By The Small Arms Review Editorial Staff
The following are excerpts from the March, 1998 NRA GRASSFIRE!, The Official Newsletter of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action. For more information call 1-800-392-8683.
The Next Link in the Chain
Late last year, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Director John Magaw sent a letter and survey to select groups and individuals seeking their input on whether certain modified semi-automatic rifles are “properly importable” based upon whether they “are particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to hunting or organized competitive target shooting.” This language is another link in the “sporting purpose” chain that was established by the Gun Control Act of 1968 — criteria which NRA has long rejected as arbitrary and unacceptable. For starters, the Second Amendment makes no mention of “sporting purpose” in its guarantee of our right to keep and bear arms, and this test totally ignores other important, legitimate reasons for owning firearms, e.g., self-defense and collecting. Moreover, under this description, BATF is narrowing the law’s “sporting purposes” test. Translation: the BATF considers practicing for a shooting event or “plinking” — two activities which dominate in the shooting community — as illegitimate for the purposes of whether a firearm should be legal for importation.
While the original BATF survey was mailed to only three pro- and three anti-gun groups, NRA-ILA learned that in an apparent effort to influence the outcome of this supposedly impartial study, the Clinton Administration had ordered BATF to send surveys to an additional 30 anti-gun organizations. That action made it that much more important for BATF to receive responses from a variety of pro-gun individuals and organizations, and prompted NRA to convene a working group of firearms experts that prepared our reply to the BATF survey and helped individuals and groups respond as well.
Anti-Gunners Talk; NRA Acts
Sarah Brady and the myriad anti-gun organizations she leads like to claim they’re “doing something” about firearms accidents. How else to explain Brady recently taking to a podium at a recent Washington Press conference to announce the release of yet another “study” on this subject. But while press conferences like these will almost always garner lavish attention from the ever-accommodating media, they do nothing to prevent gun accidents. And when the television cameras and bright lights disappear, so do the so-called gun safety efforts of these anti-gunners. Ironically, the organization that spends the most money promoting firearms safety and has worked to bring the number of fatal firearms accidents to an all-time low is NRA — the favorite target of Brady and her allies. NRA has trained and certified 50,000 instructors nationwide, developed the award-winning Eddie Eagle(r) Gun Safety Program, and spent some $100 million in the last eight years alone on gun safety. As NRA-ILA Executive Director Tanya Metasksa aptly noted, “While gun ban advocates conduct press conferences, NRA conducts tens of thousands of gun safety courses each year. Our members constitute a nation of volunteer educators who are saving lives daily.”
|This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V1N7 (April 1998)