Following is GOA’s Gun Rights Report for 2006.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
There’s a lot of danger looming on the horizon. When the next Congress is sworn in January, a committed gun hater and supporter of gun confiscation, Nancy Pelosi, will take the reins in the House.
The democratic congresswoman from California is rabidly anti-gun. She holds an F- rating from Gun Owners of America and has
consistently championed socialist “values.” The new Majority Leader in the Senate, Democrat Harry Reid of Nevada, also holds an F- rating from GOA.
Both Pelosi and Reid have worked hard to earn their failing grades, and now, they will be setting the agenda on gun control issues. Gun owners will have to remain vigilant in a way that we have not had to for more than a decade. But lest we forget, there was much that we were able to accomplish this year. Just consider some of the victories that we achieved together.
*** January — March
Gun Owners lobbied on all kinds of issues at the state level this year. But, perhaps, the most gratifying victories centered on the Emergency Protection bills that protect the rights of Americans to keep and bear arms in the wake of a natural disaster.
Gun owners will remember that a little over a year ago — in the wake of Hurricane Katrina — police began stealing the guns of law-abiding residents in New Orleans. This travesty exposed the fact that, similar to Louisiana, several states had laws which gave enormous (although unconstitutional) powers to Governors to regulate or ban firearms during an emergency.
GOA sprung into action, first, by posting videos of the gun confiscation on our website. GOA then began working in several state legislatures, as GOA-supported bills were introduced all across the nation to repeal these pernicious state codes.
GOA spent a lot of time in Louisiana, getting gun owners in the state to lobby their own legislators in favor of a change in the law. The results were astounding, as the state sponsor of the “Emergency Protection” act credited GOA with helping him get 80% of the House of Representatives to cosponsor his bill.
Rep. Steve Scalise, told GOA that, “I’ve had a number of [Representatives] come up to me asking to co-author my bill because
they heard from members of Gun Owners of America in their districts in support of my bill.”
Not only that, Scalise said that the GOA-produced videos which contained media footage of the gun thefts were instrumental in
helping him convince lawmakers that gun confiscation had actually occurred. (Yes, it’s true. Many of his legislative colleagues had no idea gun confiscation had occurred in New Orleans.)
In the end, Louisiana was one of ten states that GOA spent time in, working to enact their Emergency Protection bills into law.
*** April — June
With most of the state legislatures ending, GOA turned its sights on pro-gun bills at the national level. GOA used the Internet and the mail to mobilize gun owners in support of the Vitter-Jindal bills, which were federal versions of Emergency Protection legislation that passed in almost a dozen states.
GOA also spent time defending gun owners’ rights in the courts. After San Francisco voters decided to ban handguns within their city limits, Gun Owners’ founder and chairman, Sen. H.L. Richardson, submitted an amicus brief contesting the new edict.
While serving as a California state senator for more than two decades, Richardson had drafted (and passed) preemption legislation which bans localities from doing what the Bay City did.
In June, Superior Court Judge James Warren agreed with the Gun Owners Foundation-funded amicus brief and overturned the voter-approved measure, citing Richardson’s law as prohibiting the city from banning guns.
At the same time, GOA started alerting people to the upcoming UN gun control conference, which would take place over the July 4 holiday.
In the days leading up to the conference, Gun Owners of America activated its grassroots network, generating thousands of messages into Senate and State Department offices.
GOA used the mail, radio, and Internet for several months, urging gun owner support for legislation to instantly cut off US funds to the United Nations. In addition to contacting the Congress, GOA also urged gun owners to contact the State Department delegation which attended the UN conference.
GOA members were on hand to protest the UN and give interviews to the New York Times on the opening day of its gun control summit. Fox News reported that “Groups like Gun Owners of America… [are] heavily lobbying against the symposium here at the U.N.”
Despite high expectations in the gun-grabbing community, the conference would not end favorably for Brady-types all around the globe. As indicated above, GOA was very active in the weeks and months leading up to the July 4 gun control conference. And with the conclusion of the conference, press reports indicated that our active participation was well worth the effort.
According to Reuters, the conference ended in a “total meltdown” and “chaos.” No formal paper was adopted, and no plan for future action was agreed to.
Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), in a column appearing on the day before the conference was to begin, praised gun owners for having responded to the call to action with “an avalanche of letters” to the American delegation, asking that none of our tax dollars be used to further UN anti-gun proposals.
July was also an important month because both the House and Senate passed their respective versions of the Emergency Protection Act. The bill was signed into law by President Bush in October.
Most lobby groups in Washington get to take a vacation in August, as Congress goes out of town for its summer recess. But Gun Owners went to work, lobbying hard against the expansion of the Brady Act — a bill introduced by F- rated Carolyn McCarthy. Her bill (HR 1415) is designed to suck in even more innocent, unsuspecting gun owners into the web of gun owner disarmament.
GOA members and activists overwhelmingly responded to our internet and postal alerts over the August recess, resulting in untold thousands of postcards and emails being dumped on legislators’ desks in opposition to HR 1415.
The results were astounding, as indicated by the following quote from a congressional office: “Oh s–t! We got a lot of postcards and e-mails from GOA members.”
It’s a good thing those postcards and e-mails were sent by our members, too, because GOA was the only Second Amendment group in Washington opposing McCarthy’s attack.
Part of the confusion over the McCarthy gun grab was that pro-gun lobbyists in the nation’s capital were encouraging House members to support her anti-gun bill. For this reason, when the House Judiciary Committee was scheduled to vote on HR 1415 in early September, the McCarthy gun bill was expected to easily pass.
But that was before thousands upon thousands of postcards and emails from GOA members began flooding legislative offices. When the Judiciary Committee met in September, they reported two firearms-related bills to the floor of the House — but they
specifically passed over the McCarthy bill (even though it was scheduled to come up for a vote).
Thanks to the active support of GOA members, legislators decided they didn’t want to touch this “hot potato.” The tidal wave of grassroots opposition buried the gun control bill as legislative offices on Capitol Hill told GOA, “We’ve heard your postcards and e-mails loud and clear!”
*** October — November
Gun Owners were very involved in the recent elections, as our political victory fund helped elect several, new, outstanding pro-gun legislators to Congress. GOA-PVF directly assisted several of these new congressmen, while GOA helped expose the anti-gun records of those who were selling out gun owners’ rights.
GOA is famous for its extensive Candidate Rating which is posted every two years on our website, and has been published in many pro-gun magazines over the years. But the Brady Campaign hates this fact, and they have asked the Federal Election Commission to investigate GOA’s practice of posting its candidate ratings on the Internet.
Millions of gun owners rely on these ratings, but obviously, that is something the Brady Bunch would like to end. They want to keep you in the dark! They don’t want you to know the truth. The more they can hide what anti-gun legislators are doing, the greater their ability to take away your guns.
A decision by the FEC is currently pending. While this could become a costly battle for Gun Owners of America, we still plan to fight it in the courts. But this won’t be the only court battle that is carrying-over to the next year. As the year comes to an end, there are three very-high profile cases in which Gun Owners Foundation is involved.
First, GOA’s foundation stood alongside the Attorney General of Wyoming in defiance of the BATFE. The agency wants to overturn a Wyoming law, introduced by Senator Cale Case, which essentially allows state residents (who are disqualified to own firearms because of the federal Lautenberg gun ban) to find a legal way of getting around the federal ban. While the BATFE is opposing this law in court, GOA is in the state, helping to protect the rights of gun owners.
This case is extremely important, because if GOF can win in Wyoming, then Case’s law can be used as a model in other states, thus allowing innocent gun owners — who were unsuspectingly disarmed for life — to own guns once again.
Another one of GOF’s high-profile cases is in Montana, where we are helping to defend Rick Celata, the owner of KT Ordinance. KTO makes parts kits for individuals who want to make their own firearms, which is legal as long as the owner does not sell the firearm to another person. The BATFE has raided Celata and confiscated all of his part kits, although the agency has yet to charge him with any criminal wrongdoing. Nevertheless, Celata’s firearms have been put up for forfeiture.
Finally, GOF is assisting Bob Arwady, a gun dealer in Texas. The BATFE vendetta against gun stores in general — and Bob Arwady in particular — has dragged on for years. The BATFE lost their effort to jail Arwady when he showed in federal court that their three witnesses were liars. The jury acquitted him. But that has not stopped the BATFE from their current effort to pull Arwady’s dealer’s license — an effort which amounts to nothing more than the agency’s attempt to punish and harass someone for having continuously beaten them in court.