Today, the Clinton gun ban expired. The ban`s enactment in 1994 was political chest-thumping and deceit at its worst. Now that the ban is over, as was the case for decades prior to and during the life of the ban, criminals still will not legally be able to possess these firearms. Law-abiding citizens, however, will once again be free to purchase semi-automatic firearms, regardless of their cosmetic features, for target shooting, shooting competitions, hunting, collecting, and most importantly, self-defense. This misguided law, which had no effect on the actions of criminals, but penalized law-abiding citizens, was built on a campaign of lies. It was ended through a campaign of education, facts, and grassroots activism. The sunset of this ban was only made possible through the tireless efforts of millions of NRA members and tens of millions of American gun owners over the past 10 years.
Beginning in the 1994 elections, the first congressional elections after the enactment of the ban, right through the 2002 elections, gun owners made tremendous gains at the ballot box, which made this legislative accomplishment not only a possibility, but, a reality. Despite the gun banners flimsy reliance on "polls" to justify their position, in the only polls that mattered over the past 10 years--elections--the American people spoke, and repudiated the anti-gunners` position. As NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox said, "NRA members and gun owners showed that it is possible to turn grassroots political activism into legislative reality, and they should be commended for a decade`s worth of hard work and tireless dedication. Now is a time to take pause, reflect, and briefly celebrate this monumental accomplishment. But the celebration will be short lived as we have much work left in front of us."
If, over the past five election cycles, we failed to add to our pro-gun majorities in Congress, the ban, no doubt, would have been extended and even expanded. Today`s demise of the Clinton gun ban should serve as a stark reminder that the 2004 elections will determine the next chapter that is written on the Second Amendment, and it is critical we sustain our momentum right through Election Day--Tuesday, November 2. Keep an eye out for Friday`s Grassroots Alert that will provide you with all the tools and information you will need to ensure victory for our rights on Election Day 2004.
Make no mistake, our fight to protect and preserve the Second Amendment is far from over. At every opportunity, the Schumers, Clintons, Feinsteins, and Kerrys of the world will diligently work, this year and beyond, to pass another, more restrictive gun ban. We can also promise you that dozens of state legislatures will pick up the gun ban mantle and try and pass state level gun bans as well. We must remain vigilant on this front. This battle has been won, but it is only a temporary victory. The war will rage on!
We know we can count on your continued activism as we work to accomplish our mutual goals, and we thank you for your support over the past 10 years in rightly relegating this misguided ban to the legislative graveyard!