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Anti-gunners narrow their focus on their witch hunt of assault weapons.

Anti-Gunners Narrow Their Focus On Their Witch Hunt of Assault Weapons

The anti-gunners are narrowing the focus of their witch hunt for "assault weapons." That became apparent on April 19(1989) when the Senate Constitutional Subcommittee voted 5-1 to send two anti-gun bills to the full Judiciary Committee. One is a modified version of Sen. Howard Metzenbaum's (D-OH) S-236, and the other is S-727 by Sen. Dennis DeConcini (D-AZ).

Metzenbaum had hoped to hold a markup earlier. However, his original S-386 was too restrictive for DeConcini, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT). Faced with a 3-3 tie vote, Metzenbaum was forced to delay the markup while he modified his bill. Meanwhile, DeConcini introduced his own proposal.

When the vote came, only Hatch voted against sending the bills to full committee. Voting with Specter, Metzenbaum and DeConcini were -- as expected -- Sens. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and Paul Simon (D-IL).

Yet, there are some hints in the air that the anti-gun fever could be dropping a few tenths of a degree in Washington. "I think it's important to note that the subcommittee sent these two bills to full committee without a recommendation. Usually there's a do-pass recommendation," pointed out John Snyder, a lobbyist and director of publications for the Citizens for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA).

Also, at the markup both Specter and DeConcini seemed to be indicating that perhaps this question needs further study.

However, the danger still is very real; and the modified version of S-386 remains an oppressive piece of legislation.

Those Guns Which S-386

Would Ban

The number of models of firearms whose future sale and import specifically would be prohibited has actually been expanded to 25: - Avtomat Kalashnikov semiautomatic firearms; - Uzi semiautomatic firearms; - M-10 or M-11 semiautomatic firearms; - TEC-9 and TEC-22 semiautomatic firearms; - Ruger Mini-14 semiautomatic firearms; - AR-15 semiautomatic firearms; - Beretta AR 70 semiautomatic firearms; - FN-FAL and FN-FNC semiautomatic firearms; - Steyr AUG semiautomatic firearms; - USAS 12 semiautomatic shotguns; - shotguns with revolving cylinders known as the Street Sweeper and Striker 12; - Heckler and Koch HK 91 A3 (.308 caliber); 93A-2 (.223); 94A-2 (9mm) and 94A-3 (9mm); - Galil 5.56mm and 7.62mm; - Springfield Armory SAR-48 (.308 caliber) and its variations; - SIG 550/551 assault rifle in .223 caliber; - Cobray WD 9mm in any of its variants; - FAMAS in 5.56mm (.223 caliber); - Mossberg Model 500 Bullpup 12 shotgun; - Feather AT-9 centerfire semiautomatic in 9mm; - Valmet M76 and M78 (.308 caliber, .223 caliber, 7.62 x 39mm); - Mark 6 Sterling carbine in 9mm semiautomatic; - Dragunov sniper rifle (7.62 x 39mm); - AP 9, 9mm assault pistol; - Thompson Ordnance M1, semiautomatic in .45 caliber; and the - Franchi SPAS 12 shotgun.

Modifications of these firearms are also covered.

The modified version of the Metzenbaum does not give the Secretary of the Treasury blanket authority to add other firearms to the prohibited list -- as he would have had under the old bill.

However, the Secretary--in consultation with the U.S. Attorney General -- could issue an emergency order barring sale of any firearm introduced into the U.S. market after April 1, 1989, for up to one year. As advisory panel consisting of local law enforcement officials and other experts would be established to advise on the treatment of new firearms.

Individuals who already own guns on this list would not be required to register them, as they would have under the original bill. However, they would have to obtain documentary proof of purchase and retain a record of persons to whom they sell the firearm.

A person owning a gun on the list could not transfer it until the local law enforcement agency of the place where the transferee resides has had 14 days to conduct a background check. The check would be optional, and information furnished for the background check would have to be destroyed within 30 days.

Another provision bars the future sales of detachable magazines in excess of 20 rounds. Large magazines owned before the bill is enacted would not be affected.

The bill provides a mandatory 10 years in prison for the use of an assault weapon during the commission of a crime. The penalty for failure to obtain proof of purchase or for violating the transfer/background check provision is a misdemeanor, punishable by six months in prison and/or a $1,000 fine.

Forfeiture provisions for violations of law, now applicable to machine guns, are applied to these so-called assault weapons; and the penalty for violation of the provision barring the sale of large magazines is two years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.

S-386 also would amend current federal law which bars ownership of firearms by convicted felons to also include persons who have been convicted of a misdemeanor for a crime of violence involving use of a firearm and persons who have been convicted of a misdemeanor involving use or sale of an illegal drug.

S-747 Would Ban The Following Firearms

The DeConcini bill, S-747, is somewhat milder than Metzenbaum's proposal. It would ban the future sale and import of: - Norinco, Mitchell and Poly Technologies Avtomat Kalashnikovs (all models); - Action Arms Israeli Military Industries Uzi and Galil; - Beretta AR-70 (SC-70); - Colt AR-15 and CAR-15; - Fabrique Nationale FN/FAL, FN/LAR and FNC; - MAC 10 and MAC 11; - Steyr AUG; - INTRATEC TEC-9; and the - Street Sweeper and Striker 12.

Under this proposal, the Secretary of the Treasury could recommend to Congress the addition or deletion of firearms to be designated as "assault weapons." However, he would not have the authority to issue any emergency order on his own.

Persons already owning guns on the prohibited list would be allowed to keep them. However, a 4473 would have to be filled out to sell, ship or deliver the gun in the future. Also, the seller and purchaser would have to maintain a record of the sale on the seller's original copy of the 4473 "or equivalent."

Anyone owning a gun on the list would have to obtain a copy of the 4473 from the dealer where he bought it or the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF), if the dealer is no longer in business. This could prove extremely complicated in cases where a firearm has changed hands several times since the original purchase.

The bill does not address the question of large magazines. It does provide various penalties for violation -- including a mandatory five years in prison for the use of an "assault weapon" in the commission of a crime of violence or a drug trafficking crime.

As this issue of SHOOTING INDUSTRY goes to press, everyone in Washington--and around the rest of the nation--still is waiting to see what the Bush Administration will propose. A chill went through pro-gun groups back on April 5 (1989) when 24 more semiautomatics were added to the import suspension order at the request of "Drug Czar" William Bennett.

President Bush has come under increasing pressure from Western and Southern Republicans. The New York Times reported that several GOP senators and representatives met with White House Chief of Staff John Sununu in April to criticize the administration's actions. Rep. Larry Craig (R-ID) was quoted as saying Bush "is on the verge of breaking his campaign commitment to the American people" not to further restrict gun ownership.

The controversy apparently already has cost the Republicans a U.S. House seat in Indiana, where the National Rifle Association canceled a mailing in support of the GOP hopeful. The election was decided by a few hundred votes in a district where the NRA has thousands of members.

Meanwhile, a tremendous grass-roots awakening of alarmed gunowners is evident across the nation. Thousands of people are attending rallies from Massachusetts to Texas, and one powerful state leader told me he is planning to use an upcoming march on his state capitol as a prototype for a march on Washington. More on that in the next issue.

PHOTO : Sen. Dennis DeConcini (D-AZ) has introduced Senate 747, an "assault weapons" bill that is somewhat milder than the one sponsored by Sen. Metzenbaum.

PHOTO : Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) was the lone "no" vote as the Senate Judiciary's Subcommittee on the Constitution voted 5-1 to send two gun bills to the full committee.

PHOTO : Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) appears to be sending out signals that perhaps the "assault weapons" question needs further study.
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Author:Schneider, Jim
Publication:Shooting Industry
Date:Jun 1, 1989
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