able to own a firearm, and the rights of “everyone”– including women– to bear arms shall not be infringed.
There are many women in this country who do not support gun control.
Women gun owners are one of the fastest-growing segments of American society today– and more and more women are making educated decisions about firearms; they are buying them, training to use them, and carrying them in greater numbers every day.
Efforts to disarm Americans by anti-gun forces present a direct threat to women and to their safety and the safety of their families.
Women’s Voice to contain feature articles
The Women’s Voice for the Second Amendment will offer articles written by and about pro- Second Amendment women.
These articles will provide gun owners with vital information with which to combat the mis- and dis-information and propaganda of the anti-gunners.
Many people know that numerous women on Capitol Hill are at the forefront of anti-gun legislation.
It is important to note that there are also women on the Hill who are vehemently opposed to laws which would further strip from all Americans the liberties guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.
Now is the time for all pro-Second Amendment women, along side of pro-Second Amendment men, to work to turn the tides of anti-gun legislation and propaganda, and to help restore our God-given rights to all.
It is my hope that all of you will be supportive of our efforts.
Together men and women can work to protect all of the Bill of Rights, and most particularly the Second Amendment, for all citizens.
Rep. Roscoe Bartlett
Citizen’s Self-Defense Bill Clears 50
Rep. Roscoe Bartlett’s bill (H.R. 347) is gaining steam. His bill has attracted more than 50 cosponsors, including several members of the House leadership. H.R. 347 will protect citizens who use a gun in self-defense from anti-gun prosecutors and judges, even if the gun was carried without a permit or possessed without a license.
Have you seen an article in which a firearm was used in self-defense? Please fax it (703-321-8408) or e-mail it ([email protected]) to GOA for us to use it with the media. If possible, include the internet address (URL) of the article if the paper has it online.
Did Your Representative And Senators Support Your Gun Rights?
Summer 1999 saw numerous gun-related votes in Congress. Please use the following links to view details on every vote, and hold your elected officials accountable for their actions.
http://www.gunowners.org/106hvote.htm [House votes]
http://www.gunowners.org/106svote.htm [Senate votes]