Senate Considers Rules Changes That Would Expedite Semiauto Ban Renewal, 50 Caliber Ban
March 15, 2005
|Last year, the renewal of the semi-auto ban had 52 votes in the
United States Senate -- a clear majority. President George Bush had
agreed to sign it into law. And sponsors had the ability to tack it onto
a huge must-pass money bill in the House.
True, anti-gun zealots were a little skittish about proposing gun control on the eve of a presidential election.
It also helped that GOA's grassroots were incredibly vocal during last year's fight over the semi-auto ban. Several times, GOA activists helped "educate" their Senators -- and most especially, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist.
But while grassroots gun owners fought and won several legislative battles, GOA also resorted to "inside baseball" tactics to help kill the gun ban. On one occasion, GOA encouraged a friendly Senator to threaten a filibuster -- a threat which ultimately kept the semi-auto ban out of the DoD authorization bill.
In similar fashion, a filibuster by former New Hampshire Senator Bob Smith (R-NH) slowed down post-Columbine legislation and gave GOA time to kill it.
Had it not been for that filibuster, we would have been saddled with legislation which would:
* Effectively eliminate gun shows;
* Impose a semi-automatic import ban;
* Require that you keep trigger locks on your guns at all times; and,
* Implement a lifetime gun ban for playground fights and other juvenile indiscretions.
The bottom line? It is fair to say that time and again, a generation of senators has filibustered gun control legislation -- or, more importantly, prevented gun control from being considered by threatening to filibuster it. Without the threat of a filibuster, we would almost certainly have national gun registration... at the very least.
Now, in order to force confirmation of seven judges, the Senate is considering abolishing the filibuster outright.
No one is underestimating the importance of the federal courts and of pro-gun federal judges. And GOA has provided the Senate Leadership with procedural tools that would force the confirmation of Bush-nominated judges.
But the abolition of the right to filibuster, and the comprehensive gun registration and control which is sure to follow, is not a fair price for achieving the goal of a pro-gun Supreme Court -- a goal which might not happen anyway, considering how awful many past Republican picks have been (e.g., Sandra Day O'Connor, David Souter, etc.). Yet Senate Republicans seem prepared to throw out the baby with the bath water.
It is imperative that gun owners tell their Senators that they do NOT support the abolishment of the filibuster... for any reason!
One more thing: Don't let your senator try to tell you that it is possible to eliminate the filibuster of nominations, but not the filibuster of gun control. It can't be done. The two filibusters are inseparable.
To see GOA's in depth analysis of the filibuster -- and current legislative efforts to kill it -- go to http://www.gunowners.org/a031505a.htm on the GOA website.
ACTION: Please use the pre-written message below to contact your two senators. Tell them to preserve the right to filibuster gun control and gun registration. Tell them to oppose the so-called procedural "nuclear option," which would abolish the right to filibuster gun control.
You can visit the Gun Owners Legislative Action Center at http://www.gunowners.org/activism.htm to send your Senators a pre-written e-mail message.
----- Pre-written message -----
The semi-automatic ban was killed by the threat of a Senate filibuster.
Legislation to effectively ban gun shows was killed, in part, because it was stalled by a Senate filibuster.
The same is true for an anti-gun "lock-up-your-safety" proposal, a semiautomatic import ban and a bill to allow racketeering suits against gun dealers and manufacturers.
Now, some senators are proposing to do away with the filibuster through the so-called "nuclear option."
Make no mistake about it: It is IMPOSSIBLE to eliminate the filibuster of nominations, without effectively killing the filibuster of gun control legislation as well.
Gun Owners of America has provided an in-depth Fact Sheet -- at http://www.gunowners.org/a031505a.htm -- which examines the benefits of the filibuster and shows the pitfalls endemic to following the so-called "nuclear option."
Please vote to preserve the filibuster of gun control and registration. And please oppose the "nuclear option."
Note: Attempts to do future damage to your rights in exchange for short-term advances are also prevalent in the states. In particular, a genuine movement seems to be underway whereby pro-gun bills are being saddled with state-level Lautenberg misdemeanor gun bans. Some ask, why is this a problem? Such a provision simply mirrors current federal law, right? Well, GOA would point out that two years ago, a state-level semi-auto ban would also have simply mirrored federal law.
Thanks to your activism and the power of the filibuster, the federal semi-auto ban no longer exists. And GOA has NEVER conceded that the federal Lautenberg ban is here to stay, either. So to those grassroots leaders who are working bills at the state level, we urge you to insist that your bills stay "clean" and tell your friends in the legislature that a state-level Lautenberg misdemeanor gun ban is not acceptable under any circumstances.