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First attempt at federal level to confiscate rifles-shotguns-handguns.

First Attempt At Federal Level To Confiscate Rifles/Shotguns/Handguns

In the middle of the battle -- or sometimes right after the battle -- it is often hard to tell whether you are winning or losing.

Take the case of the recent battle in Maryland over the matter of having a 9-member board -- appointed by the governor -- determine which handguns, if any, could be sold and/or made in Maryland. Starting with a foregone conclusion that the bill would pass with no trouble, the Maryland Committee Against the Gun Ban fought a great struggle against the entrenched political power, with some help from the National Rifle Association. The Washington Post made a big deal of this help, pointing out in headlines, frequently, that the NRA was pouring millions into this campaign, while the poor Marylands who were doing the bidding of the anti-gun people were badly handicapped by having no money to spend to defeat that big, bad NRA. But they did not mention the fact that while all this was going on, some of the anti-gun organizations were raising millions of dollars. I can't believe that some part of all that was not spent on this anti-gun campaign.

And besides which, the governor and his henchmen devoted a considerable amount of their extensive resources to pass the bill. The governor himself spoke out in favor of the bill in person and on TV. And his superintendent of the Maryland State Police, frequently spoke out in favor of the bill, often in uniform. And he decreed that no Maryland state trooper would appear at any NRA function on duty status. However, he could participate while off-duty, provided that he does not represent himself as a member of the agency. He will not use agency vehicles or any other agency-issued equipment in conjunction with or for transportation to or from the event.

Advertising in vehicles of the public transportation system was provided free for those wanting to pass the bill, while the people fighting the bill were charged full price. The night before the voting, the headquarters of the Maryland Citizens Against the Gun Ban was raided by the Baltimore police, who created a considerable amount of confusion and gave the media a chance for some more anti-gun headlines. There is a considerable question as to the legality of this raid.

At the end, the voting showed that all counties voted against the bill, but the overall popular vote overwhelmed the counties and the bill passed. It was widely advertised as an anti-Saturday-Night-Special bill, but the bill does not even mention that name. But since the governor and the police control the membership of the group authorized by the bill, it definitely is going to be an anti-gun commission. I just hope that they look at the crime rate in neighboring District of Columbia to see the result in one city following on the passage of the District's extremely strict gun laws.

Needless to say, the anti-gunners, The Washington Post and one of the Baltimore papers were simply delighted. And they did not hesitate to celebrate the defeat of the once mighty NRA. But after a few weeks of this, as we were all waiting for the other shoe to drop, it became noticeable that there was a distinct lack of enthusiasm on the part of the legislators to get involved in any more battles with the NRA on the gun issue. Although we may have lost that particular battle, the longer-term effects were turning out good. There were a few anti-gun bills introduced but they were all dumped in committee and none came up for a formal vote. Even the Post took official notice of this in reporting on the anti-gun movement with headlines on the front page.

And now the struggle has moved to the United States Congress, where Metzenbaum has once again jumped into the front of the anti-gun activity with his ridiculous Senate bill S.386, leaping on the "assault rifle" bandwagon. His bill does not provide any useful definition of "assault weapons", except by designating nine guns by name, two of which are foreign semiauto rifles already approved by BATF for import and two of which are U.S. made (the Ruger Mini-14 and the Colt AR-15 Sporter), widely used for hunting and competitive matches. It also includes any semiautomatic firearm with a fixed magazine capacity or more than ten rounds and "any other shotgun with a fixed magazine, cylinder or drum capacity exceeding six rounds."

And all along here we have been repeatedly told that the antis were only after our Saturday Night Specials. I hope you didn't believe it!

Just to make the point, the term "assault weapons" includes "all other semiautomatic firearms which are determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Attorney General, to be assault weapons."

To further make the point that SNS's are no longer the goal of the antis, S.386 makes it unlawful for "any person to transfer, import, ship, receive or possess a large capacity magazine...which can be used by semiautomatic firearms. Within 60 days of the passage of this bill, owners of large capacity magazines are permitted to donate or sell them to federal, state or local governments. After 60 days, mere possession is unlawful. Many of the modern 9mm autoloading pistols have magazine capacities over 10 cartridges, which is the bill's proposed definition of a "large capacity" magazine.

So what if you have a gun such as described above? This bill would make it a felony if a currently owned firearm is not registered as a "machine gun". Failure to register one makes you subject to federal felony charges, punishable by a ten-year prison sentence and a $10,000 fine.

The matching bill in the House, H.R. 1190, is similar to the Senate bill, but not identical. In some ways it is even worse. For example, within 30 days of passage of the bill it would be unlawful to possess or transfer any "assault weapon", as determined by the government, based on some extremely vague suggestions in the bill. The only exception is if you turn the gun over to a federal, state or local law enforcement officer. Pay? Who is going to pay you for this fine gun you turn in? Neither the House or the Senate proposals suggest any payment.

This is the first attempt to confiscate rifles, shotguns and handguns ever introduced at the federal level.

These bills in the Congress are bad. Unfortunately, many state, county and city governments are considering similar or worse bills. Get hold of your legislators and steer them away from this nonsense or your may find yourself a felon, facing 10 years and $10,000 because you didn't realize that the old gun your grandfather gave you was illegal, or perhaps you forgot about that big magazine stuck away amongst your other junk.

But, as I started to say, even if we lost the big battle in Maryland, some good did come out of it. Let's hope that the Maryland legislators remain mindful of the struggle the Maryland NRA members put up in opposition to that bill that the politicians wanted.

Omark-CCI Busy In '89

Trying to keep up with what is going on is a difficult task at the SHOT SHOW. So I was happy to receive a batch of literature from Al Jones, Technical Service Manager for the -- I almost said Lewiston-based Omark outfit, but then I remembered that the handloading gear comes from the gold country of Oroville, California and the Weaver scopes and mounts, targets, rests and gun cleaning gear from the cold country of Onalaska, Wisconsin while Lewiston, Idaho is only the home of the CCI and Speer ammunition lines.

Among the new items for this year are four new Blazer cartridges, featuring the throw-away aluminum cartridge case and resulting low price. The new members of the family join a bunch of old-timers, some going back to 1981 when the Blazer line was first introduced, with a certain amount of fear and trembling on the part of Omark. But the gamble has been very successful and the family now consists of 28 different loadings in ten calibers.

And the Blazer is no weakling. For example, the .41 Magnum Blazer gives its 200-grain JHP bullet enough push so that it is still doing over 1,000 feet per second at 100 yards. And I would suspect that the low price of Blazer stuff has induced many folks with the less popular .25 and .380 Auto pistols, to take them out and actually shoot them.

But while the Blazer people are discouraging reloading, the RCBS folks are doing their best to encourage it. In addition to the usual line of RCBS dies, case cleaners and single stage rifle/pistol reloading tools, they now have come up with the "Piggyback" -- a conversion unit for changing the simple single-stage reloading tool to a five station progressive press, mainly for pistol cartridges and up to .223 rifle cartridges.

Two new 10mm molds join the family of cast-bullet molds from RCBS, now totalling 25.

Out in Onalaska, the Outers/Weaver people have come up with some interesting new items. One is the Varminter rifle rest, which helps take the errors out of sighting in or shooting groups -- or for that matter, shooting varmints, where the name originated. And with the vise accessory, it gives you a solid and stable base for working on the gun. The Pistol Perch gives you a solid support for shooting the pistol, but it does not hold the gun. The Perch can be adapted to the Varminter, greatly enlarging its usefulness.

With increased accuracy or shotgun slugs and the rifled choke tube, there is much more interest in scopes on shotguns. The Weaver "Convert-A-Mount" is an easy answer for anyone who has a Mossberg 500 or a Remington 1100, 870, or 1187 shotgun. The sturdy steel plate fastens to the left side of the receiver with two bolts which go through the trigger plate holes. It becomes a semi-permanent fixture on the gun. The actual scope mount fastens to this plate with two coin-slotted screws.

With all these various product lines, you can be sure that the catalog from Omark Industries offers you a variety of other items you will find hard to resist.
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Author:Crossman, Jim
Publication:Shooting Industry
Date:May 1, 1989
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