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Legislatively Speaking
May '09



Lautenberg—once again

U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (N.J.) has once again introduced draconian legislation to outlaw private transfers of firearms at gun shows. His legislation (S-843) was introduced during April and has been referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. This bill has 11 co-sponsors. They are senators Cardin (Md.), Feinstein (Cal.), Kennedy (Mass.), Levin (Mich.), Reed (R.I.), Whitehouse (R.I.), Durbin (Ill.), Gillibrand (N.Y.), Kerry (Mass.), Menendez (N.J.) and Schumer (N.Y.). Given the number of co-sponsors, this legislation must be viewed as a credible threat against our gun ownership rights.

NRA-ILA’s analysis of this bill shows that it is substantially the same legislation as Lautenberg introduced in the previous (110th) Congress. Its introduction was deliberately timed to coincide with a press release from the anti-gun Brady Campaign. In this release, the president of the Brady Campaign, Paul Helmke, falsely claims, “It will have no impact on any law-abiding gun owner in the country.” Nothing could be farther from the truth.

The regulations this proposed legislation seeks to impose are sweeping. For starters, this legislation defines a “gun show” as any event “at which 50 or more firearms are offered or exhibited for sale, transfer or exchange, if one or more of the firearms has been shipped or transported in, or otherwise affects, interstate or foreign commerce . . .” This definition causes many shooting events, such as the Grand American, major state shoots, Satellite Grands and the National Championships at Camp Perry, Ohio, to be classified as “gun shows.” Indeed, any individual who owns more than 50 guns and who invites friends over for dinner, if they happen to start talking about guns and an offer is made to sell or buy any firearm, the dinner becomes an “event” that is considered to be a “gun show.”

Any buyers of guns sold at any event considered to be a gun show must be cleared through the National Instant Check System (NICS). In addition to imposing this burden on those who operate gun shows and the vendors who sell their products at such events, S-843 reinstates a Clinton-Gore-Reno era regulation to retain NICS data (name and address of buyer) for a 90-day period. They want to change the present practice of destroying the gun buyer identification data within 24 hours. This increased time to retain records represents an effort to incrementally move toward a permanent registry of gun buyers and a listing of guns they purchase. As we have seen elsewhere in the world, gun-owner registration leads to the confiscation of all privately owned firearms, which is the ultimate goal of the anti’s.

S-843 defines a “gun show promoter” as “any person who organizes, plans, promotes or operates a gun show.” It also defines a “gun show vendor” as “any person who exhibits, sells, offers for sale, transfers or exchanges one or more firearms at a gun show, regardless of whether or not the person arranges with the gun show promoter for a fixed location from which to exhibit, sell, offer for sale, transfer or exchange one or more firearms.” S-843 defines a “firearms transaction” as “. . . the offer for sale, sale, transfer or exchange of a firearm.”

Consider the following scenario: At any registered shoot, there are probably 50 guns present. Many trapshooters will sell one or more of their guns if the price is right. Let’s say that in the campground or parking lot, over a cold beverage, a gun is offered for sale. This act transforms the registered shoot into a “gun show,” with the gun club becoming a “gun show promoter” and the people doing the buying and selling being “gun show vendors.”

S-843 requires gun show promoters to register their event with the attorney general of the United States and to pay an unspecified registration fee. The promoter must verify the identity of each gun show vendor by examining a valid photographic ID. Each vendor must sign a ledger containing their identification information and provide written notification to each vendor regarding their responsibilities under this law. Any gun sales have to be cleared through NICS. Failure to comply with these regulations carries the penalty of imprisonment from two to 10 years, plus unspecified fines.

What does any of this have to do with preventing crime? Absolutely nothing! It is all about scaring law-abiding people and trying to control them with this fear. It is all about running people out of the shooting sports via increased government regulation. It is all about getting a list of gun owners and the guns they own.

Data regarding the criminal misuse of guns acquired by the bad guys at gun shows discloses that this is the source of less than 2% of firearms used to commit crimes. This data comes from a survey of federal prison inmates done by the Bureau of Justice Statistics in 2000 and another study done by the National Institute of Justice in 1997.

This bill has nothing to do with crime control. It is about controlling law-abiding citizens who want to buy and sell guns. It speaks very poorly of Lautenberg and the 11 anti-gun co-sponsors of his bill that they write and support legislation designed solely to try to change people’s behavior through intimidation. There is a name for such people. They are called bullies.


Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand—a disappointment

Earlier this year there was a glimmer of hope for pro-gunners in New York State. It appeared that they might be getting a pro-gun U.S. senator when Rep. Gillibrand was named to fill the term of Sen. Hillary Clinton, who vacated her seat when she was named secretary of state. It became known that the new senator kept guns for personal protection. This caused a firestorm of angst among the anti’s, in particular, N.Y. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, who vowed to challenge Gillibrand in the primary election.

Given that Gillibrand has signed on as one of the original co-sponsors of Lautenberg’s anti-gun bill S-843, it is clear that the anti-gun “establishment” has gotten to her, and she is now firmly in their camp. What a disappointment it is to see someone succumb so very quickly to the tired, old Washington, D.C., insider habit of political posturing solely to stay in power.


Nancy Pelosi wants to
register your guns

In an interview aired on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” in response to a question from reporter Robin Roberts, Speaker of the U.S. House Nancy Pelosi made the following outrageous statement: “. . . we are just going to have to work together to come to some resolution because the court, in the meantime, in recent months, the Supreme Court has ruled in a very . . . in a direction that gives more opportunity for people to have guns. We never denied that right. We don’t want to take their guns away. We want them registered. We don’t want them crossing state lines. . . ”

Speaker Pelosi is clearly incensed that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the individual-rights view of the Second Amendment, and she must be equally incensed that there has already been a ruling in a lower court that says the Second Amendment individual rights doctrine must be incorporated (that is, made binding) at the state level. She and her anti-gun cronies are actively searching for a way around this situation. And who does she think she is fooling with her claim that “We never denied that right. We don’t want to take their guns away.” If these things are true, why does she oppose reasonable gun-ownership legislation for Washington, D.C.? And why does she want a list of guns and gun owners, and why does she want to prohibit anyone from taking their guns across a state line? Please explain these things, Speaker Pelosi. We’re waiting.


Department of Rumor
Control—'The River of Iron'

Obama and Clinton, in recent meetings with officials from Mexico, have advanced the preposterous claim that 90% of the guns that are criminally misused in Mexico come from the U.S. This is a blatant lie, which they tried to justify though an outrageous interpretation of gun confiscation data provided by Mexican authorities. Here are the facts:

Of all of the guns confiscated in Mexico, 17% are thought to be traceable to the U.S. Of this 17%, 90% are actually traced to sources in the U.S. Quite clearly, the vast majority of guns (83%) confiscated from bad guys in Mexico clearly did not come from the U.S. They are never sent here because it is obvious where they originated. Stated simply, a confiscated Russian or Chinese marked AK-47 doesn’t need to be traced.

What’s unclear at this point is how many of the 17% of firearms that are attributable to the U.S. were guns shipped to the Mexican military? It is a known fact that about 1,200 Mexican soldiers go “over the hill” each month. When they do, their U.S.-manufactured, government-issued M-16s and service sidearms often go over the hill with them. How many of these guns are counted in the aforementioned 17%?

*    *    *

April was a horrific month for gunnies. Conditions were ripe for the introduction and fast-tracking of gun-control legislation. There were a host of madmen who misused guns to harm and kill many innocent people. There were other outlaws who misused guns to ambush and murder law enforcement officers. All of the major networks aired multiple anti-gun “news” broadcasts, and gun owners were pilloried on these networks’ weekly news magazine broadcasts. The president, secretary of state, attorney general and speaker of the House took every opportunity to push gun control regulations and anti-gun legislative schemes.

In the face of this onslaught, it is remarkable that the gunnies fared as well as we have. Despite all of their efforts, the anti’s didn’t get much “traction” for their issues. This is certainly encouraging and suggests that our educational efforts about guns and gun ownership have resonated and are understood by the American public. Gun and ammunition sales are also at all-time highs, and polling data suggests that support for gun control in the U.S. may be at an all-time low.

While these things bode well for gunnies, care must be taken that we do not become complacent. If we let our guard down, we will suffer a severe and hurtful blow in our ongoing and never-ending fight to keep and bear the private arms of our choice.




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