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Discussion Starter #1
If you've been following the current major threat to the 2nd Amendment, then you know that the NRA has compromised with the "gun-grabbers" in Congress. They formed HR2640 which was rammed through the House with an unrecorded voice vote, and is now in the Senate. GOA is working hard to defeat this bill and has teamed up with the American Legion & the Military Order of the Purple Heart. This is a copy of GOA's letter to the pro-gun community urging everyone (including the NRA) to help defeat HR2640.

An Open Letter To The Pro-gun Community
Gun Owners of America
8001 Forbes Place, Suite 102
Springfield, VA 22151
(703)321-8585
www.gunowners.org

Thursday, October 4, 2007

It may be a cliche, but it is true: This letter is written not in anger, but in sorrow and concern. It is written to our friends about NRA staff who, tragically, have taken a course which, we believe, would be disastrous for the Second Amendment and the pro-gun movement.

Two of us are Life Members of the NRA -- one of whom was an NRA board member for over ten years. And our legislative counsel was a paid consultant for the NRA.

So we certainly have no animus against the NRA staff, much less our wonderful friends who are NRA members.

In fact, over the last thirty years, GOA and its staff have worked with NRA to facilitate most of our pro-gun victories -- from McClure-Volkmer to the death of post-Columbine gun control to a gun liability bill free of anti-gun "killer amendments."

But those who staff the NRA, without consulting the membership, have now made a series of strange and dangerous alliances with the likes of Chuck Schumer, Carolyn McCarthy, and Pat Leahy. And we believe that, if allowed to continue, this will produce anti-gun policies which the NRA staff will bitterly regret.

Christ said, in the Sermon on the Mount, that "by their fruits, ye shall know them." And, frankly, these fruits are not likely to produce much pro-gun legislation.

Substantively, the Leahy/McCarthy/Schumer bill, which NRA's staff has vigorously supported without consulting with its membership, would rubber-stamp the illegal and non-statutory BATFE regulations which have already been used to strip gun rights from 110,000 veterans. It would also allow an anti-gun administration to turn over Americans' most private medical records to the federal instant check system without a court order.

But perhaps even worse, the bill was hatched in secret, without hearings or testimony, and passed out of the House without even a roll call. And now, the sponsors are trying to do the same thing in the Senate -- in an effort to ram the bill through without votes or floor debate, led by anti-gun Senator Chuck Schumer. If it is good legislation, as its proponents claim, why such fears of a roll call vote or debate in committee?

Indeed, in the face of horrific dissent from the NRA's own membership, its staff has tragically ignored arguments and dug in its heels -- in an almost "because-we-say-so" attitude.

Understand this:

* Passage of McCarthy/Leahy/Schumer will not quell the calls for gun control. To the contrary, it will embolden our enemies to push for the abolition of even more of our Second Amendment rights. Already, the Brady Campaign has indicated its intent to follow up this "victory" with a push for an effective ban on gun shows.

* Passage of McCarthy/Leahy/Schumer will not be viewed as an "NRA victory." To the contrary, once the liberal media has used the NRA staff for its purposes, it will throw them away like a used Kleenex. Already, an over-confident press is crowing that this is the "first major gun control measure in over a decade."

* Taking the BATFE's horrifically expansive unlawful regulations dealing with veterans' loss of gun rights and making them unchangeable congressionally-endorsed statutory law is NOT "maintaining the status quo."

* We are told that the McCarthy/Leahy/Schumer bill should be passed because it contains special provisions to allow persons prohibited from owning guns to get their rights restored. But there is already such a provision in the law; it is 18 U.S.C. 925(c). And the reason why no one has been able to get their rights restored under CURRENT LAW is that funds for the system have been blocked by Chuck Schumer. It is no favor to gun owners for Chuck Schumer -- the man who has blocked funding for McClure-Volkmer's "relief from disability" provisions for 15 years -- to now offer to give us back a tepid version of the provisions of current law which he has tried so hard to destroy.

Finally, there is the cost, which ranges from $1 billion in the cheapest draft to $5 billion -- to one bill which places no limits whatsoever on spending. Thus, we would be drastically increasing funding for gun control -- at a time when BATFE, which has done so much damage to the Second Amendment, should be punished, rather than rewarded.

We would now respectfully ask the NRA staff to step back from a battle with its membership -- and to join with us in opposing McCarthy/Leahy/Schumer gun control, rather than supporting it.

And, to our friends and NRA members, we would ask that you take this letter and pass it onto your friends and colleagues.

Sincerely,


Senator H.L. "Bill" Richardson (ret.)
Founder and Chairman

Larry Pratt
Executive Director

Michael E. Hammond
Legislative Counsel
 

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GOA is a phony front organization for Larry Pratt's direct mail company. It does nothing but preach to the choir - actually lie to the gun community.
How do I know this? I lived near its "HQ" - an office in an industrial park - for 20 years. In that time Pratt did nothing except become Pat Buchanans presidential campaign director, then derail that campaign by speaking to a Nazi group.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
In response to the above comment:

Although entitled to your opinion, you've just made a few accusations against GOA with no backing to the argument. Yet it is a known Fact that the NRA has compromised with Senators Carolyn McCarthy & Chuck Schumer, two known gun haters. And it is a known Fact that HR2640 is Anti-Gun legislation that will erode further the 2nd Amendment. Yet, GOA is working to defeat HR2640 and has convinced Senator Coburn to stand with them. It's also a Fact that GOA has a proven track record of successfully defeating dangerous legislation against the 2nd Amendment. Take Congressman Ron Paul for instance, a Constitutionalist who has proven himself with an almost 20 year voting record in favor of the 2nd Amendment, and he's quoted as saying GOA is "The only no-compromise gun lobby in Washington." How about Senator Boxer's remarks back in 2000. Here's an excerpt from GOA's website:

Friday, March 3, 2000 -- Sparks flew on the Senate floor yesterday as Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) attacked Gun Owners of America for refusing to compromise on firearms restrictions. Boxer, trying to squeeze political advantage out of the horrible shootings that occurred this week, was offering a gun control amendment to an education bill yesterday.

To her chagrin, GOA refused to go along. Boxer complained:

"I could not understand why we could not walk, hand in hand, down the Senate aisle and vote for the Boxer amendment. But when I got back to my office, I found out why because there waiting for me was a letter from the Gun Owners of America attacking my amendment, saying, essentially, that I was taking political advantage of a horrible tragedy in Michigan.... The Gun Owners of America has every right to take this position. They have every right to do it. We should look at what their logo says: 'Gun Owners of America, 25 Years of No Compromise.' That is their slogan. That is their logo: '25 Years of No Compromise.'

So to claim that GOA does nothing, and just "preaches to the Choir" even though actual gun-grabbing senators recognize GOA as a defender and activist of the 2nd Amendment, is just inaccurate.
 

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GOA is a phony front organization for Larry Pratt's direct mail company. It does nothing but preach to the choir - actually lie to the gun community.
How do I know this? I lived near its "HQ" - an office in an industrial park - for 20 years. In that time Pratt did nothing except become Pat Buchanans presidential campaign director, then derail that campaign by speaking to a Nazi group.
Oh do quiet down with your statist rants
 

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Okay, if you think those comments on the GOA are unfounded, then you show me where the NRA "compromised" with Schumer and McCarthy.

And before you show us the bill passed in the wake of the VT massacre, that wasn't a compromise, that was fixing a broken system, and it was good legislation, even though the GOA invented some nonsense about it being bad for us. If the NRA supports a bill that McCarthy and Schumer support, that does not mean there was a compromise. That bill was also supported by just about everyone, I believe including Ron Paul, but somehow the only correlation that counts is between the NRA and radical left-wing liberals?

So, you tell a guy who lived near the GOAs headquarters for 20 years and has a first hand account that he shares with us that he has no basis for his accusations, yet you claim the NRA capitulated to Schumer and McCarthy providing no evidence of your own...
 

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I tend to agree with the NRA position on this (which it has provided to the membership - repeatedly) as to thre effects of this bill. It doesn't upset me.

I've been observing GOA, Second Amendment Foundation, and the other non-NRA advocacy groups as well as the NRA for probably forty years now. As best I can tell, none of them have any significant clout with legislatures or elected executive branch officials at any level (presidents of the USA, state governors). I have to say taht, while I am not 100% in agreement with all the NRA positions or tactics - it is still a matter that can be easily verified that the NRA does have considerable clout, though it isn't 100% successful (but who is? Not even Jack Abramoff...). And uses it. On our behalf. Such is the opinion I've formed from that 40 years of observation.

GOA strikes me as an outfit that claims the Moon and stars but delivers (at a high price) a few starfish off the beach.
 

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The gun grabbers in Congress latched on to the NRA written HR2640 because they haven't been able to get ANYTHING on their wish list passed since the Democratic defeat in 1994. Post Columbine they had high hopes and all the Liberal media were licking their chops predicting a major gun control bill.

Nothing happened.

The reason is that the NRA worked hard to defeat a lot of Democratic politicians in swing areas where lots of gun owners were enraged by the AGB. Since then the Democrats have been scared stiff of poking that dog with a stick again and only won control of Congress last year by recruiting a lot of pro-gun Democrats to run.

So the only way the anti-gun lobby can show a victory is to label an expansion of gun rights as "Gun Control". No mistake, HR2640 isn't a major victory for us but its a good sized nibble in the long task of regaining all our rights.

And I'm not kidding about the GOA. It's gone from being just a waste of money to a major hinderance to our fight for our rights. Larry Pratt has proved himself to be a political incompetent so I can't tell if his motive is that he really believes what he's saying or that he just wants to take support and money away from the NRA. Either way those who do not research the background of his claims are his gullible victims.


From the NRA in a recent 6 Oct 2007 newsletter:

THE NICS IMPROVEMENT BILL: MYTH AND REALITY
Some opponents of the "NICS Improvement Amendments Act" (H.R. 2640) have spent the last several months painting a picture of the bill that would rightly terrify gun owners-if it was true.

The opponents' motive seems to be a totally unrealistic hope of undercutting or repealing the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) by ensuring that its records are inaccurate and incomplete. But make no mistake-an inaccurate and incomplete system only serves to delay and burden lawful gun buyers, while failing to screen those who are prohibited from possessing firearms under existing law.

Nonetheless, opponents of H.R. 2640 continue to spread misconceptions about the bill. The following are some of the common myths.

MYTH: "Millions of Americans will awake one day and find that they are suddenly barred from buying guns based upon decades old convictions of 'misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence,' or mental health adjudications that were later rescinded or expired."

FACT: H.R. 2640 does not create any new classes of "prohibited persons." The NRA does not, and will not, support the creation of new classes of prohibited persons. H.R. 2640 only requires reporting of available records on people who are prohibited from possessing firearms under existing law.

Also, H.R. 2640-for the first time-specifies that mental health adjudications may not be reported if they've been expunged, or if the person has received relief from the adjudication under the procedures required by the bill. In those cases, the mental adjudication or commitment "shall be deemed not to have occurred," and therefore would not prohibit the person from possessing firearms.

MYTH: "As many as a quarter to a third of returning Iraq veterans could be prohibited from owning firearms-based solely on a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder."

FACT: The only veterans who would be reported to NICS under this bill due to mental health issues are-as with civilians-those who are adjudicated as incompetent or involuntarily committed to a mental institution.
A diagnosis alone is never enough; the person must be "adjudicated as a mental defective," which is a legal term that implies a fair hearing process. The Veterans' Administration has regulations that provide veterans with an opportunity for a hearing on those decisions, and an opportunity for multiple appeals-just as a civilian does in state court. Any records that don't meet this standard could not be reported to NICS, and any deficient records that have already been provided would have to be removed.

Veteran and journalist Larry Scott (operator of the website http://www.vawatchdog.org) calls the allegation about veterans a "huge campaign of misinformation and scare tactics." Scott points out that thousands of veterans who receive mental health care through the VA-but have not been found incompetent or involuntarily committed-are not currently reported to NICS, and wouldn't be reported under H.R. 2640. (Scott's analysis is available online at http://www.military.com/opinion/0,15202 ... html?wh=wh.)

Last, but not least, H.R. 2640 also provides veterans and others their first opportunity in 15 years to seek "relief from disabilities" through either state or federal programs. Currently, no matter how successfully a person responds to treatment, there is no way for a person "adjudicated" incompetent or involuntarily committed to an institution to seek restoration of the right to possess a firearm.

MYTH: A child who has been diagnosed with attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder "can be banned for life from ever owning a gun as an adult." "Your ailing grandfather could have his entire gun collection seized, based only on a diagnosis of Alzheimer's (and there goes the family inheritance)."

FACT: Again, a psychiatric or medical diagnosis alone is not an "adjudication" or "commitment."
Critics base their concern on BATFE regulations that define an "adjudication" to include a decision by a "court, board, commission, or other lawful authority." They claim any doctor could potentially be a "lawful authority."

They are wrong. Not even the Clinton Administration took such an extreme position. In fact, the term "lawful authority" was apparently intended to cover various types of government panels that are similar to "courts, boards, or commissions." Basic principles of legal interpretation require reading it that way. The term also doesn't override the basic constitutional protections that come into play in decisions about a person's mental health.

Finally, records of voluntary treatment also would not be available under federal and state health privacy laws, which H.R. 2640 also does not override.

MYTH: People who get voluntary drug or alcohol treatment would be prohibited from possessing guns.

FACT: Again, current BATFE regulations make clear that voluntary commitments do not affect a person's right to arms. NRA (and, surely, the medical community) would vehemently oppose any proposal that would punish or deter a person getting needed voluntary treatment.

MYTH: A Pennsylvania man lost his right to possess firearms due to an "offhanded, tongue-in-cheek remark."

FACT: This case does not hold up to close investigation. The person made comments on a college campus that were interpreted as threatening in the wake of the Virginia Tech tragedy; he was then briefly sent to a mental institution.
Opponents, however, have failed to mention that the man had been the subject of chronic complaints from his neighbors. (The "filth, mold, [and] mildew" in his apartment were so bad that the town declared it unfit for human habitation.) After his brief hospital stay, he was arrested for previously pointing a gun at his landlord and wiretapping his neighbors.

Despite these facts, it also appears he was only committed for a brief period of observation. Current BATFE regulations say that the term "committed to a mental institution" "does not include a person in a mental institution for observation." Therefore, even in this extreme case, the person may not ultimately be prohibited from possessing firearms. Second Amendment scholar Clayton Cramer describes this case in a recent Shotgun News column (available online at http://www.claytoncramer.com/PopularMag ... 202640.htm) and reaches the same conclusion.

MYTH: "Relief from disability" provisions would require gun owners to spend a fortune in legal fees to win restoration of rights.

FACT: Relief programs are not that complicated. When BATFE (then just BATF) operated the relief from disabilities program, the application was a simple two-page form that a person could submit on his own behalf. The bureau approved about 60% of valid applications from 1981-91.

Pro-gun attorney Evan Nappen points out that the most extreme anti-gun groups now oppose H.R. 2640 simply because of the relief provisions. Nappen includes a sampling of their comments in his article on the bill ("Enough NRA Bashing"), available online at http://www.pgnh.org/enough_nra_bashing.

MYTH: The bill's "relief from disability" provisions are useless because Congress has defunded the "relief" program.

FACT: The current ban on processing relief applications wouldn't affect this bill. The appropriations rider (promoted in 1992 by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.)) only restricts expenditures by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. H.R. 2640 requires relief programs to be set up and operated by agencies that make adjudications or commitments related to people's mental health. BATFE doesn't do that, but other agencies-especially the Veterans' Administration-do. Naturally, NRA would strongly oppose any effort to remove funding from new "relief" programs set up under this widely supported bill.

MYTH: The bill must be anti-gun, because it was co-sponsored by anti-gun Members of Congress.

FACT: By this unreasonable standard, any bill with broad support in Congress must be a bad idea. NRA believes in working with legislators of all political persuasions if the end result will benefit lawful gun owners. Anti-gun Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) supported arming airline pilots against terrorists, but that program was (and is) a good idea nonetheless.

MYTH: The bill "was hatched in secret .and passed out of the House without even a roll call."

FACT: No one asked for a roll call vote. This is not unusual. The House voted on H.R. 2640 under "suspension of the rules," which allows passing widely supported bills by a two-thirds vote. (This procedure also helps prevent amendments-which in this case helped prevent anti-gun legislators from turning the bill into a "Christmas tree" for their agenda.)

After a debate in which only one House member opposed the bill, the House passed the bill by a voice vote. There is never a recorded vote in the House without a request from a House member. No one asked for one on H.R. 2640, again showing the widespread support for the bill.
 

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You know, it really isn't fair to provide FACTS to someone like gbm177. Once you drink the cool-aid....
 
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