Bills Barring Disaster Gun Grabs Open Scary Window on Elections
August 10, 2006
by Joseph P. Tartaro
With the publication of this issue of Gun Week, I begin my 27th year of editing this publication. The first issue published under my editorship was dated Aug. 8, 1979.
In the years that have followed, we and our readers have seen good times and bad. In fact, for many years the news we published about firearms issues was frequently so bad that at the office of at least one technical firearms consultant, Gun Week was frequently referred to as “Depression News.” That was because the top gun guy at that establishment would become so depressed after reading our reports of the constant barrage of anti-gun initiatives at the state and federal level, especially during the Clinton Administration.
In more recent years, there has been a lot more good news than bad. First, in 1994 the voters ousted a lot of anti-gunners in Congress and stripped majority control of the Senate and House from the Democrats. George W. Bush was elected president. The Clinton gun ban sunset and was not reauthorized. Under the Bush Administration, the Justice Department issued an opinion paper supporting the individual rights guarantee in the Second Amendment and the State Department upheld the traditional American right to keep and bear arms at the United Nations.
Congress passed and the President signed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act to shut down the frivolous lawsuits that were bleeding the firearms industry. And “shall-issue” concealed carry became the law in more states so that only two statesIllinois and Wisconsinstill prohibit any kind of legal concealed carry.
External events, such as the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the continuing concern for homeland security, and a devastating hurricane season last year have also had a favorable impact on the public’s attitude regarding guns and personal protection.
The answer to that age-old political question“Are you better off than you were?”when applied to gun rights is definitely: yes.
But that might not last.
The general media, the pollsters and a lot of politicians have been predicting that there is a good chance of the Democrats regaining control of Congress. It may not be as good a chance as some, like Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL), chairmen respectively of the Democrats’ Senate and House Campaign Committees, would like. Still, the possibility of a Democrat takeover in Congress exists, especially if gunowners and others who supported Bush and the GOP Congress become complacent, disaffected or just stay home on election day.
The July 25 House vote on HR-5013, a bill prohibiting law enforcement officers from confiscating legally owned guns after a man-made or natural disaster, provides an important warning sign regarding the election. In fact, it reinforces the lesson from the Senate vote on a similar measure about a week earlier.
But while we applaud the votes, we should take a careful look at the minorities that voted against the measure. In the Aug. 1 issue of Gun Week, we reported that the Senate opposition was led by Sens. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Edward Kennedy (D-MA), both capable of playing a dominant role in their party’s political platform. The others were also perennial anti-gunners, but Clinton and Kennedy were the ringmasters who kept them in line.
In the House, which voted 322-99, you had a similar anti-gun line-up, but therein lies the scary lesson for November.
If the Democrats win control of the House in November, come January 2007, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), who repeatedly called the pro-gun HR-5013 “insane,” would become chairman of the House Judiciary’s Subcommittee on the Constitution.
Despite support for the measure by police organizations, Nadler claimed the bill would prevent police from picking up guns that could be seized by looters. He claimed that police and other law enforcement officials could face a personal lawsuit for picking up guns they later found to be legally owned.
The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence said that while it agreed that legal guns should not be seized just because of an emergency declaration, it still had reservations.
“But we also believe that during a declared emergency, our law enforcement personnel should be allowed to help protect the public by making sure weapons are not abandoned or left easily accessible to looters, and to establish gun-free shelters secured by law enforcement if they deem such shelters necessary,” the Brady Campaign was quoted by Reuters news service.
Nadler and many other leading Democrats are just the kind of folks who will twist the truth to satisfy their anti-gun agenda, and it is very anti-gun.
Bobby Jindal (R-LA) said the bill does not inhibit police from enforcing gun laws, nor does it overwrite state and local laws prohibiting people from bringing guns into shelters. It does allow the Coast Guard to require that people surrender their firearms before boarding a rescue vehicle.
Mainly, however, it prevents the kind of jackbooted thugery that was perpetrated in New Orleans, which was even videotaped for television news shows, and which led to a joint federal lawsuit filed by the Second Amendment Foundation and National Rifle Association.
The real scary lesson is that while 98 Democrats and even the lone independent, Rep. Bernard Sanders of Vermont, joined 223 Republicans in voting for the bill, 98 Democrats and one Republican, Rep. Mark S. Kirk of Illinois, voted against it.
Among the 98 Democrats who voted against it are all the people who will be in control of Congressional power if the Democrats do win the House in November.
First off, there was Rep. Nancy Pelosi (CA), current Minority Leader, but hoping to become Speaker of the House, if the Democrats win.
Then there are the ranking minority members of key committees that could impact gun-related legislation. Here’s that list:
Rep. John Conyers Jr. (MI), would become chairman of the House Judiciary Committee; Rep. Bobby Scott (VA), would become chairman of the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security; Rep. Louise M. Slaughter (NY), would become chair of the all-powerful Rules Committee; Rep. Henry A. Waxman (CA) would take over the chair at the Government Reform Committee, and Rep. Elijah Cummings (MD), would chair the Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources, and, as previously mention, Nadler would control the Subcommittee on the Constitution.
Every single one of these Democrats who are anxious to assume power and control in January voted against HR-5013, a bill that guarantees a most basic right to survival in the face of natural and man-made disasters.
They represent not only the future of the Democrats in the House, but the future of the country, and regardless of what other national issues may concern you, this gang of the most virulent anti-gunners will mean a lot of anti-gun action in the House of Representatives should they succeed in winning their quest for power.
They were a minority voting block in the House on July 25, but there is a possibility that they might control the future of your firearms rights. That’s the scary lesson. And it could mean that Gun Week could resume its “Depression News” label because of their assault on our rights.
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