APRIL 1999

Thursday, April 1st, 1999

John Michael Snyder, CCRKBA Public Affairs Director, noted in a recent nationally televised presentation that the theories underlying current third party lawsuits against firearms manufacturers and dealers could, if established in law and applied on a universal basis, lead to the “decimation of the American economy.”
Snyder’s comment came on February 26 during a Cato Institute Center for Constitutional Studies Policy Forum in Washington, D. C. on cities suing the gun industry.
Snyder’s comment came in the form of a question to David B. Kopel, Research Director of the Independence Institute and a CCRKBA Gun Rights Defender of the Month Awardee.
Kopel, a featured speaker at the Cato forum, agreed with Snyder and added that is why the Chamber of Commerce is lining up with the firearms industry in the current controversy.
According to a recent CNN-Gallup-USA TODAY survey of 1,054 adults, a little more than a third, 36 percent, have a gun in their home, while 62 percent said they did not.
Among gun owners, rifles are most favored. Sixty-seven percent own a rifle, while 61 percent have handguns; 59 percent own shotguns. The figures come to over 100 percent since many owners have several types of firearms.
In the poll of the general population, just nine percent said that laws regulating the sale of firearms should be “less strict,” while 60 percent favor stricter controls and 29 percent are satisfied with current laws.
More respondents, 68 percent, favored stricter regulation of handguns. Six percent said they wanted “less strict” regulation; 25 percent are content with current laws.
By 64 percent to 34 percent, people rejected overwhelmingly the notion of banning “possession of handguns except by police and other authorized persons.” By a 60 percent margin, however, 79 percent to 19 percent, they favored laws requiring “registration of all handguns.”
Respondents were more evenly split on what the pollsters termed “minor restrictions,” such as a five-day handgun purchase waiting period versus “major restrictions” such as banning certain classes of firearms, including semiautomatic rifles.
Thirty-seven percent in the poll supported “minor” restrictions, while 36 percent favored “major” restrictions. Since the margin of error in the survey was plus or minus three percentage points, the two responses constitute a statistical deadlock.
Just five percent said they would like “no restrictions at all,” while 18 percent said ban all guns “except for authorized persons.”
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In Virginia, the state game agency is proposing new hunting rules to encourage more children to hunt. This is part of an effort to reverse the decades-long decline in the number of hunters.
“Hunting is a tremendously traditional pastime, but there are so many other things for kids to participate in now,” Rick Busch, assistant chief of the wildlife division, said early last month. “We want to remove the roadblocks we have to kids coming into the sport.”
The number of licensed hunters in Virginia declined from 332,310 in 1993-94 to 283,457 last year. The number of “junior hunters” ages 12 to 15 declined from 21,196 to 16,692 in the same period.
More than 60 percent of the Virginia Deer Hunters Association’s members have been hunting at least 26 years, said Denny Quaiff, the group’s spokesman. Just two percent are new to the sport, having hunted from one to five years.
Busch said one reason for the overall decline in hunters is that Virginia is becoming a more urban and suburban state, while the population is declining in many rural areas.
“Anything we can do to get the kids involved, we should do that,” Quaiff told a packed house during a hearing at the game agency in Richmond, the State Capital, on March 4.
One proposal biologists presented to the board would allow hunters 15 and younger to kill a deer without antlers on any day during the rifle or muzzle loading season rather than on designated days.
The reasoning behind the rule is simple, according to a WASHINGTON POST report: Young hunters would have a better chance at success, and successful hunters are more likely to stick with the sport.
Former Congressman Kweisi Mfume, now President of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), said in Washington, D. C. on February 20 that the Association is considering joining cities in lawsuits against firearms manufacturers.
“We represent a significant constituency that is disproportionately affected by gun violence,” Mfume said at NAACP’s annual meeting. “The time has come for us to look at the proliferation of handguns.”
Mfume said he would present to the group’s 64-member board of directors several options, including a resolution of concern about guns and joining the suits against gun manufacturers, according to The Associated Press. Mfume also said NAACP could file a separate suit. “I want to put forth some legal theories we’ve been presented and ask the board for its consideration,” he stated.