By Dan Shea
The battle is heating up. Many firearms owners in the United States are being lulled into complacency by the election of George W. Bush as President, and the Republican control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate. A Republican sweep means “No problemo”, right?
Wrong. There are still many cases in the courts working their way through from the Clinton legacy. Clinton’s “Legacy” is about corruption and cronyism, it is about the sale and the general erosion of our freedoms. This is becoming more evident every day. The Clintonista’s previous supporters are abandoning ship as fast as they figure out what these people are really like. It is hard to think of a part of our freedom that was not compromised in those eight hellish years. From Waco to Elian Gonzalez, America just endured eight years of fear. The economy may have been good, but the house of cards hasn’t finished collapsing on that one yet, either. America is strong, but we need strong medicine to keep her that way.
One of the catch phrases that I have been hearing is to “Enforce the existing gun laws”. Sounds good, right? Remember that in the past this has meant a major wave of hassling gun dealers over paperwork, hassling legitimate firearms owners over their collections and purchases, and it has NEVER meant that the Federal Government is about to get tough on the real criminals. Be careful what you ask for- “Enforce the existing gun laws” could mean a tyrannical assault on dealers, with newspaper headlines about “Gun Merchant Has 178 Felonies”, when, in fact, his 4473s don’t have the zip codes on them right.
My preference would be to see the ATF concentrating on the people who use guns in violent crimes. We have to be careful about saying “Crime”. We need to say “Violent Crime”. Why? See the above paragraph. While your wife and children may not be safe on the streets, with violent criminals rampaging around, “Enforce existing gun laws” could be complied with by harassing dealers and manufacturers instead of getting tough on the criminal element. SAR salutes those brave law enforcement personnel who are out there doing it every day- putting it on the line. We will never have disrespect for the Thin Blue Line. We will, however, caution our readers to reserve enthusiasm for the catchphrase “Enforce existing gun laws”, because there are people in authority who will use this to hassle the American firearms owners and dealers, instead of making America safer by going after the predatory criminals.
I would like to bring up one current case in court right now- that of the fabled Great Western Show that used to be in Pomona California. The biggest show of them all was slammed down by several LA County Commissioners who decided to ban the sales of firearms and ammunition on County property. This was clearly done to destroy the 32-year-old Great Western gun show.
Well, the courts are starting to speak, and it doesn’t look good for LA County. The general case about the banning of gun sales is now at the California Supreme Court, and there is hope that adult supervision has just set in here- and LA will lose- of course these things can go in any direction, but we have hope. There is a parallel case going through the courts on First Amendment issues, and the three LA county commissioners who did the deed here have just been notified that their bid to halt the lawsuit and to hide behind their authority personally has been overturned. That case is going to court, and all three could be personally liable for their actions. Huzzah! The courts are where this will all be played out eventually, so let’s get this going wherever public servants overstep their bounds with personal agendas. It needs to be well coordinated, however, so as not to establish negative precedents.
SAR sincerely hopes the Great Western will be on again, and that the owners can recoup the losses incurred due to the actions of the LA County Commissioners. Unfortunately, every day that goes by without having a show hurts possible future attendance. We wish them the best in this, and hope this uniquely American institution comes back again.
For more info on this contact: Great Western Shows, Inc., PO Box 1870, Chino Hills, CA 91709 call 909-597-3100, or check the website at: www.greatwesternshows.com
|This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V4N8 (May 2001)|