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03/01/2004 Archived Entry: "NRA says it's not going to compromise on ugly-gun ban extension"

YESTERDAY THE NRA SENT A NEWS RELEASE trying to quash rumors that it might compromise and support legislation extending the Clinton ugly-gun ban. (The release is behind the "more" link, if you haven't seen it.)

Well, we can sure hope they mean it. But no such rumors ever would have taken hold if the NRA hadn't already earned a well-established reputation for "compromising" in favor of every major gun-control measure, from the 1934 National Firearms Act to the Brady Bill. And their loud protestations about how hard they've fought against the ugly-gun ban over the years ring just a teeensy, tiny bit hollow, given their ardent support for Project Safe Neighborhoods -- the program to create 700 federal and state prosecutors whose sole job is to throw people in prison for "gun crimes" -- overwhelmingly including the very sort of technical violations of technical laws that the NRA claims to oppose.

PSN also aims to federalize state crime. That's a plan state prosecutors are happy to go along with, partly because it means much longer sentences for such "crimes" as having a firearm locked in a trunk in another room while you do a drug deal, or harmlessly pocketing a .22 cartridge you find on someone's floor, never imagining that little act will cost you 15 years of your life.

Since 2000, federal gun prosecutions nationwide have increased by 68 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Last year, more than 13,000 people were charged with federal gun crimes as part the project. Ninety-three percent of those convicted went to prison, and most were sentenced to more than three years.

So much for the NRA's (and the Bush administration's) real viewpoint on guns. If these jailed folks were all criminals who'd used firearms violently or threateningly in crimes, then they'd rightly serve time in state prisons. And nobody should feel sorry for them. But that's not the story here.

Still ... maybe the NRA really means what it says this time. It could happen.



Recent Internet alerts from some "pro-Second Amendment" groups have suggested that the National Rifle Association has either accepted a compromise that would include reenactment of the 1994 Clinton Gun ban and/or the McCain-Reed gun show restrictions, or will not actively fight against their passage in the Senate. Not only are these claims completely false and ridiculous but they are also extremely counterproductive to our legislative strategy and agenda. Gun control groups are spreading the same rumors in hopes of confusing pro-gun senators as to our position in hopes of gaining their support.

The National Rifle Association led the fight in opposition to this ill-conceived ban in 1994, led the efforts to repeal the ban two years later, and is leading the fight to ensure the Clinton gun ban expires on time on September 13. From public speeches, articles in NRA publications, communications to lawmakers and the development of a website (www.ClintonGunBan.com), the National Rifle Association has been vocal and unambiguous about our position on this issue.

It is our hope that supposed "friends of the Second Amendment" will cease to provide ammunition to the enemy by disseminating this false information. Unfortunately, some of these groups seem intent on finding or creating any excuse to defeat S. 1805, perhaps because its passage has been a priority of the NRA for four years. The anti-gunners are seeking to undermine the Second Amendment and the legislative process by seeking to bankrupt firearms and ammunition manufacturers or get gun control restrictions through the courts through dozens of pending municipal lawsuits -- blaming the gun industry for the acts of criminals -- initiated by anti-gun big city mayors and greedy trial lawyers. A single judgment by a rogue judge or jury could wipe out the entire firearms industry making our gun rights worthless. Passage of S. 1805 is critical -- but not worth allowing legislation going to the President including either an extension of the Clinton gun ban or restrictions at gun shows. There will be no compromise. The only choice is a "clean" bill or no bill.

The legislative process in Congress is complex and far from perfect. Fortunately, Congress is a bicameral (two house) legislative body and both the House and Senate must agree on the same bill before enactment. While we are uncertain of the outcome of several pending anti-gun amendments in the Senate, the House is strongly pro-gun and it (or a conference committee) will not accept any anti-gun Senate-passed amendment as part of the final product to be sent to the President.

Pro-gun grassroots activists who want to advance our cause should not be distracted by misinformation and disinformation by our "friends." Instead, gun owners and sportsmen must keep our focus on the real action and contact -- by calls, e-mails, and faxes -- their two U.S. Senators urging them to vote for S. 1805 and against any and all anti-gun "poison pill" killer amendments including, but not limited to, the Clinton gun ban and gun shows. Use the "Write Your Representatives" (www.capwiz.com/nra/home) tool at www.NRAILA.org to contact your Senators and call them at 202-224-3121. We appreciate your active support in our cause to defend the Second Amendment and freedom itself.

National Rifle Association

Posted by Claire @ 08:47 AM CST

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