Publicola

Friday, February 27, 2004


Hopefully y'all have been tuning in to Geek & Uncle. If not go there now & catch up.

Short version is that nothing was voted on today. At least nothing gun related. A few amendments were introduced but no votes.

Monday will be a big day & I expect Tuesday is when they'll pull out the amendments we're all dreading. And as usual Geek & Uncle will be on top of things during the day & I'll try to spell them at night.

The NRA released a statement that says they want the Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, but won't accept an assault weapons ban renewal or expansion, or a gun show bill.

Over the weekend I'll try to address some concerns about the statement but if they stick to it then it's definitely a good thing.

Now here's something to think about: what would have happened if the net was as widespread ten years ago as it is today?

Senators are getting flooded with calss & e-mails, coverage of the Senate is taxing C-Span's system & pro-gun blogs, message boards & other internet medium are all getting much much more traffic than they usually do.

Ten years ago all we could do was read the papers account of how the new laws were passed (unless you lived in D.C.) & cuss. Now you get to cuss the Senators in real time as they're putting the knife in your back. (hey- at least it's progress!)

Ten years ago the NRA could cut any deal they wanted & issue a statement telling us how they tried but just couldn't do anything about it. Now they're issuing statements addrssing our concerns.

So with all the attention this has been getting, & all the feedback (positive & negative) it has generated I'm thinking that if the net was as prevelant ten years ago as it is today we wouldn't have an assault weapons ban to worry about.

Course I could be wrong & the only benefit is merely for us to see what's happening, but I think that at least to a small degree we are influencing things instead of just commenting after the fact.

For that I can't thanks Geek & Uncle enough - both for their on-line coverage & keeping me up to date whilst I'm away from electricity. The pro-gun Forums & websites deserve gratitude as well everyone who has e-mailed a blogger, commented on a blog, or posted on a Forum.

Another thing about the NRA - a few people are claiming that the "deal" they alledgedly cut was just a nasty internet rumor spread by those biased against the NRA & possibly by anti-gunners attempting to drai the NRA's resources.

Here's the thing: whether or not the NRA has or had plans to sell us out they are concerned that so many are watching & questioning them. Now it is entirely possible that they did not have plans to sell us out & were trying to do what they thought was best. As I've said before (though I can't remember if it was here or on a message forum - the last few days have been hectic) we can sort out the details later. I'll be more than happy to admit I was wrong for believing the allegations that the NRA was selling us out again. (in this instance that is). Likewise I'll not be timid about calling them on anything they tried to pull.

But what matters right nwo is that we make sure they know our thoughts. If they weren't cutting a deal to betray us then their members letting them know that they won't accept an extension of the assault weapons ban will be redundant, but certainly not draining. & if they were attempting to sell us out, then perhaps the members letting them know how they felt prevented that from happening or at least diminished its intensity. Other than the NRA feeling offended that anyone would think they'd support gun control there is no harm in making your feelings clear to the NRA. Ditto with Senators: if they're pro-gun to begin with then hearing from those who want them to be pro-gun should be an encouragement, not a hinderence. If they're anti-gun then perhaps it will help steer them back towards the light.

So when this is over one way or another we can discuss what the NRA did, didn't. was going to & wasn't going to do in depth. Right now we need to focus on keeping them on the straight & narrow. The hardest days are yet to come & who the hell knows what will happen.

I'll try to summarize things more in depth over the weekend. Right now I'm gonna shut down the PC for a while & hope they don't convene all secret like & pass a bunch of bad things.

I do thank all y'all for coming here & hope something made it worth your time.




It's possible that I could have missed something overnight but far as I can tell all was quiet on the eastern front.
From what I understood from last night they said there wouldn't be a roll call vote today. I could be wrong but this would lead me to believe that the debates today will not be followed by a vote - at least not first thing. But they resume at 9:30 a.m. EST & being the cautious fellow I am I'd urge everyone who can to watch them & make sure they don't try to slip anything by us.

I now send you over to the GeekWithA.45 for any word on anything important that happens in the Senate today.



Thursday, February 26, 2004


several things bother me about what's happened in the Senate. The first is that, unless it was part of a prior agreement, there needn't have been any votes at all on any gun control amendments. They got cloture which limited the debate to 30 hours & limited amendments that could be offered as well as giving Sen. Frist the power to deny an amendment out of hand. But now we're having amendment after amendment offered up & it'll be Tuesday before a vote happens on the bill as its amended.

If a deal was necessary to bring it to a vote, I'd have reconsidered pushing it through the Senate. However at the least they could have set a limit on the number of amendments offered up. They let our bill get a vote, in turn we let one amendment of theirs get a vote. But offer as many as they want?

Another thing is the Boxer trigger lock amendment: most people will say it's an aggrevation but practically it's harmless. However the danger lies not in paying $10 to $10 more for the trigger lock (you didn't think the gun industry was gonna give them away as a thank you for risking our rights like this did ya?) but in the precedent it sets. This is a perfect set up for a smart gun bill. The Boxer amendment was passed under the guise of safety & that's the same BS they'll use to push a smart gun law. This Boxer amendment if made into law will establish firmly congressional authority over this area & they'll use it. Now it's not like they wouldn't use any number of other excuses to do what ever the hell they want, but this makes things a little more legit; a little easier & most important less startling.

The main danger in this amendment is that it conditions us yet further to accept government regulation of our Rights in the name of safety.

& for what it's worth Frist voted for the Boxer amendment. Makes ya feel all comfy about our "pro-gun" leadership doesn't it?

The other two gun related amendments were basically nothing. they identified two groups of people & said they were excepted from the provisions of the underlying bill if they met the requirements for exception in the underlying bill. Just a little political word play to legislatively shout down two very bad amendments that would have made the underlying bill worthless.

Now here's something from the AP.

I'll just give you some higlights from it:

"Kohl said the bill 'is not a panacea. It will not prevent every single avoidable firearm-related accident. But the fact is that all parents want to protect their children. This legislation will ensure that people purchase child-safety locks when they buy guns. Those who buy locks are more likely to use them. That much we know is certain."

True - those who buy locks are more likely to use the locks they buy than those who don't buy locks, who aren't terribly likely to use the locks they didn't buy.

Sadly that was probably the thing from the anti's that made the most sense.

"A test vote earlier this week garnered 75 votes for the measure, with Democrats agreeing to vote for the measure after the GOP agreed that firearms makers and distributors would not be immune to suits involving defective products or illegal sales."

Now if that's accurate then why the hell did we need to work a "deal" where every gun control idea under the sun gets to be offered as an amendment to our 1 pro-gun bill?

"For example, leaders in the GOP-controlled House already have said they do not plan to approve an extension of the expiring assault weapons ban. But Senate Democrats say they are close to getting enough votes to add that measure to the gunmaker bill."


lemme repeat the key part in case ya missed it:

"...Senate Democrats say they are close to getting enough votes to add that measure to the gunmaker bill."

'nuff said.

"The Senate's overwhelming approval of the gun lock amendment shows that senators are not listening to that advice and could be convinced that the assault weapons ban and other Democratic legislation should be added to the package, Boxer said. 'Senators are not buying the argument that the bill should be clean."

More than enough said.

"Democrats are very close to having enough support to reauthorize the assault weapons ban for 10 more years, she said. The ban expires in September.
'We believe we can get to 51,' said Boxer, referring to the number of votes needed to add the measure to the gunmaker immunity bill."


Is the message getting through yet?

So the way things are looking an assault weapons amendment is likely to be added to this bill, in which case I urge you to call your Senators & the NRA & demand they oppose any bill so amended.


But tell ya the truth I'd rather they just went ahead & pulle dthe thing right now. Whiel the anti's are offering up everything under the sun, all our side is pushing for is getting the underlying bill passed w/o too many objectionable amendments. This epitomoizes our strategy as gun owners & why we're int he shape we're in: we go for one thing that's beneficial but on the periphery while our opponents are allowed to make a wish list & see what they can get away with in exchange for considering our 1 thing.

If they want to make things interesting, then why don't they propose an amendment to eliminate the Hughes Amendment to the FOPA? Or to repeal the GCA of 68? Or dismiss the NFA of '34? No. Our bold move is to use wordplay to defeat anti-gun amendments (it is a cute strategy I'll admit). We're playing defense yet again & no matter how good the defense is (should be great since that's all we ever practice) a few are always gonna slip by.


The Senate picks thing up again at 9:30 a.m. EST. Head over to GeekWithA.45's place & SayUncle for the latest on what'll be going on tomorrow.



Not entirely sure what happened - they adjourned for the day & it looks as if the cop exception was rejected.

Will post more in a bit - mainly it'll be trying to sum up & dissect what has been passed so far. You cna probably beat me to soem major points by going here & reading the summaries of what was passed & what was rejected. & click on the number under the "vote" column for any bill to see who voted yea or nay on it. Then call your Senators & either congradulate them & remind them that their entire party has to keep up the good work or you'll bail on them or remind your Senators that you're not bluffing & if they keep screwing up their party can kiss your vote & your donations good-bye.

Correction:

There was a law enforcement amendment passed. Frist was its author. No idea what it contained. I'll post more as I find out.

Update:

Word on the street is that the Frist cop exception amendment is similar to the frist victims of the DC sniper exception: am leo is excepted if they can meet the requirements of the Lawful Commerce in FireArms Act. Haven't seen any copy of it floating on the net as of yet though, so it could be something else. We'll have to wait for a copy to hit the net to see for sure.



For those of you who have never watched the Senate in action before now, let me just relate that I always thought a good analogy was that it's just like a pacifistic vegetarian with a nervous stomach watching a pack of coyotes start in on what's left of the fawn that the mountain lion just took down.

There's a quorom call going on then they'll vote for I beleive the third time on the law enforcement officer exception. I'll let y'all know what's up when I find out.



Here's a link to the amendments voted on in the Senate today.

It seems there was a mistake & that the Craig AP ammo bill was not passed as of yet.

However a Frist amendment that looks eerily similar to the Mikulski amendment was passed.


Agreed to
Frist Amdt. No. 2628; To exempt any lawsuit involving a shooting victim of John Allen Muhammad or John Lee Malvo from the definition of qualified civil liability action that meets certain requirements.


compare that to this:

Rejected
Mikulski Amdt. No. 2627; To exempt lawsuits involving a shooting victim of John Allen Muhammad or Lee Boyd Malvo from the definition of qualified civil liability action.


Matter o' fact, fresh from KABA.com here's the Frist amendment that passed. Page 1 & Page 2

For comparison here's the Mikulski amendment. Page 1 & Page 2.

Y'all can read right? Looks similar right? More or less there's only one difference - The Frist amendment says that vicitims of the DC snipers are excepted if they can meet the requirements of the Lawful Commerce In Firearms Act.

Look at the text of the Lawful Commerce in Firearms Act (as proposed) here. Note the requirements specified in the Frist amendment - "...meets 1 of the requirements under clauses (i) through (iv)" Now look at Section 4 (5) (A) i through iv. Any case that meet those requirements would not be prohibited from filing a lawsuit - so if my take is right they just said the DC snipr victims are excepted as long as they meet the requirements that anyone else has to meet to be excepted.

Good news don't last long though - they're voting on an exception for law enforcement which again would gut a substantial part of the bill. Two NJ cops are suing some gun makers because they were shot by a criminal a while back. If this gets through then the Brady's will simply start picking cops to use for their lawsuits against gun makers.

I'll have more when the vote's are totaled.





Okay... go see Da Geek to catch up if you haven't been already.

This won't be the blow by blow, as you might be used to from Geek - but any votes will be reported.

Currently they're voting on an amendment that would create a broad exception to the Lawful Commerce in Firearms bill...Which if it passes woudl totally negate the purpose of the bill & they'd be better off just killing it - if they can. Problem is despite the strong Republican presence the Senators of today have a majority of anti-gun votes under their respective belts.

So it's entirely possible that this bill could pass on Tuesday with a bunch of anti-gun amendments even though the original bill itself is stripped of any real impact.

To recap best I can tell an amendment to require trigger locks with new handguns & a bill to enhance penalties for using armor piercing ammo in crimes have been added.

Problem with the bills, aside from the camel's nose getting further inside of the tent is that they do nothing to actually effect sagety or prevent crime. What they will do is cause an inconvenience in the case of the trigger locks (yep, the gun companies will up their price by the appropriate amount - well, those 5% of gun companies that don't include trigger locks currently) & in the case of a person using their firearm defensively in an anti-gun jurisdiction (D.C., Chicago, etc...) they'll be looking at hard time if convicted.

For example - say you wake up in the middle of the night to hear undistinguishable shouting & your door being broke down. You grab your rifle or shotgun & shoot at a masked man in the hallway. You hit him , he dies & then you realize its the frinedly neighborhood ATF agent who wanted to make sure you didn't have any lethal 11 round magazines made after 1994. So now in addition to murder/manslaughter (yes - they will charge you) you're looking at an enhanced penalty if convicted because that .30-30 or 12 guage you just used to rightfully repel the boraders fires ammo capable of piercing a ballistic vest.

Granted, this is all from summaries of the bills - I'll have to read them in detail to make sure everything's accurate - but from the general description that's what we're looking at.

Cool - the amendment didn't pass. The underlying bill won't be gutted.

Now they're talking about an exception for two NJ cops who were shot by a criminal.

Again, any exception such as this will severely limit the effectiveness of the underlying bill.

More as it happens. (i.e. after Corzine stops lying & Craig stops setting them straight I'll let ya know how the vote goes.






The Senate will get things going in about 40 minutes. For the latest on what's happening I refer you to the day shift - GeekWithA.45 & SayUncle.

Also Alphecca has a post on the media bias concerning this. Not a big shock but Jeff summarizes things nicely.

Call your Senator & your NRA rep if you haven't already. Give them a very simple, concise message:


Any law limiting or restricting firearms &/or ammunition will result in a withdrawal of support for the party.
Any law limiting or restricting firearms &/or ammunition will result in a withdrawal of support for the NRA & its affiliates.

Here's the contact info:

Here's GOA's Legislative Action Center page. Use it to find your congresscritter.

Here's a link that'll give you contact info for NRA state affiliates.

Here's the NRA's contact page.

Here's the contact page for the NRA's field reps.

Here's the contact page for the NRA-ILA. (The NRA's political & legal department more or less)



Wednesday, February 25, 2004


At roughly 11 p.m. E.S.T C-Span showed the announcement of a deal.

Details are a bit vague of the specific amendments, but an agreement was reached to allow limited debate & consideration for several amendments. An assault weapons extension was one of them. Also troubling was something concerning Frist* Kennedy proposing a bill about "cop killer bullets".

Again, no specifics on the amendments themselves but a deal has been cut. Sen. Craig who had so eloquently argued against an assault weapons ban extension earlier today was one of the ones who brokered the deal. He also mentioned that there were enough votes to pass some of the amendments.

Burn up the phones. Slightly different message:

Any law limiting or restricting firearms &/or ammunition will result in a withdrawal of support for the party.
Any law limiting or restricting firearms &/or ammunition will result in a withdrawal of support for the NRA & its affiliates.



The Senate is adjourned until 9 a.m. tomorrow.


* Originally I thought it was Frist offering the "cop killer bullets" bill, but several people corrected me.

Update:

This is the bill with a few possible amendments at the bottom.

This post at The High Road by Bartholomew Roberts has more detail about the Senate schedule.

Looks like this is going to stretch out until Tuesday.




I just received this from RMGO.

Pressure working -- time to double down against gun control!

Insiders from Capitol Hill in Washington are reporting that our
efforts,
which are being duplicated by dozens of no-compromise gun control
state-level gun rights organizations across America, are working. The
silent deal cut by the NRA is starting to unravel due to the pressure
put on both the NRA and members of the U.S. Senate.

The politicians and insiders are scrambling for cover in D.C. and we
need to immediately DOUBLE the pressure.

But the US Senate is debating the bill as this e-mail is being written.

PLEASE call the NRA-ILA immediately toll-free at 800-392-8683 and/or
e-mail them at Federal-Affairs@nrahq.org

Tell the NRA to immediately drop this idiotic plan to let the Assault
Weapons ban -- or any other gun control -- be tacked onto any
legislation, and to pull out all the stops to defeat these gun
controls,
or lose your membership forever. If you are not an NRA member, tell
them you are not a member because of these kinds of appeasements of the
gun-grabbers.

Also contact both of Colorado's US Senators.

Senator Wayne Allard
Phone (202) 224-5941

Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell
Phone (202) 224-5852

If we exert enough pressure, we may still kill this silent deal.

But like any silent deal, the NRA is careful that it leaves no paper
trail.

If you think the NRA is (as they claim) still working as hard as
possible against the Assault Weapons ban and Gun Show Loophole
amendments to S.659, consider these facts:

1. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn), who is tasked with
running the US Senate and is supposedly "in the pocket" of the NRA,
could have stopped the gun control amendments by setting up an
"Amendment Tree". He didn't -- he chose to put the bill on the floor
and leave it open for amendments, giving the anti-gunners the chance
they needed.

2. Senator Frist, at the behest of the NRA, also could have delayed the
debate and vote on S.659 until the NRA had time to mobilize their
grassroots against the Assault Weapons ban and Gun Show loophole
amendments with mail, e-mails, magazine articles, etc. Instead, the
NRA
has been virtually silent on the Assault Weapons ban (how many pieces
of
NRA mail have hit your mailbox, telling Senators to vote against the
reauthorization of the Assault Weapons ban?).

What is most telling is that the NRA has spent countless thousands, if
not millions, of dollars fighting for a measure that may or may not
stop
the ludicrous lawsuits against firearms manufacturers, but have done
virtually nothing to oppose the two biggest gun issues in this
millenium.

Remember, before S.659, the Assault Weapons ban and the Gun Show
Loophole bills were considered dead by Washington insiders, and were
being reported as such by the Washington Times. S.659, and the
desperation of the NRA to pass it, has breathed new life into these
insidious gun control schemes.

It's the case of the dog that didn't bark.

Yes, the NRA is publicly saying they oppose these amendments, but they
left their gun in their holster.

If you haven't taken action, do so below.

If you have taken action, do it again -- they're getting the message!



There has been some question as to whether or not RMGO is correct in their info that the NRA had cut a deal. It's often said that a really good conspiracy theory is not provable. well, sometimes real live conspiracies aren't provable either.

I've spoken with Dudley Braon - Exec of RMGO - & for what it's worth he seems trustworthy. Now whether his info is correct or not - there's no proof. He readily admits that. However there's also no rpoff that it's not true.


One thing that can be criticized is his assertion that the NRA sent out no material on this. several people have written me telling me that they've received e-mails about this within the last few days. & so on that it seems like RMGO was incorrect - the NRA has sent mail about this.
However I think the point was mistated. There's proof the NRA has sent mail about this, but not a great amount if what I'm hearing is true. So perhaps it would have been better to say the NRA hadn't sent massive amounts of mail, which would probably be more correct to the RMGO's point & the facts as I can determine them.

But okay let's chalk them up as being wrong on that one.

That still doesn't detract from one thing that leads me to believe they may be correct: the NRA's done this sort of thing before. Don't believe me? Look here as well.

So without any proof other than RMGO's words I believe them simply because it fits what I know of the NRA & seems entirely plausible. the NRA wants this protection from frivilous lawsuits passed & no doubt they're getting pressured by the gun industry to pass it even with an assault weapons ban attached. The GCA of 68 was passed with the full support of the gun industry because they saw it as a way of stopping the mail order sales of surplus rifles ("sporting purposes clause" sound familiar?). Now if the gun makers would support the GCA of 68 in order to get the market that was going to mail-order surplus rifles they damn skippy would support a bill to stop frivilous lawsuits even if it meant no more bayonet lugs.
& the NRA was behind them in '68.

So personally I think the RMGO theory was more correct than not. Thanks to the net though it may have caused the plan to change, or at least caused the NRA to start issuing statements to cover their ass.

But we can sort all this out after this legislative crisis is over. No one is asking you to do anything now except call your Senators & the NRA (& their state affiliates) & tell them you'll withdraw all support from them if an assault weapons ban is passed. Not if they voted for it, but if it passes despite their individual efforts.

It's not over yet. whether you think the NRa is innocent or not, call them & your Senators & tell them you'll accept no excuses; the assault weapons ban must not be renewed.




GeekWithA.45 & SayUncle have been on top of things all day. Go read them.

Of note is that the Geek has links to to streaming C-Span so you can listen in on what's happening (or not happening as the case is now).

Now to sum up from what I understand, there is a time limit. They have until 6 p.m. E.S.T. to do whatever debating they're going to do. Also there's a limit to the amendments that can be proposed & Sen. Frist has final say on whether any amendments get voted on or not. Sen. Frist has a "D" rating from GOA.

I have heard that 4 amendments have been offered. One of them is supposedly a bill to lift D.C's gun ban. The other three are unkowns, but Mccain's gun show bill & Boxer &/or Feinstien's Assault weapons bill are the most likely candidates.

Now let me be clear - the exact nature of the amendments is not known. It's only rumor (albeit from reliable sources) that there are 4 amendments that could be considered. & the content of any of the amendments is not known.

But taking an educated guess, an asault wapons bill is going to be one of them. The big question is whether it's a simple extension or if it's an extension/expansion of the current ban.

to mkae things even scarier, here's GOA's page that lists current gun related bills in congress. Scroll down to the Senate section. There's a lot of possibilities for the 4th bill (assuming the first three are what I've guessed).

There's been some talk about things looking up because of the 75-22 vote for cloture. But all cloture does is limit debate, prevent fillibusters & close the floor to any amendments not previously filed. There's a bit of confusion but my understanding is that as long as a bill is filed with the Senate it can be brought up for attachment to the bill under coture. The only thing is that the Senate Chair can declare a proposed amendment "out of order" & his word is final.

So more or less the majority wanted to get a vote on this soon with limited amendments. That's not quite the same as having no amendments & an anti-gun Senator could have easily voted for cloture w/o it damaging their efforts. It's not like DiFi was gonna sleep through this one & miss a deadline. They made sure all the anti-gun bills they wanted to try & attach were filed in time.

Now one thing that is kind of curious - it was a 75-22 vote from what I heard. That's 99. there are 100 Senators. I was under the impression Kerry & Edwards would both be out campaigning & miss this vote - but if the count is correct then at least one of them stopped by.
there's also been talk of the NRA saying it can clean up the bill in the House if any anti-gun amendments get attached. However my sources tell me that's damn difficult nigh on impossible. & what makes matters worse is that Rep. Haster (R-Ill.) as Speaker of the House decides what gets voted on & what doesn't. Hastert has a "C-" from GOA's rating system & I seem to recall him being in favor of the assault weapons ban. Rep. Delay (R-Tx.) may have an "A" rating from GOA, but unfrotunately he isn't calling the shots. He's the Majority Leader in the House but it is up to Rep. Hastert whether something gets voted on or not.

But back to the Senate...

Here's how it breaks down using GOA's rating system:

SHELBY (R-Al) B
ALLARD (R-Co) B
CAMPBELL (R-Co) B-
CHAMBLISS (R-Ga) A
CRAIG (R-Idaho) B
CRAPO (R-Idaho) B
BROWNBACK (R-Kansas) B
BUNNING (R-Ky.) B
TALENT (R-Missouri) B
BURNS (R-Montana) B
ENSIGN (R-Nev.) B
SUNUNU (R-N.H.) B
INHOFE (R-Okl.) A
NICKLES (R-Okl.) B-
GRAHAM (R-SC) B
HUTCHISON (R-Tx.) B-
ENZI (R-Wy.) A
THOMAS (R-Wy.) B



That's 18 "A" & "B" rated Senators.

CORNYN (R-Tx.) NR
EDWARDS (D-NC) NR
CORZINE (D-NJ) NR
NELSON (D-Fl.) NR
MILLER (D-Ga.) NR
PRYOR (D-Ark.) NR
MURKOWSKI (R-Alaska) NR


That's 7 Not Rated by GOA. (NR is given when a Senator has not voting record to go on & hasn't answered GOA's questionaire)

SESSIONS (R-Alabama) C
KYL (R-Az) C
McCAIN (R-Az) C-
GRASSLEY (R-Iowa) C
ROBERTS (R-Kansas) C
McCONNELL (R-Ky) C
SNOWE (R-Maine) C-
LOTT (R-Mississippi) C-
BOND (R-Missouri) C
HAGEL (R-Nebraska) C
GREGG (R-NH) C-
SANTORUM (R-Pa) C
SPECTER (R-Pa) C-
ALEXANDER (R-Tn) C
HATCH (R-Utah) C-
ALLEN (R-Va) C


That's 16 "C" rated Senators.

The rest are rated "F' & "D". That'd be 59 "F" & "D" rated Senators going by GOA's ratings.

18 "A" & "B" rated
7 "NR"
16 "C" rated
59 "F' & "D" rated

Now if we count the "C's" & "NR's" as being on our side, we'd still lose. & I wouldn't count on having the "C's" on our side.

It is entirely possible that for some reason or another we get enough votes for a clean bill passed, but I trust GOA's rating as they're based on actual voting records when possible, or very pointed questionaires when no record is available.

Anyway, go to the Geek & SayUncle to catch up on things if you haven't already.




Tuesday, February 24, 2004


GeekWithA.45 points us to this from Neal Knox. It was written on sunday & basically says that the NRA won't sell us out.

He also points to this Neal Knox report that says the White House has urged passing of the Lawful Commerce in Arms act without any amendments.

As I've told several people with regards to the firts Neal Knox piece, it was dated on Sunday. It mgith be accurate, but it might be inaccurate because of the date or because of misinformation.

As far as the second, there could be a number of explanations. Bush could have finally learned from hsi father's mistake. Bush could have had an divine revelation that involved actually reading the Bill of Rights. Bush could have gotten word that a lot of gunowners were threatening to leave the party over this. Bush could have figured that he could cover his ass by putting out this statement publicly while urging support privately (hey- it's the exact opposite of some theories I heard about why he supported the assault weapons ban in the first place).

I've also had several people tell me that they've received an e-mail from the NRA urging them to ask their Senators to support a clean Lawful Commerce in Firearms act. However it's just now (within the last few hours) getting sent & it says nothing about what to do if an assault weapons ban amendment does get attached.

Truth is, there just ain't no way to be positive about what's happening. You either trust the players involved, you don't trust the players involved, or you're in between.

Personally I think that the Republicans were gonna make this thing work even if it meant passing a renewal of the assault weapons ban. The NRA probably had something to do with it as they've acted shadey like this before.

But something has them spooked enough to at least be attempting to cover their asses. & I would thank y'all for it, but y'all didn't do this for me; you did it for yourselves & your youngins & your youngins' youngins.

Here's my take - strictly opinion with nothing to back it up except what I have read & heard:

The NRA did cut some sort of deal. Might have been to outright pass an amendment Lawful Commerce in Arms bill but then again they could have thought they coudl clean up an amended Senate bill somehow once it was passed. No idea.

The Republicans were under pressure from the NRA &/or the gun makers to pass this legislation. Seeing as how most Repubs have as much familiarity with the 2nd amendment as most Dems this was a no brainer.

Stories were told to save the reputation fo the NRA & the Repubs in question.

But it's possible that enough of y'all called, wrote & genrally let them know that an assault weapons ban means a ban on your support for their party. That may have caused a re-think.

In any event the NRA is sending out alerts & Bush is saying to pass this bill clean. Sounds like they're just playing cover their ass to me since they could have (& should have) acted earlier but the important thing is that they wouldn't be trying to cover their ass if they weren't worried.

It ain't over yet. There'll be a vote tomorrow & it might not be just one. The important thing is to keep the pressure up. & don't let them think that they can make thing sright by voting against an assault weapons ban while their buddies vote for it. No excuses (if I keep repeating that it'll either become catchy or I'll know what it feels like to be an irritating activist protesting in the middle of rush hour).

If you haven't called yet now would be the time. If you have friends, relatives, pets, anyone or anything that hasn't called yet, urge them to do so. If they have paws, then dial for them.

I'll have more tomorrow, but odds are not until late in the afternoon. In the meantime I refer you to SayUncle & GeekWithA.45 for the latest on this.




There's a little good news tonight. Unfortunately it's not about the AWB.

From Say Uncle comes a link to this story:

"A divided Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that a federal agent can be sued for violating the constitutional rights of a couple during a search of their ranch, refusing to shield officers from personal liability when they make mistakes on search warrants."

The agents in question were from the ATF & their transgression was a common one - the warrant did not name anything to be seized.

From what I've heard over the years, the ATF have a bad habit of serving warrants just like that. Hopefully this will put a stop to it.

Here's why it's a bad thing to have a blank space like that in a warrant:

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Emphasis added by SCOTUS. :)




From this thread at the High Road we find more disturbing news. It seems that Sen. warner (R-Va.) is on board with Difi & Schumer to amend the Lawful Commerce in Firearms Act with anti-gun attachments - most notably an extension of the "assault weapons" ban.

"I have just confirmed with Senator Warner's office in DC that he is
putting in a bill with DIANNE FEINSTEIN and CHUCK SCHUMER to extend
the Assault Weapons Ban, as is, for another 10 YEARS!!!
The aide that I talked to didn't know the difference between a
flash-suppressor and a silencer, asked why I needed a bayonet lug
(this is America - I don't need one, but I want one), and basically
said that Warner was just doing something that the Administration
wanted!
I told him there WOULD be a price to pay at the polls in November for
anyone who supports the AWB in any shape or form. He asked, 'What
would you do, put a Democrat in as President?"


This is a post from a public message board so take it for what you will. If you're in Virginy call Sen. Warner & make him see the light : "assault weapons" ban renewal or expansion = no support for his entire party. No excuses!



I just got this in the mail from a friend. I'll paste it in it's entirety:

NRA Oks Strategy to Force Pro-Gun Senators to Support Assault Weapons
Ban, Gun Show InstaChecks


Your worst nightmare has come true!

Tomorrow morning (10 am Eastern Time), the Senate leadership -- headed
by the feckless Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn) -- is prepared to push a
comprehensive gun package which includes:

-- the gun liability bill (S. 659);

-- an extension of the so-called "Assault Weapons" ban;

-- a "Gun Show Loophole" bill, which will kill all gun shows.

And the NRA-ILA is getting ready to urge supposedly pro-gun senators to
vote for the entire package!

When the bill comes to the Senate floor, Senators Dianne Feinstein
(D-Calif) and John McCain (R-Ariz) are expected to offer amendments to
re-enact the so-called "Assault Weapons" ban and to "close the gun show
loophole."

Insiders with decades of experience lobbying Congress on gun issues
report one or both of these amendments are likely to pass with the
NRA's
silent backing.

The "gun show loophole" amendment would effectively eliminate gun
shows.
This is because it would be a felony to fail to notify each and every
"person who attends the [gun show] of the [requirements of the Brady
Law]." Thus, if the person responsible for handing out "Brady Law
pamphlets" goes to the bathroom, each and every member of the board of
the sponsoring organization could go to prison.

What everyone on the Hill knows is that, if the the NRA's silent deal
stands, there are a majority of votes in the US Senate to reauthorize
the Assault Weapons ban, and there may be the votes to close the "Gun
Show Loophole."

The NRA and Frist will quietly pressure pro-gun senators to vote for
these amendments -- complete with an extension of the Assault Weapons
gun ban and the McCain language to eliminate gun shows.

Of course, the NRA is publicly opposing the Assault Weapons ban
amendment, but know quite well that their silent deal will enable it to
pass.

The gig is up -- the NRA has crossed the line. The Assault Weapons ban
is the most important piece of legislation to ever face gun owners, and
they are playing games with it, all for a bill that will have only
limited effect on manufacturers of firearms.

The gun liability bill is a big priority for the NRA and the Senate
leadership. It would supposedly limit frivolous lawsuits against gun
dealers and manufacturers. BUT it would CONTINUE TO ALLOW SUITS FOR
NEGLIGENCE (dubbed "negligent entrustment" in the bill) AND FOR DESIGN
DEFECT.

Since 34 (out of 34) local government suits raise charges of
"negligence" -- and 27 out of 34 raise allegations of "design defect"
--
S. 659 may not do much, and shouldn't be considered on the same plane
of
importance as the "Assault Weapons" ban reauthorization.

The NRA's strategy is to risk the permanent ban of all military style
"assault weapons" so that they can pass a liability protection bill of
dubious merit.

But their risk is our loss.

As part of the NRA silent deal, not one piece of mail has been dropped
by the NRA to their members alerting them to the upcoming attack by the
anti-gunners. Their silence has allowed the anti-gunners a golden
opportunity to forever ban dozens of semi-auto firearms (and large
capacity magazines) and destroy gun shows as we know them.

Of course, as all pro-gunners know, the only way gun owners win is when
we all mobilize to defeat gun control. That's what we are doing right
here, and right now.

This is a classic case of the dog that didn't bark. The NRA didn't
warn
members: as of the writing of this e-mail, there is nothing on their
website regarding this deal.

Right now the only pressure on the US Senate is from the anti-gunners
and the anti-gun media.

This will allow NRA operatives to quietly cut the deal to pass gun
control, and say "This is the best we can do."

They'll chalk up one victory (the liability portion) and two defeats
(assault weapons and gun shows), and hope the bill gets better in
Conference. This kind of cavalier gambit is what they have used for
decades, and gun owners always lose on these insider games.

What you can do:

Call the NRA-ILA immediately toll-free at 800-392-8683 and/or e-mail
them at Federal-Affairs@nrahq.org

You can also e-mail one of the NRA-ILA Director of Federal Affairs,
Chuck Cunningham, at ChuckC@visi.net.

Tell the NRA to immediately drop this idiotic plan to let the Assault
Weapons ban -- or any other gun control -- be tacked onto any
legislation, and to pull out all the stops to defeat these gun
controls,
or lose your membership forever. If you are not an NRA member, tell
them you are not a member because of these kinds of appeasements of the
gun-grabbers.

Also contact both of Colorado's US Senators. Don't wait until later:
use the below sample communication to e-mail, fax, or call our US
Senators immediately. Or better yet, contact them in all three manners

Senator Wayne Allard
Phone: (202) 224-5941
Fax:(202) 224-6471
Contact via internet: http://allard.senate.gov/contactme (paste this
url
into your browser, and type letter in the online form, or paste the
text
below)

Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell
Phone(202) 224-5852
Fax:(202) 228-4609
Contact via internet: http://campbell.senate.gov/email.htm (paste this
url into your browser, and type letter in the online form, or paste the
text below)

-------------------------------------------------------------
SAMPLE COMMUNICATION

Dear Senator:

Senator Bill Frist will ask you to vote for an anti-gun package
containing:

-- S. 659, the gun liability bill;

-- an extension of the so-called "Assault Weapons" gun ban;

-- a gun show amendment which would effectively put gun shows out
of business.

S. 659 is not worth swallowing an extension on the Assault Weapons ban
or restrictions on gun shows. Both of these measures would constitute
very egregious violations of Congress' constitutional authority. I
hope
you will do everything in your power to make sure these amendments do
not end up in the bill.

Please know that any senator who votes to extend the Assault Weapons
ban
-- in whatever form -- or to restrict gun shows will be recognized as
the anti-gun politician that he is. I will be watching how you vote.
Thank you.

Sincerely,

-------------------------------------------------------------

------------------------------------------
Rocky Mountain Gun Owners
Colorado's Largest Gun Rights Organization
PO Box 3114
Denver, Colorado 80201
Phone & Fax (888) 874-3006
http://www.rmgo.org exdir@rmgo.org

------------------------------------------







Like I said - just received this. Will post more in a bit. Meanwhile hit GeekWithA.45 as he has some updates worth checking out.



Monday, February 23, 2004


I found the following over at SayUncle's place about halfway down the post:

"The gun industry protection bill may have the Assault Weapons Ban attached to it."

From the linked story we find this:

"A Republican-led bill to immunize gun makers from wrongful-death claims is expected to hit the floor tomorrow, but Democrats and liberal Republicans will propose an amendment to extend the federal assault-weapons ban, possibly setting up a showdown with the House.
President Bush supports the assault-weapons proposal as well as the overall immunity bill.
'With regard to the assault-weapons ban, he supports the extension of the current ban,' White House spokeswoman Claire Buchan said. 'On immunity, he doesn't believe manufacturers of a legal product should be held liable for the illegal use of that product."


That's our "pro-gun" president???

"The ban is set to expire Sept. 13, and a split could arise between the White House and House Republicans backed by some of the conservative movement's most powerful interest groups.
The president wants the extension to make good on his 2000 campaign promise to continue the "common sense" legislation. But he also wants to protect the gun industry from trial lawyers, a position supported by the National Rifle Association."


Please remember that the Gun Control Act of 1968, with it's sporting purposes clause & prohibition on mail-order firearms was backed by the gun industry because they thought they could use the market that was being occupied by mail-order (often foreign) surplus gun dealers. Now think about this - if the gun industry supported the GCA of '68 so they could create & then fill a relatively small vaccuum in the market to increase their profits do you think for one second that they'd want ot kill a bill offerring them protection from frivilous lawsuits just so a handful of companies could go back ot making hi-capacity normal capacity mags & rifles with bayonet lugs on them?

So that's where at least one pressure point is located.

"Our position is very clear. This is not about extending the Clinton gun ban and it shouldn't muddy the waters,' said Wayne LaPierre, NRA executive vice president.
'The issue is, do we want to save the American gun industry or kill it ... and we oppose any expansion of the Clinton semiautomatic gun ban,' Mr. LaPierre said."

Not really encouraging, but not damning either. He says the NRA is against the AWB & for the frivilous lawsuit protection bill, but he doesn't say outright which is more important.

"House Republican leadership has vowed to see the ban expire. And the friction between House and Senate Republicans over legislative compromises on the energy and Medicare bills could worsen if the bill for gun makers' immunity enters the House chamber with unwanted amendments.
House Majority Leader Tom DeLay said last year that there weren't enough votes in the House to reauthorize the ban, and he has vowed not to fight for votes to push the legislation."


I hope that was a misprint. "...vowed not to fight for votes to push the legislation..."? That is certainly better than fighting for votes to push for the AWB, but less encouraging than fighting for votes against the AWB.

Still, Delay is the Republican leader in the House, but it's Hastert who controls things & he's open to discussion last I heard. Perhaps Delay will have enough influence to sway people to not vote for the AWB in any form. If he actually tries to sway them that is.

"But Senate Democrats will not let the immunity proposal pass without extending the ban and may hold the overall bill hostage using amendments.
Howard Gantman, spokesman for Sen. Dianne Feinstein, said the California Democrat 'has said that she would offer this bill [as an amendment] to the Republican gun-liability bill.'
Mrs. Feinstein introduced a bill last year to extend the ban. It had several co-sponsors, including Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, and has the support of federal and local law enforcement agencies.
'We've urged President Bush to push this,' Mr. Gantman said."


Usual cast of bad guys with the usual evil plan. But the big question isn't whether or not they'll try to attach the AWB to the frivilous lawsuits bill, but whether or not Bush will actively push for it. I've opined before that Bush may be subject to leverage & it's entirely possible that he's holding out for a good deal before he starts throwing presidential weight towards passing the AWB extension.

"Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, New York Democrat, introduced a bill in May to place more guns on that list. A similar bill in the Senate, sponsored by Sen. Frank R. Lautenburg, New Jersey Democrat, is expected to hit the floor this week.
Scott Roliston, a spokesman for Mrs. McCarthy, said his boss would bring more amendments to the gun bill.
'Congresswoman McCarthy ran for office for stricter gun laws. The president said he would sign an assault-weapons ban if it got to his desk. He has 208 days to do this, and it is going to be an issue,' Mr. Roliston said."


It's an issue now. Bush may very well think that he can keep his base (What are they gonna do; vote Democrat?) while getting some swing votes by signing this "reasonable" gun control law. I don't think he realizes that there are enough Bush supporters who will sit the next one out if the AWB gets extended or expanded to make Kerry or Edwards the next Pres.

But Bush may not be in touch enough to realize what he's doing. Like father, like son I guess.

"A final wrinkle in the debate will be a bill from Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, for tighter regulation of the private sale of firearms at gun shows. Federal laws and those of numerous states require licensed gun dealers to conduct thorough criminal background checks of buyers, but guns sold by individuals at shows require no extensive checks.
Lobbyists say the proposed regulation, also opposed by gun-rights groups, has the votes to pass the Senate, either on its own or as an amendment to the gun makers' immunity bill. Its prospects in the House are less clear."


Not AWB related but thought y'all should prepare for that fight as well.

So what's gonna happen? No idea. The House & Senate have enough anti-gun votes to pass damn near anything short of a total ban (& I'm being optimistic), however if enough pressure is applied to the Republicans then they may firm up their votes to a more pro-gun position.

Here's what you have to do:

1: Communicate with your congresscritter (especially your Reps as the Senate is damn near hopeless) & tell him/her that if the AWB gets passed then you will withdraw support from their party!

Most congrescritters figure that either your individual vote won't matter that much in their race (especially if their next election is over a year away), or they can vote to kill the AWB while their buddies who aren't up for re-election can pass it.

Tell them it's a Party thing - we get an extended or expanded AWB & the other Party gets your votes & your friends' votes as well. No excuses!

This might make them pressure their buddies into killing any AWB bills or amendments.

Next - & this is perhaps most important - tell the NRA that if the AWB passes in any form for any reason whatsoever that you'll drop them & switch all your donations to GOA, JPFO & other no compromise orgs. Tell them you'll also drop membership in their state affiliate & throw your local support & donations to local no compromise groups.

This will get them off their ass (hopefully) & make them act like the 800 lb. gorilla that everyone thinks they are.

The reason the NRA is so critical is because they have lobbyists who are more immediately convincing than a couple thousand or tens of thousands of letters from across the country.

Now some of you know I detest the NRA. I wouldn't encourage anyone to join them no matter what because of the way they stab us in the back. But there's no doubt that they are influencial. we just have to grab them by the ear & make sure they don't use their influence to betray us again.

So with the congresscritters thinking about losing votes for their entire Party, & the NRA looking at losing a significant percentage of its members, then something might happen.

Oh, CC a copy of any e-mail to Bush & add a note that says you will not vote for Bush if the AWB passes. & you will not vote Repub again until the AWB is gone.

One last thing: mention to the NRA a boycott of any gun manufacturer who is part of any effort (group or individual) to get the protection from frivilous lawsuit bill passed despite an AWB attachment. The NRA will pass enough of those along to the gun industry groups should any disagreement about killing a bill with the AWB attached come up.

If enough of us do that we may have a chance of seeing the AWB die.

Let's review:

A passed AWB means no votes for that party regardless of individual votes. No excuses!

A passed AWB means resignation & no more cash for the NRA or its affiliates. No excuses!

A passed AWB means a boycott of any gun manufacturer who pushed for it or is a member of a trade organization that pushed for it. No excuses!

Here's GOA's Legislative Action Center page. Use it to find your congresscritter.

Here's a link that'll give you contact info for NRA state affiliates.

Here's the NRA's contact page.

Here's the contact page for the NRA's field reps.

Here's the contact page for the NRA-ILA. (The NRA's political & legal department more or less)

Update:

GeekWithA.45 has a post up y'all should read. He also has this follow up post which y'all should check out the links listed therein.

Clayton Cramer is much more optimistic than I am. I respect Mr. Cramer's research immensely but I quite often disagree with his views on things more recent. To sum up the nature of our disagreement in this case: he feels the NRA & the Republicans will do the correct thing - that is, kill the protection from frivilous lawsuits bill if an AWB is attached to it, while I don't share his faith in the NRA or the Republicans (& it's not from some hidden agenda about bashing the NRA - I've always been pretty open about why I bash them). It's simply that the NRA has supported gun control bills in the past, as have the firearms manufacturing industry. The Gun Control Act of '68 is the most prominent example.

In any event whether you're as optimistic as Mr. Cramer or as pessimistic as I am, contact the NRA & your congresscritters. If they're going to do the right thing anyway then politely but firmly making your feelings known to them won't hurt a thing. However if they were thinking about doing something naughty then enough contact with polite but firmly relayed ultimatums may get them back on the straight & narrow.




It gets better.

David Codrea received a very hateful e-mail from a Canadian acedemic. In this letter the author told Mr. Codrea, "...Better yet, use your gun to prevent your genes from being passed on to future generations."

It seems to have been initiated because someone posted a copy of Mr. Codrea's open letter to the Mayor of San Francisco on a usenet forum.

Now the writer of the letter, one Craig Levine, has e-mailed the FBI in an effort to get Mr. Codrea investigated by them.

& this coming from the land that gave us John Cantius Garand.



Sunday, February 22, 2004


Schwarzenegger was interviewed on Meet The Press & while most of the attention was focused on his making arguments that people born outside of the U.S. should be eligible for the presidency, he did manage to slip this in concerning the homosexual marriage situation in San Francisco:

"In San Francisco it is license for marriage of same sex. Maybe the next thing is another city that hands out licenses for assault weapons and someone else hands out licenses for selling drugs, I mean you can't do that,"

& ya know he's correct: they shouldn't hand out licenses for "assault weapons". After all, owning & carrying an "assault weapon" is a Constitutionally enumerated Right & a license &/or fee should not be required. Although I doubt his statement was based on the same reasoning.

I'll leave some words from those much wiser than myself. If someone has his e-mail ya might wanna CC these to Schwarzenegger.

"One of the ordinary modes, by which tyrants accomplish their purpose without resistance is,
by disarming the people, and making it an offense to keep arms ..."
Joseph Story, U.S. Supreme Court Justice


"The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.' The right of the whole people, old and young, men, women and boys, and not militia only, to keep and bear arms of every description, and not such merely as are used by the militia, shall not be infringed, curtailed, or broken in upon, in the smallest degree; and all this for the important end to be attained: the rearing up and qualifying a well-regulated militia, so vitally necessary to the security of a free State. Our opinion is that any law, State or Federal, is repugnant to the Constitution, and void, which contravenes this right." [Nunn vs. State, 1 Ga. (1 Kel.) 243, at 251 (1846)]

"A system of licensing and registration is the perfect device to deny gun ownership to the bourgeoisie." — Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

"The maintenance of the right to bear arms is a most essential one to every free people and should not be whittled down by technical constructions." [State vs. Kerner, 181 N.C. 574, 107 S.E. 222, at 224 (1921)]

"A state may not impose a charge for the enjoyment of a right granted by the federal constitution... The power to impose a license tax on the exercise of these freedoms is indeed as potent as the power of censorship which this Court has repeatedly struck down... a person cannot be compelled 'to purchase, through a license fee or a license tax, the privilege freely granted by the constitution." —Murdock v. Pennsylvania 319 US 105 (1942)




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