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Thursday, January 11, 2007

20/20 hindsight:

Looking back in retrospect, if you could have put armed air marshals on those four doomed 9/11 airliners, would you?

If you could have arrayed air-defense radars and rockets at Pearl Harbor, would you?

What if the White House had ignored Albert Einstein`s warnings--and America had finished second in the race for the atomic bomb?

American gun owners now face similar, fateful decisions: Readiness? Or apathy?

Gun owners like you face a gathering storm in the U.S. Congress today. Come January, when the new u.s. Senate and House are sworn in, the face of Capitol Hill will change far more than the mere numbers might suggest.

With the U.S. Senate divided 51 to 49, and with “red” and “blue” voters matched almost 1 to 1, you might expect that the Democrats who squeaked out a takeover of both houses of Congress would seek moderation, prudence, caution and common ground.

Unfortunately, just the opposite may be the case.

Although many members of the incoming congressional "Class of 2007" appear to be supportive on the gun issue (in fact, pro-gunners still have a slight majority in both houses), their mentors and managers--old guard members of Congress in positions of power--are anything but supportive.

"If you look at many of the important leadership positions, what you`ll see are some of the most radical, rabidly anti-gun politicians on the planet," said NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre. "These are people who have been working for years, in many cases decades, to revoke or redefine our Second Amendment rights out of existence."

"It`s true," agreed NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox. "From one end of Capitol Hill to the other, many House and Senate committees that matter to gun owners are chaired by anti-gun extremists."

The danger of such a situation is that the Democrat Caucus could be held hostage to its most marginal, gun-hating members.

With many key committee chairs and positions of power held by anti-gun members, there`s a very real danger that they could hijack Congress and turn it into their own gun-ban juggernaut.

"The greatest danger of all," LaPierre said, "is that gun owners won`t realize it until the fix is in and the damage is done. By then, it`ll be too late to muster our defenses."

What`s worse, the long-term consequences of these anti-gun politi-cians` decisions cannot be simply undone with the next federal election.

For proof of that, just look to the U.S. Senate, which confirms or kills federal judicial nominations and ratifies or rejects international treaties.

The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Courts--the first stop for every one of the president`s nominations to the federal bench--may now be chaired by one of the most anti-gun politicians on Capitol Hill, Brooklyn gun-ban extremist New York Sen. Charles Schumer.

Schumer built his career on dismantling the Second Amendment Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

As chairman of this key Senate subcommittee, Schumer would control the vetting process for federal judges, as well as the votes needed to delay or dump nominations. What that means is when it comes to choosing the judges who sit on the federal bench for the rest of their lives--and define the meaning of Second Amendment freedom--Schumer can wield incredible power.

What`s more, Schumer is also the Senate Democrats` main moneyman, chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. That means when it comes time to dole out campaign cash, Schumer has more weight than almost any other Democrat in the Senate.

And just as dangerous as anti-gun judges are anti-gun treaties from the United Nations.

NRA has been tracking the U.N.`s gun-ban activities for well over a decade, and thanks to the Bush administration`s appointees to the U.N., the U.S. position on any global gun-ban treaty has been consistent and uncompromising: Hands off the Second Amendment rights of American citizens!

However, all that could change, now that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee--which approves or rejects our U.N. representatives and assesses international treaties for possible ratification--is chaired by anti-gun U.S. Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware.

Like Schumer, Biden is rated "F" by the NRA Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF) for his countless votes against firearm freedom. Like Schumer, Biden voted to expose the lawful firearm industry to crippling lawsuits; to extend and expand the Clinton gun bans; to allow a ban on most hunting-rifle ammunition; and to deny the free-speech rights of groups like the NRA during elections.

Now, as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Biden can use his power to sabotage pro-freedom nominees for U.N. ambassador--as he did with Second Amendment defender John Bolton--and bully fellow senators into accepting whatever gun-ban treaty the U.N. concocts in the name of fighting international terrorism.

Biden is sure to have a committed ally in California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who may chair the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Homeland Security.

Like Biden and Schumer, Feinstein--the former mayor of San Francisco--is rated "F" by the NRA-PVF, and has an anti-gun record stretching back for decades.

It was Feinstein who attached the gun bans to the Clinton-Schumer crime bill in 1994. It was Feinstein who told 60 Minutes television: "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."

It was Feinstein who tried to ban .50-caliber rifles by fabricating a nexus to terrorism that doesn`t exist and never did.

And you can bet that it`ll be U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, as chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Homeland Security, who would do all in her power to blame firearm freedom for terrorism; to propose eye-in-the-sky surveillance and registration regimes on honest gun owners like you; and to push gun bans as her own brand of "homeland security."

Make no mistake: This is the upside-down, Orwellian world we could face with such gun-hating, freedom-distrusting zealots in all positions of power in Washington.

From Barbara Boxer and Hillary Rodham Clinton to John Kerry and Ted Kennedy, in terms of Second Amendment freedom, the U.S. Senate could quickly become "the greatest prohibitive body on earth."

Unfortunately, the Senate is just the beginning of our troubles.

It`s hard to imagine a House of Representatives led by a more anti-gun contingent. Indeed, House Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi stands as a supreme example of a much further-reaching phenomenon.

In her 19 years in Congress representing the city of San Francisco, Pelosi has voted against gun owners` rights and hunters` interests some 57 times. Pelosi voted to:

• allow the confiscation of firearms from lawful citizens during states of emergency;
• expose lawful gun makers and dealers to potentially bankrupting junk lawsuits;
• prohibit airline pilots from carrying a firearm to protect the cockpit from terrorists;
• ban free speech by groups like the NRA in the months leading up to elections;
• increase funding for anti-gun "research" concocted by the Centers for Disease Control;
• end hunting on national wildlife refuges and in the Mojave Desert;
• pass the Brady Bill and the Clinton-Schumer-Feinstein gun bans.

In fact, if you total up all the congressional votes on which the NRA has ever taken a position, you`ll see that, throughout her career, Pelosi has voted against your firearm freedoms more than 98 percent of the time!

In other words, she voted with the NRA a grand total of once.

Just for a moment, consider the frightening fact that as speaker of the House, Pelosi is first in line of succession behind Vice President Dick Cheney to become president of the United States.

But she doesn`t have to be president --even as House speaker, Pelosi has the power to do enormous harm to your Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

For proof, just look at those in leadership positions under her, like the new House majority leader--fellow "F"-rated Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland.

And behind Hoyer, the list of "F-Troop" members continues: "F-rated" James Clyburn of South Carolina is the new House Majority Whip; "F-rated" Rahm Emanuel of Illinois is the new Democrat Caucus Chairman; and "F-rated" John Larson of Connecticut is the new Democrat Caucus Vice Chair. As those who set the legislative agenda, you can be sure that our Second Amendment rights and hunting heritage will be under constant attack.

There`s another anti-gun stalwart rising to a position of power. Michigan Congressman John Conyers is one of just a handful of politicians still in Congress who voted against the landmark Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986. What makes Conyers much more dangerous to your rights and your safety is that he`ll also be chairman of the crucial House Judiciary Committee--the first committee in which gun ban schemes either languish or take on a life of their own.

How will Conyers vote on those bans? You be the judge.

Like his leadership team, Conyers is rated "F" by the NRA-PVF. Like them, Conyers often blames firearms instead of violent felons for crime. Yet, while opposing tough sentences for armed, violent criminals, Conyers instead attacks the freedoms of honest Americans like you.

Conyers has repeatedly called for a total ban on all handguns, and over his congressional career has cast at least 61 votes against gun owners` and hunters` rights. What that means is that he has voted against you and your beliefs 94 percent of the time.

Imagine the damage that could result from a House Judiciary Committee chaired by Conyers--a man who says that the Second Amendment confers no individual rights at all.

In anti-gun fervor, Conyers has a reliable ally in Congressman Jerrold Nadler of New York City, who is likely to chair the House Judiciary Committee`s important Subcommittee on the Constitution.

Like Conyers, Nadler is a career politician rated "F" by the NRA-PVF. Like them, he has an almost unblemished anti-gun record in Congress, voting against your guns and your rights 92 percent of the time.

Indeed, during debate on h.r.5013 --a bill in response to the Hurricane Katrina aftermath that would bar auth-orities from confiscating firearms from lawful citizens during states of emer-gency--Nadler was a loud and insistent opponent of reform, and repeatedly called the legislation "insane."

As chairman of the House Judiciary Committee`s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Nadler would find all kinds of new and creative ways to re-define the Second Amendment out of our Constitution.

The truth is that anti-gun politicians now chair committees throughout Congress.

The House Ways and Means Committee is now chaired by New York anti-gun Congressman Charles Rangel. What that means is that the committee in charge of raising your taxes is now run by a man who once praised Cuban communist dictator Fidel Castro as "brilliant."

Like fellow gun-banner Bill Clinton, Rangel has a long and legendary anti-gun record. Accord-ing to The New York Times, shortly after Election Day, Rangel "sketched out an expansive federal agenda" that included "teaming up with Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg on gun control."

With Rangel at the controls of Congress` tax machine, look for new "sin taxes" on firearms and ammunition; new, punitive tariffs on firearm and ammunition imports--the possibilities are limitless.

The rules of the game are likely to change whenever these anti-gun politicians find it convenient, now that anti-gun New York Congress-woman Louise Slaughter chairs the House Rules Committee.

Like everyone else featured in this article, Slaughter consistently votes against your Right to Keep and Bear Arms. In fact, throughout her career in Congress, Slaughter has voted against gun owners` and hunters` rights almost 97 percent of the time.

Yet, unlike anyone else in Congress, as chair of the immensely powerful House Rules Committee, Slaughter has the power to profoundly affect the legislative process.

Since the Rules Committee serves as a kind of "traffic cop" for the entire House--dictating which bills go to the floor, how much testimony and how many amendments will be allowed, whether or not any time for debate will be reserved at all, and so on--Chairwoman Slaughter will have a uniquely powerful position from which to push her anti-gun agenda.

If you could head off another Pearl Harbor or 9/11 through your determined, decisive action now, would you?

That`s the question many gun owners face today. Because, although few know about it, the danger is real and imminent and mounting--and the only way to survive it with our freedoms intact is to dig in and deploy our defenses today.

"If you care about your rights and you want to protect them, it`s crucial that you act now," said NRA head LaPierre. "You can bet there`s a legislative avalanche headed our way, but it`s too late to take cover once that avalanche hits.

"What that means is, renew your NRA membership. Sign up another member. Make a contribution to NRA-ILA. Spread the word and get others to do the same."

NRA-ILA`s Cox echoed that sentiment. "With so many vital committees and subcommittees chaired by anti-gun extremists, our job in this new Congress is likely to be monumental. We need your help, and we need it now."

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NRA ILA

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.