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Grassroots Alert: Vol. 8, No. 30 7/27/2001

UN CONFERENCE CLOSES AFTER MARATHON NEGOTIATIONS

The two-week "U.N. Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in all its Aspects" concluded at 6:00 a.m. on the morning of July 21—beyond the originally-scheduled closing date of July 20—after delegates worked through the night to accommodate negotiations over core provisions of the conference`s intended product. That product—a non-binding "Draft Programme of Action"—had been touted by U.N. officials as an effort to try to curtail the "illicit trade in small arms," but the initial "Programme" clearly sought to go well beyond its alleged intent by directing U.N. member countries to restrict all civilian ownership of firearms. The conference opened with a strong warning from U.S. Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs John R. Bolton that the United States would not support any proposal that included attacks on our Right to Keep and Bear Arms, but other nations spurned U.S. concerns by pressing relentlessly for such provisions.

Throughout the meetings, several revised versions of the "Programme" were released, and all but the final contained provisions that remained unacceptable to U.S. negotiators. Meanwhile, the anti-gun extremists at the U.N. received support for their efforts through the anti-gun members of the "mainstream" media in the U.S. and around the world. The intentional misinformation campaign regarding the intentions of the "Programme" was widespread. The U.N. put out a release that claimed the focus of the Conference was not on "the legal trade, manufacture or ownership" of firearms, and it would "have no effect on the rights of civilians to legally own and bear arms." U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan claimed, "This week`s conference is not meant...to take guns away from their legal owners." But during the conference, Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister Jozias van Aartsen stated, "We must further regulate the legal trade in arms," and Seiken Sugiura, Japan`s senior vice minister for foreign affairs, proclaimed, "In our view, it is of utmost importance to build a society where small arms are no longer necessary." And when all was said and done, and the final "Programme" was agreed to, Conference President Camilo Reyes Rodriguez of Colombia stated he was disappointed with the conference`s "inability to agree...on language recognizing the need to establish and retain controls on private ownership" of firearms.

The International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA), an anti-gun non-governmental organization (NGO) aligned with nearly 200 anti-gun organizations throughout the world, stated it was "particularly concerned that a number of critical commitments have been left out of the final program of action," specifically, "any reference to regulate civilian possession of [firearms]." Clearly disappointed with the outcome of the conference, the global gun-ban brigade refuses to accept defeat. Already, the government of Colombia has announced that it will force another discussion of "small arms" at the U.N. next week! The rotating presidency of the U.N. Security Council will be held by Colombia for the month of August, and Colombia`s U.N. mission has decided to devote August 2 to an "open debate" on further efforts to regulate firearms. Please contact the U.S. Department of State to encourage the U.S. delegates to the U.N. to hold fast to the hard-line positions set by Under Secretary Bolton. Contact information for the U.S. Department of State is:

          U.S. Department of State
          2201 C Street NW
          Washington, DC 20520
          (202)647-4000
          E-mail -- Secretary@state.gov

 

BUSH ADMINISTRATION

ENDS CLINTON/CUOMO GUN-SURRENDER PROGRAM

The Bush Administration has once again shown common sense in rejecting a costly and ineffective anti-gun policy of the past administration. On Monday, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced it would end the gun-surrender program implemented by former HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo, who fancied himself the point-man of Bill Clinton`s anti-gun crusade. Critics of Cuomo`s program protested it was a waste of tax-payer funds, had no impact on reducing crime, and fell well outside HUD`s purview. Congressional appropriators and HUD`s own Inspector General agreed that the program was also an illegal diversion of taxpayer funds. HUD spokeswoman Nancy Segerdahl concurred, stating, "This is clearly not part of the core mission of HUD."

 

SCHUMER/KENNEDY INTRODUCE REGISTRATION BILL

FOR LAW-ABIDING GUN PURCHASERS

IN THE FACE OF OVERWHELMING DEFEAT IN HOUSE

U.S. Senators Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.)—two of the most shameless hucksters of the gun-ban movement in Congress—have taken up where anti-gun extremists failed miserably last week in the House of Representatives. Kennedy and Schumer announced yesterday the introduction of S. 1253, a bill that seeks to give the FBI authority to use the National Instant Check System (NICS) to retain the records of law-abiding gun purchasers for at least 90 days—a policy the lame-duck Clinton/Reno Department of Justice (DOJ) had attempted to make permanent with a last-minute regulation. The Kennedy-Schumer bill was introduced as part of a coordinated anti-gun attack on Attorney General John Ashcroft`s recent proposal to reform and improve the operation of NICS—which included a call to slash the amount of time allowed to keep records on law-abiding citizens that are generated by NICS to less than one day. The introduction of S. 1253 also follows closely on the heels of last week`s overwhelming, bi-partisan rejection in the House of Representatives of similar legislation introduced by Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.).

The Kennedy-Schumer bill is supported by the usual anti-gun suspects, including the gun-ban lobby formerly known as HCI, and a who`s-who list of anti-gun Senators such as Boxer, Clinton, Corzine, Feinstein, Reed, and Torricelli. And joining the list of extremists who support this registration scheme for law-abiding gun purchasers is Internet billionaire Andrew McKelvey`s Americans for Gun Safety (AGS). AGS, of course, is the fledgling anti-gun organization that claims it is a "centrist, non-partisan group," but consistently demonstrates it is nothing more than an anti-gun lobbying group cut from the same cloth as Sarah Brady. AGS President Jon Cowan (former chief of staff to Clinton`s anti-gun HUD Secretary Cuomo) stated, "We support the efforts [of Kennedy/Schumer]," then went on to say, "It`s a shame it had to come to this." The "shame" to which Cowan refers is not exactly clear, but perhaps he means it is a "shame" that AGS has been forced to acknowledge its support for the licensing and/or registration of all gun owners—its "top national priority," according to the group`s own internal documents. Or maybe the "shame" is that McKelvey`s millions are being squandered on ineffective lobbying for the same types of anti-gun proposals that other anti-gun organizations promote, thus shattering the thin facade of AGS as a self-proclaimed "centrist" group.

Whatever the case, make sure to contact your U.S. Senators to urge them to support Attorney General Ashcroft and the privacy of law-abiding gun purchasers by opposing S. 1253, the Kennedy-Schumer registration bill. You can contact your U.S. Senators at 202/224-3121, or use the "Write Your Reps" tool at NRAILA.org to find additional contact information.

A LOOK AT THE STATES

ARIZONA

Tucson Vice-Mayor Fred Ronstadt is working with NRA to host an Eddie Eagle GunSafe™ Program this Saturday, July 28. The program will be held at the Randolph Golf Course Clubhouse at 11:00 a.m.

INDIANA

Elkhart County passed its ban on carrying concealed firearms in public buildings. The ban, which was passed without public input, actually extends beyond firearms, and is so restrictive that a $250 fine could be imposed if someone merely carries a pocket knife into a building. Gun owners should write or call County Commissioners Phil Neff and Phil Stiver to express their outrage: Elkhart County Government, 117 North Second Street, Goshen, IN 46526; Fax: (219) 535-6747; Phone: (219) 535-6747.

NEW MEXICO

License applications and proposed rules on the state`s new Right to Carry law are available online at the New Mexico Department of Public Safety`s website.  Written comments on the proposed rules are now being accepted by DPS.  The original and four copies of written comments must be submitted to DPS on or before Thursday, August 9, at P.O. Box 1628, Santa Fe, NM 87501-1628, ATTN: Ronald Doss.  A public hearing is scheduled for Thursday, August 16, at 9:00 a.m. in Room 322 of the State Capitol ( located at the corner of Paseo de Peralta & Old Santa Fe Trail) in Santa Fe. Make plans to attend this hearing to share your views on the proposed rules.  If you cannot access the DPS website, you may contact Ronald Doss with DPS at (505) 827-9060, or rdoss@dps.state.nm.us, and request a copy of the proposed rules. NRA-ILA and New Mexico Shooting Sports Association are reviewing the rules, drafting comments, and preparing testimony for the hearing.

NORTH CAROLINA

The House Judiciary Committee III passed SB 680, the reckless lawsuit preemption bill, after removing the restrictive anti-gun show language that had been attached in the Senate. Please call your Representative at (919) 733-7928 and ask him to support Senate Bill 680.

WISCONSIN

NRA-ILA was able to defeat Attorney General James Doyle`s attempt to use the Senate version of the budget to more than double the fee charged for instant background checks on gun purchases. Gun owners owe their gratitude to the House members of the conference committee, who removed the increase from the final bill.

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.