By Robert M. Hausman
With all of the attention being focused on gun control during the last several months in the wake of the tragic school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut in mid-December, additional national gun controls seemed all but certain in the first part of the year. The anti’s, led by President Obama, seemed all but certain to achieve all of their goals such as a national ban on so called “assault weapons,” a firearm magazine capacity limit of 10-rounds and a long-sought goal of national firearms registration under the guise of “universal background checks.”
Support for these measures, which initially seemed high in Congress, dwindled as time passed. In mid-April, when it finally came time for the Senate to vote, the anti-gun Obama Administration had by this time realized that the bans on so called “assault weapons” and full-capacity magazines did not have enough support and had sunk its hopes on the background check bill. But like the other two measures, this failed as well.
In light of the defeat of these ill-advised legislative proposals, the National Rifle Association’s Chris Cox, executive director of the Institute for Legislative Action, the NRA’s lobbying arm, issued the following explanation of the recent actions in Senate.
“The Senate rejected a gun control agenda that President Obama has adopted as his own over the last few months, but to which other gun control supporters have bitterly clung for years: banning an ever-lengthening list of semiautomatic firearms, banning magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, and expanding background check requirements to require government permission for many transfers of firearms among private citizens.
“Within minutes of the Senate’s votes, which one political commentator called the “biggest loss” of Obama’s presidency, our Thespian-in-Chief theatrically stood beside a prominent crime victim and several family members of other victims in the Rose Garden, beginning his comments in a somber tone, so that the anger to which he would dramatically build over the next 13 minutes would, in contrast, appear more sincere.
“Obama should not have been surprised by what happened on Capitol Hill, however. A CBS poll in March showed that support for gun control had dropped 10 points since December and a Gallup poll in April showed that only four percent of Americans believed that “guns/gun control” is the biggest problem facing the country.
“However, as Obama’s Rose Garden performance wore on, it became less a monologue delivered for the benefit of the supporters with whom he stood, and became more an ideological soliloquy for his own indulgence.
“Still, Obama is a politician, well-versed in how to mislead through distortion and omission. Thus, early on, he claimed that 90 percent of Americans agree that there should be background checks on firearm transactions and that “most Americans think that’s already the law,” without mentioning that 100 percent of firearm transactions between firearm dealers and non-dealers are subject to background check requirements already, and that only a small percentage of non-dealer transactions are between strangers.
“Obama – whom the Washington Post gave “Three Pinocchios” for lying about the background check issue – also claimed that “the gun lobby and its allies willfully lied about the (background checks) bill” by saying it would implement gun registration. What the NRA had said is that a report from the National Institute of Justice concluded that requiring background checks on otherwise private firearms transfers would be “ineffective” without requiring gun registration. That was not a “lie.” It was, and is, a fact.
“The bill Obama wanted to see pass was S. 649, by Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), the “universal background checks” provisions of which came from Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.). Because Schumer’s legislation was too severe to have any chance of passage, Senators Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), along with Schumer, proposed a compromise amendment in the hope of winning additional votes. However, the amendment was riddled with pitfalls for gun owners, and even some potentially pro-gun provisions added to sweeten the pot were flawed. The amendment fell four votes short of the 60 that were required for passage under a rule the Senate adopted to avoid a filibuster.
“That enraged Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who, when she rose to introduce her amendment to ban “assault weapons” and “large” magazines, accused the Senate of cowardice. Refusing to stop speaking after her allotted two minutes had expired, Feinstein ranted about the Senate’s 60-vote rule, knowing she would not get 60 votes but apparently believing that she would get at least 51, which under other circumstances would have enabled her to claim victory. One can only wonder what she must have thought when her gun and magazine ban was rejected 40 – 60. Perhaps she held hope that Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s amendment to ban only the magazines would fare differently, but it too went down to defeat, 46 – 54.
“An NRA-supported amendment by Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), to reduce law enforcement grant funding to states that publish the names of firearm permit holders, was approved.
“Unfortunately, three NRA-supported amendments fell shy of the 60 votes necessary for passage.
First among those was a comprehensive alternative proposal by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and others, to provide incentives to the states to more fully report criminal and mental health records on persons prohibited from possessing firearms, while ensuring that people with mental health records who do not pose a threat to public safety could petition to have their rights restored. It would also have increased the prosecution of felons who illegally attempt to buy guns, and would have created a clear prohibition against illegal straw purchasing and trafficking of firearms. Finally, it would have provided grants for school security improvements and the creation of school safety guidelines. The vote, was 52 – 48, eight short of what was needed for passage.
“A Right-to-Carry reciprocity amendment by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), which fell three votes short (57 – 43), would have allowed those who can carry concealed firearms in their home states to do so in any other state that issues concealed firearm permits. An amendment by Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), which fell four votes short (56 – 44), would have prevented the government from denying gun possession by veterans based on mental health concerns without a judicial finding of dangerousness.
“Obama, near the conclusion of his remarks in the Rose Garden, said the defeat of gun control in the Senate was only “Round One,” and vowed that, “This effort is not over.”
“Indeed, it’s not over. We can promise the president that our effort to protect and fully vindicate the rights of good Americans to keep and bear arms for self-defense and other legitimate purposes will continue as long as those rights are attacked. Gun owners and other Americans who support their rights have come together like never before, letting their elected representatives know that they stand in support of the Second Amendment, and against taking away people’s rights under the false rationale that all Americans should lose some rights because of the misdeeds of madmen and criminals. We will not abandon that noble cause.
“Senate Majority Leader Reid has pulled S. 649 from the floor for the time being, but will almost assuredly bring it back in the future. And today, there are reports that Obama will soon announce further unilateral gun control actions by the executive branch. For now, please contact your senators, confidently expressing your support for their pro-Second Amendment votes, and respectfully expressing your dissatisfaction with their anti-gun votes. In other words, prepare for round two.”
Bloomberg, Brady Crafted NY “SAFE” Act
A New York Governor Cuomo administration source is flatly denying the governor’s claim that his new anti-gun SAFE Act was carefully drafted, saying the governor himself wasn’t even aware of some provisions when it was hastily enacted into law, The New York Post reports.
“The governor thought the limit on the size of (gun) magazines would only apply to assault-style rifles, not to handguns,” said the source. “That’s why there’s the big problem now with handguns, among other things in the statute.”
The legal sale of virtually all semiautomatic handguns will soon be impossible because Cuomo’s law limits the size of magazines to seven shots, virtually none of which are manufactured for sale.
“Much of what’s in the law was drafted by people connected to Mayor Bloomberg and the Brady Center, not by the governor’s staff,” the source said. “That’s why there are so many problems with it.”
Turn in Your Neighbor, Get $
Meanwhile, opponents of Cuomo’s SAFE Act were outraged last week with the disclosure that the state would pay $500 bounties to persons reporting the illegal ownership of weapons.
“This is turning neighbor against neighbor, and it is rubbing peoples’ noses in it,’’ said New York Rifle and Pistol Association President Tom King, who has predicted that hundreds of thousands of owners of assault-style rifles that must be registered under the new law would refuse to obey it.
“If you thought people were disturbed and upset about the new law, they are just totally outraged over this bounty,” King added.
Meanwhile, Cuomo has turned a deaf ear to the thousands of New Yorkers who have protested the SAFE Act. Dozens of county legislatures have now passed resolutions condemning the Draconian gun law. In fact, 52 counties (of New York’s 62 counties) have either passed or have pending, a resolution opposing the SAFE Act.
The NRA and its state association, The New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, have filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the Western District of New York challenging the SAFE Act. The NRA pledges it will continue to stand by its members in New York and push for repeal of this unconstitutional law, and will continue to actively support litigation that challenges the SAFE Act.
Said Chris W. Cox, executive director of NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, “Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature usurped the legislative and democratic process in passing these extreme anti-gun measures with no committee hearings and no public input. This obvious disrespect for New Yorkers and their Second Amendment rights will not be tolerated.”
The New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Act threaten severe penalties for previously lawful activities, including acquiring certain commonly owned firearms, ammunition magazines and ammunition. It lowers New York’s arbitrary magazine capacity limit from ten rounds to seven. It also greatly expands the state’s existing ban on commonly owned semiautomatic firearms, and will require New York gun owners to undergo background checks on ammunition purchases.
“The NRA will defend the right of law-abiding New Yorkers to Keep and Bear Arms under the Second Amendment,” added Cox, “Despite the wishes of Governor Cuomo, law-abiding citizens have a fundamental right to keep commonly possessed firearms for defense of themselves and their families and for other lawful purposes including the enjoyment of New York’s rich hunting and sporting heritage.”
Rock River Arms’ Co-Founder Larson Dies
Mark Lawson, 50, President of Rock River Arms of Colona, Ill. died April 5. Larson, along with his brother Chuck, co-founded the company in 1996, which produces 1911-type pistols and AR–style rifles.
No Need to Understand Them – Just Ban Them
Rep. Diana DeGette, Colorado Democrat and a co-sponsor of a bill to ban high-capacity magazines, appears not to understand how they work or even what they are, but she is not letting that get in her way.
Asked at a Denver Post forum how banning large-capacity magazines would help reduce gun violence, DeGette replied: “I will tell you these are ammunition, they’re bullets, so the people who have those now they’re going to shoot them, and so if you ban them in the future, the number of these high capacity magazines is going to decrease dramatically over time because the bullets will have been shot and there won’t be any more available,” she said.
The Colorado Republican Party and National Rifle Association both took shots at the congresswoman’s remarks according to the Post, which also provided a statement from DeGette spokeswoman Juliet Johnson, who said she simply misspoke.
The congresswoman has been working on a high-capacity assault magazine ban for years, and has been deeply involved in the issue; she simply misspoke in referring to ‘magazines’ when she should have referred to ‘clips,’ which cannot be reused because they don’t have a feeding mechanism.
“Quite frankly, this is just another example of opponents of common-sense gun violence prevention trying to manipulate the facts to distract from the critical issue of keeping our children safe and keeping killing machines out of the hands of disturbed individuals. It’s more political gamesmanship that stands in the way of responsible solutions.”
According to a pool report, DeGette was one of the participants in a roundtable on gun violence in Colorado recently with President Obama, Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr., other elected officials, law enforcement representatives, and parents of gun violence victims.
NSSF on Passage of CT Legislation
The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has issued the following statement in relation to the new Connecticut gun laws:
Gov. Daniel Malloy has signed into law a package of gun-control legislation that was assembled in secret by a small group of state legislators and that never received a public hearing. Most legislators had little time to even read the actual bill language.
The unfortunate results of this process, which made it appear that all points of view were being heard when in fact true expertise was shut out when it was most needed, means that mistakes in what is now enacted law will have to be corrected.
For example, language in the new law specifies a procedure for licensed firearms retailers to perform mandatory “universal” background checks on private party transactions that is not permissible based on federal law and regulations governing the National Instant Criminal Background Checks (NICS) system. As we read it, this mistake in lawmaking means that all private party transactions in the state now cannot be accomplished legally.
We share the goal of wanting to make Connecticut safer for our citizens following the unspeakable tragedy at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. In the end, however, public safety has not been enhanced and the unintended consequences of behind-closed-doors lawmaking will cause considerable confusion until the General Assembly corrects its mistakes.
Here is where we stand today. Law-abiding citizens of this state now have greater restrictions on the Second Amendment and state constitutional rights while Connecticut’s firearms manufacturers will be forced to seriously weigh the impact on their businesses and their employees of the state’s double-standard of you can build it here, but not sell it here, public policy formulation. We will be carefully studying all provisions of the law for possible challenge in the courts.
Colt’s Names Veilleux President/CEO
The Governing Board of Colt’s Manufacturing Company, LLC has announced the appointment of Dennis Veilleux as president and chief executive officer. Veilleux succeeds retired Lt. Gen. William M. Keys, USMC, who will continue to serve in his emeritus position and as a member of the board. Veilleux joined Colt in 2006 as the executive director of engineering and eventually rose to chief operating officer.
Democrats Push Fines for Gun Owners
A group of congressional Democrats has signed on to new legislation that would mandate liability insurance for all gun owners in the United States — and fine those who refuse to purchase it as much as $10,000.
The Daily Caller reports that New York Rep. Carolyn Maloney’s Firearm Risk Protection Act says that all gun buyers — before they buy — purchase and show proof of “a qualified liability insurance policy,” and that those caught owning a weapon without the insurance are subject to harsh fines.
“It shall be unlawful for a person who owns a firearm purchased on or after the effective date of this subsection not to be covered by a qualified liability insurance policy,” the text of the bill states.
Maloney says her bill would shift the cost of gun violence back onto those who own the weapon. Gun rights groups call that logic ridiculous, however.
“(The bill) is ridiculous on its face, as it presumes law-abiding gun owners are guilty for merely exercising a fundamental, constitutional right,” said Chris Cox, the executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action.
The author publishes two of the small arms industry’s most widely read trade newsletters. The International Firearms Trade covers the world firearms scene, and The New Firearms Business covers the domestic market. He may be reached at: FirearmsB@aol.com.
|This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V17N3 (September 2013)|