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President's Column-January 2004

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

PRESIDENT'S COLUMN

KAYNE ROBINSON

Their legislation would also ban every semi-automatic shotgun in America- including the millions of Browning Auto-5 shotguns produced since 1903.

he Clinton semi-automatic gun ban of 1994 has been a decade-long vicious slap at veterans and Americans whose families have served in the military. For more than 200 years American soldiers, sailors and Marines have developed an interest in the rifles, pistols and shotguns involved with their military service. They lived with some of those guns. Some saved their lives. Some were used by their allies or enemies.

Millions of service personnel and people with an interest in the military have purchased or inherited these guns--Brown Bess flintlocks, Springfields, Colt Single Action Army revolvers, Remington Rolling Blocks, Krags, Winchester Model 97 and Model 12 shotguns, M1 Garands, M1 Carbines, Colt M1911 pistols, M1As, AR-15s and Berettas. All these firearms played an important part in the military service of millions of Americans.

Banning as many guns as fast as possible--and registering the rest--is what it's all about.

As soldiers relinquished their fully automatic military firearms at the end of their duty, many returning veterans gravitated to the semi-automatic civilian versions of those firearms, such as the AR-15 and M1A. Literally tens of millions of these guns are owned by Americans. All the data show they are the guns least likely to be involved in crime or accidents. Indeed, the gun haters have had 10 years to show any relationship between the banned semi autos and crime of any kind. There is none. Banning guns for features, such as bayonet lugs, pistol grips and so-called flash hiders, is completely dishonest. When has anyone ever been bayoneted in a crime? What possible crime could a pistol grip commit?

And yet politicians now want to ban even more firearms based on those same silly cosmetic features. Two bills now in Congress--H.R. 2038 an S. 1431- introduced by Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y., and Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., would ban millions of additional semi-automatics, including those with "pistol grips." But nearly all guns have "pistol grips"! Their legislation would also ban every semi-automatic shotgun in America--including the millions of Browning Auto-5 shotguns produced since 1903.

Clever, but no accident. Banning as many guns as fast as possible--and registering the rest--is what it's all about. One of the loudest cheerleaders for these semi-automatic gun bans has been Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who admitted on CBS's "60 Minutes": "If I could have gotten 51 votes in the Senate of the United States for an outright ban, picking up every one of them, Mr. and Mrs. America, turn them all in, I would have done it." Those who hate our Second Amendment rights routinely attack semi-automatic guns because they hope to deceive the public into believing that semi automatics are machine guns, which, of course, is totally false. As Josh Sugarmann of the anti-gun Violence Policy Center explained: "The weapons' menacing looks, coupled with the public's confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons--anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun--can only increase that chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons."

These laws are aimed at veterans and are born of contempt for the military. Many of the leading anti-gun activists are also prominent anti-military activists. We all know the contempt the Clintons had and still have for the military. What an affront to America's freedom and her armed forces it would be to let anti-freedom politicians extend and expand a ban on semi automatic firearms. If they can ban an entire class of conventional firearms that has never been an even marginally significant factor in crime--simply through rhetoric, hype, lies and hysteria--then they can ban any and every firearm in America.

We must close ranks and vow: We won't ever let that happen.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.