Washington D.C. is full of rumours: so what's new?
Well, the third time wasn't a charm. On June 28th, the U.S. Senate voted 50-48 in favor of keeping the DeConcini Gun Control provision in the Omnibus Crime Bill, S-1970. That was the third time the Senate voted on the DeConcini measure, and the third time the gun lobby lost -- all by close votes.
As noted in the last issue the DeConcini provision bans the import and sale of nine types of so-called "assault weapons."
"I'm disappointed but not surprised. After the first two votes, you could read the handwriting on the wall," said John Snyder, Washington lobbyist and director of public affairs for the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA).
As this issue of Shooting Industry goes to press, the Senate appears likely to pass the Omnibus Crime Bill. It must still get through the House and be signed by the President before it becomes law.
After the Senate voted 52-48 not to remove the DeConcini gun provision from the bill, pro-gun senators vowed to vote against closing off debate on that bill. Continued debate on the more than 300 amendments that had been proposed to the Omnibus Crime Bill would have killed the measure.
Joined by liberal senators opposed to death penalty provisions in the bill, the pro-gun senators made good on their promise to continue the debate.
Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell (D-ME) tried for a cloture motion to end debate on June 5 when the lawmakers returned from their Memorial Day recess, but he fell short of the 60 votes needed to impose cloture by a 54-37 margin. Two days later another cloture try failed on a 57-37 vote.
However, a unanimous consent agreement was reached shortly before the July 4th recess to limit the number of amendments to be considered and allow a vote on the bill.
The only good news is that rumors that there would also be a vote to add the Brady Bill to S-1970 (mandating a nationwide seven day waiting period on handgun purchases) proved to be untrue.
Nor is there much comfort in the news coming from the House of Representatives. The House Judiciary has passed HR-4225 by a 21-15 vote.
This is the measure which would give far-reaching powers to the Secretary of the Treasury. Although supposedly intended to ban the sale of domestically-manufactured firearms that already have been banned for import, the bill has the potential to go far beyond that.
Within 60 days of passage of the bill, the Secretary would issue a list of "restricted weapons" that could not be sold in this country.
No date has been set for this bill to go to the House floor. But while you are writing your U.S. Senators, you may want to drop a line to your congressmen also.
If Congress isn't causing us enough headaches, we can turn to Secretary of Health and Human Services Louis W. Sullivan. In a recent interview, Sullivan made it clear that he considers handguns to be a health hazard and went so far as to suggest that he could see himself taking a stand on gun control "that would be opposed by the president."
According to The Los Angeles Times, Sullivan -- the lone black on the Bush cabinet -- declared gun-related violence to be "a public health problem in addition to being a criminal justice problem."
"I am very concerned about the high number of deaths from handguns in our society in general and certainly in the black community, and would want to do everything that I could as secretary to discourage the use and availability of handguns because of that," Sullivan said.
Sullivan made it clear that he would not hesitate to take on the president directly if he determined that the nation's public health would be best served by curbing handguns.
Of course, there is some good news -- this time from Europe, where no one likes guns, shooting or hunting, according to what the anti-gunners tell us.
Two anti-hunting proposals and a pesticide ban which were submitted to the voters in an Italian referendum were killed by low voter turnout after a successful boycott by hunter and farmer organizations. The two days of balloting in early June produced only a 43% voter turnout, less than the legally required majority for a referendum to be valid in Italy. No referendum can be considered binding there unless more than 50% of all registered voters participate in the balloting.
The first would have repealed nearly all of a 1977 law that regulates hunting and gives each of Italy's 20 regions autonomy in setting seasons and bag limits. The second would have repealed a law that allows hunters to pursue game onto private property. The third would have repealed a 1962 law on the use of agricultural pesticides and directed the Italian Parliament to enact a much more restrictive law.
Also in Europe, Associated Press reports French police unions are aghast at a statement by the interior minister that most of the nation's police officers do not need to carry firearms.
Interior Minister Pierre Joxe ignited the controversy at a news conference with a comment about proposed legislation affecting France's 10,000 municipal police.
Joxe said he not only agreed with a proposal to disarm these officers, but also thought a vast majority of the 120,000 members of the national police force had no need to carry firearms.
To support his argument, Joxe cited the example of London, where only 2,552 of the 26,800 police officers are authorized to carry guns.
Not everyone agreed. The next day, Bernard Deleplace, leader of France's largest police union, declared, "Why not demand the disarmament of the whole planet? In our Latin countries, the criminals are better armed than the police."
But how can that be? Haven't American anti-gunners told us over and over how effective European gun laws are at disarming criminals?
In closing, let me suggest that those of you who live in the Phoenix area may want to attend the 1990 Gun Rights Policy Conference to be held at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Phoenix on Oct. 20-21.
The annual get-together is sponsored by the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA) and the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) in conjunction with the publication Gun Week.
Pro-gun speakers from around the country will be there, including: Wayne LaPierre, director of the National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA); Neal Knox, head of the Firearms Coalition; Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America (GOA); and Deputy Dennis Ray Martin, national president of the American Federation of Police.
There is no charge for attending the conference, or for the luncheon that Saturday. Other meals and lodging expenses are, of course, up to you.
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|Title Annotation:||DeConcini Gun control provision of the Omnibus Crime Bill|
|Date:||Aug 1, 1990|
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