Senate Passes Gun Control Amidst Protection For Gun Makers

7/05 Senate Adds Gun Control To Liability Bill

http://gunowners.org/a072905.htm

Senate Passes Gun Control Amidst Protection For Gun Makers
-- Now the House has to clean up the Senate's mess

Gun Owners of America
8001 Forbes Place, Suite 102
Springfield, VA 22151
(703)321-8585

Friday evening, July 29, 2005

The U.S. Senate passed legislation (S. 397) protecting the gun industry from frivolous lawsuits by a vote of 65-31 this afternoon.

It should have been a joyous occasion for the entire gun community. But just when it seemed that the majority party was about to deal a knockout blow, the Republican leadership dropped their gloves and allowed anti-gun Democrats to land a hard uppercut on the chin.

As a result of that lack of resolve, America will be saddled with mandatory trigger locks unless the House of Representatives acts in a more responsible manner.

True, the underlying bill is significant legislation, supported by GOA, which will help the firearms industry defend itself from the slew of frivolous lawsuits you've been hearing about for years. It's not great protection, but it's a nice first step.

However, "nice first step" should never be an excuse for the passage of more gun control. By the way, you will no doubt be reading news reports touting the bill as a great victory for gun owners, while dismissing the trigger lock amendment as "minor." Wrong, and more on that later.

But first: how did this thing blow up in our faces?

IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN GOOD, THEN IT WENT BAD

Remember that Gun Owners of America had asked its members and activists to lobby Majority Leader Bill Frist to use whatever means possible to block anti-gun amendments? At first, his office had been telling us this couldn't be done.

Frist's office told us there was no Senate rule allowing the majority party to block bad amendments.

But after GOA members and activists applied the heat, Frist took another look. He then used parliamentary rules to "fill the amendment tree," which is exactly what we asked him to do. "Filling the amendment tree" is a technical term which explains how the majority party can offer amendments in such a way as to block the minority party from offering other amendments.

So far so good. But then... Frist blinked. You see, there were a handful of "moderate" Democrats, mainly from pro-gun states, who had cosponsored the original bill -- enough to make the measure filibuster-proof. Fearing that the other side would get those guys to bolt from the bill, Frist caved and allowed people like decidedly anti-gun Senator Herb Kohl to offer amendments.

Frist should have stood firm and let any rats jumping ship go home and explain to their constituents why they didn't support needed tort reform.

But he did not, and the trigger lock amendment passed. Those who think it's no big deal will tell you that even though the provision requires gun dealers to include the sale of a "lock-up-your-safety" device with every handgun sold, there are no penalties for the gun owner if he or she does not use the trigger lock. Right. NOT YET.

Remember seat belts? First they had to be installed in every new car sold. Then, it became mandatory that you wear them. You can almost hear the debate in the next Congress: "It does no good to provide trigger locking devices if gun owners aren't required to use them. We need to punish any gun owner who fails to lock up his or her handgun!"

Remember also that some us don't like a "tax" on the price of our next gun, which we have to pay to get a piece of equipment we know can endanger our lives should we install it.

IT COULD HAVE BEEN WORSE

At least your hard work convinced Frist to fill the tree in the first place. Otherwise, any anti-gun Senator could have added anything including the word "firearm" and who knows what we would have ended up with. It's an utter shame that Frist lost his nerve right when total victory was in our grasp.

Even worse, perhaps, 70 Senators went along with the trigger lock amendment when they could just as easily have voted "No" and passed a clean bill thereafter. Were your Senators among those who need to be spanked for toying with your rights? Go to http://www.gunowners.org/cgv.htm for a complete run-down of the trigger locks vote.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT

The bill now moves to the House. Some pro-gun spokesmen have been promising that the trigger lock amendment can be stripped out in a conference committee. As mentioned in a previous alert, this is a dangerous strategy which frequently does NOT work -- such as when we got stuck with the Feinstein semi-auto ban in 1993-94 and the Incumbent Protection Act in 2002.

Actually, a clean bill already exists in the House. Why not pass that one?

Congress is in recess during August. But the back-room deals are certain to continue inside the Beltway.

To counter those expected compromises, GOA will need your help at specific times over the remainder of the summer. Please stay tuned... gun owners will need to pressure their Representatives with one simple message: a vote for ANY bill, should it contain new gun control, is NOT something we're prepared to swallow without a fight.


Senate and NRA leadership agree to let Liability bill become a Gun Control monster

Dangerous Amendments Coming to Federal Bill

July 26, 2005 -- There is trouble afoot in Washington, D.C...

As you know, if you've been getting our alerts for anytime, last year the US Senate introduced a bill that would protect gun makers and sellers from meritless lawsuits. As you also know, the bill turned into an anti-gun nightmare that had to be stopped.

In fact, last year's bill would have been America's worst gun control package EVER.

Along with our friends from pro-gun groups across the country, and with your tireless efforts, we were able to kill it.

Until the very last minute, the NRA supported the bill and promised that, in spite of the terrible anti-gun amendments added to it, they were confident that it could be "cleaned up" when it was sent to the House.

At the time we warned you that it would be a fatal strategy to accept passage of the gun makers protection law if it included anti-gun language.

We felt that was a dangerous approach that had failed many times in the past. In the end, because of your input, the NRA backed off this dangerous policy and agreed that the bill had to be killed, but not before they and others ridiculed our position. In effect, we made the NRA reluctantly pull the plug on their out-of-control Frankenstein.

Well, it may be deja-vu all over again.

Another bill (S. 397) to protect gun makers is due to be dealt with in the Senate TOMORROW, and sources on Capitol Hill have informed us that the NRA is prepared to accept anti-gun amendments in the Senate in hopes of having them stripped out in the House, in spite of recent NRA alerts opposing anti-gun amendments.

This has been confirmed by Senator Larry Craig, the sponsor of S. 397 and an NRA board member. According to Jeff Knox's (son of the late Neal Knox) Hard Corps Report:

"Craig recently commented that if “poison pill” amendments are attached this year, he will continue to push for passage with a strategy of removing the unpalatable portions during the House/Senate Conference Committee process. While that is not an unreasonable strategy, it is a bit disconcerting that Senator Craig felt compelled to reveal that bit of information prior to the floor debate. Such prior knowledge of this possibility could give some Senators a sense of cover to vote for bad amendments."

Jeff Knox, The Hard Corps Report

 


You can find this whole alert by clicking here.


In other words, the NRA's plan is to charge ahead, despite the very real possibility that this bill will be full of anti-gun amendments, including bans on .50 caliber firearms, a renewed and ever expansive Assault Weapons Ban, and many, many others.

For more on this please see a recent GOA alert by clicking here.

What you can do: Urge Senator Bill Frist to do whatever it takes to keep anti-gun amendments off of the gun makers' protection act. Ask him to use ANY and ALL of the parliamentary maneuvers that he has at his disposal to keep anti-gun zealots from attaching amendments to S. 397.

You can call Senator Frist at (202) 224-3344, or click here for e-mail contact.   Then paste in the sample language below.

Then send a message to our two US Senators, Wayne Allard and Ken Salazar. Tell to them oppose S. 397 if it has gun control attached to the bill.

For Allard, copy the sample letter below and paste into this contact website for Wayne Allard (click here).

For Salazar, copy the sample letter below and paste into this contact website for Ken Salazar (click here).

___________________________________________________________


Dear Senator Frist:
I have been informed that anti-gun militants intend to offer gun control amendments to the gun makers' protection act, S. 397. I want you to know that the minimal gains this legislation will give us should NOT be accepted in exchange for any additional gun control.

I have no confidence that gun control language will be taken out of the bill in a conference committee. Those are the same kinds of failed promises that I have heard in years past when we got stuck with the Clinton-Feinstein semi-auto ban in 1994 and the McCain-Feingold free speech restrictions in 2002.

Instead, I would encourage you to use the SAME SUCCESSFUL STRATEGY that you used last year to keep gun control off of the class action lawsuit bill. I would urge you to use any and all parliamentary tools at your disposal to prevent this amendment from being offered to the gun makers' protection act.

Sincerely,



_____________________________________________________________________

Dear Senator Allard/Salazar:

Though we'd like to protect firearms manufacturers from frivolous lawsuits, it is entirely possible that this legislation is laden down with gun control, much like the same bills offered in 2004.

If there is one gun control amendment added, I urge you to kill this legislation. It is too dangerous to expect a conference committee to remove these objectionable items. The strategy of relying on a conference committee to remove unconstitutional amendments has been disastrous.

Sincerely,


_____________________________________________________________________


Once again, we cannot allow this well intentioned bill to become a vehicle for the militant anti-gun forces.

Stay tuned.

Dangerous Amendments Coming to Federal Bill

Dangerous Amendments Coming to Federal Bill

July 26, 2005 -- There is trouble afoot in Washington, D.C...

As you know, if you've been getting our alerts for anytime, last year the US Senate introduced a bill that would protect gun makers and sellers from meritless lawsuits. As you also know, the bill turned into an anti-gun nightmare that had to be stopped.

In fact, last year's bill would have been America's worst gun control package EVER.

Along with our friends from pro-gun groups across the country, and with your tireless efforts, we were able to kill it.

Until the very last minute, the NRA supported the bill and promised that, in spite of the terrible anti-gun amendments added to it, they were confident that it could be "cleaned up" when it was sent to the House.

At the time we warned you that it would be a fatal strategy to accept passage of the gun makers protection law if it included anti-gun language.

We felt that was a dangerous approach that had failed many times in the past. In the end, because of your input, the NRA backed off this dangerous policy and agreed that the bill had to be killed, but not before they and others ridiculed our position. In effect, we made the NRA reluctantly pull the plug on their out-of-control Frankenstein.

Well, it may be deja-vu all over again.

Another bill (S. 397) to protect gun makers is due to be dealt with in the Senate TOMORROW, and sources on Capitol Hill have informed us that the NRA is prepared to accept anti-gun amendments in the Senate in hopes of having them stripped out in the House, in spite of recent NRA alerts opposing anti-gun amendments.

This has been confirmed by Senator Larry Craig, the sponsor of S. 397 and an NRA board member. According to Jeff Knox's (son of the late Neal Knox) Hard Corps Report:

"Craig recently commented that if “poison pill” amendments are attached this year, he will continue to push for passage with a strategy of removing the unpalatable portions during the House/Senate Conference Committee process. While that is not an unreasonable strategy, it is a bit disconcerting that Senator Craig felt compelled to reveal that bit of information prior to the floor debate. Such prior knowledge of this possibility could give some Senators a sense of cover to vote for bad amendments."

Jeff Knox, The Hard Corps Report

 


You can find this whole alert by clicking here.


In other words, the NRA's plan is to charge ahead, despite the very real possibility that this bill will be full of anti-gun amendments, including bans on .50 caliber firearms, a renewed and ever expansive Assault Weapons Ban, and many, many others.

For more on this please see a recent GOA alert by clicking here.

What you can do: Urge Senator Bill Frist to do whatever it takes to keep anti-gun amendments off of the gun makers' protection act. Ask him to use ANY and ALL of the parliamentary maneuvers that he has at his disposal to keep anti-gun zealots from attaching amendments to S. 397.

You can call Senator Frist at (202) 224-3344, or click here for e-mail contact.   Then paste in the sample language below.

Then send a message to our two US Senators, Wayne Allard and Ken Salazar. Tell to them oppose S. 397 if it has gun control attached to the bill.

For Allard, copy the sample letter below and paste into this contact website for Wayne Allard (click here).

For Salazar, copy the sample letter below and paste into this contact website for Ken Salazar (click here).

___________________________________________________________


Dear Senator Frist:
I have been informed that anti-gun militants intend to offer gun control amendments to the gun makers' protection act, S. 397. I want you to know that the minimal gains this legislation will give us should NOT be accepted in exchange for any additional gun control.

I have no confidence that gun control language will be taken out of the bill in a conference committee. Those are the same kinds of failed promises that I have heard in years past when we got stuck with the Clinton-Feinstein semi-auto ban in 1994 and the McCain-Feingold free speech restrictions in 2002.

Instead, I would encourage you to use the SAME SUCCESSFUL STRATEGY that you used last year to keep gun control off of the class action lawsuit bill. I would urge you to use any and all parliamentary tools at your disposal to prevent this amendment from being offered to the gun makers' protection act.

Sincerely,



_____________________________________________________________________

Dear Senator Allard/Salazar:

Though we'd like to protect firearms manufacturers from frivolous lawsuits, it is entirely possible that this legislation is laden down with gun control, much like the same bills offered in 2004.

If there is one gun control amendment added, I urge you to kill this legislation. It is too dangerous to expect a conference committee to remove these objectionable items. The strategy of relying on a conference committee to remove unconstitutional amendments has been disastrous.

Sincerely,


_____________________________________________________________________


Once again, we cannot allow this well intentioned bill to become a vehicle for the militant anti-gun forces.

Stay tuned.

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