August 2003

Friday, August 1st, 2003

A congressional report released 
June 30 found that federal law enforcement
agencies still are unable
to account for 824 of 1,012 lost or
stolen firearms issued to their officers
a year after the guns were determined
to be missing. The Republican chairman
and the ranking Democrat on
the House Judiciary Committee both
called the revelation “inexcusable.”
Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner
(R-WI) said that “neither the public
nor I will condone having over 800
firearms missing from federal agencies”
after the General Accounting
Office released its report. Sensenbrenner
continued, “Most disturbing,
though, is that many of these firearms
were not timely reported missing by
the law enforcement officers themselves.
That is inexcusable.”
“Hunting is part of the fabric of
American history and today remains
a cherished activity for millions,”
writes Sid Evans, editor of Field &
Stream, the largest circulation special
interest magazine in the United
States. After conducting a survey
of the publication’s estimated 10.5
million potential readers over a threemonth
period on the magazine’s web
site, Evans reported that 63 percent
more women are hunting than 10
years ago, 83 percent plan on introducing
their children to hunting, 85
percent believe states should use
public funds to acquire more land
for public hunting, and 64 percent
are concerned equally about gun
rights and land conservation.
Surprisingly, a lawsuit filed
against the maker of the gun allegedly
used by the Washington, D.C.
sniper suspects is being allowed to
go forward based on “hypothetical
facts” presented by lawyers for the
Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence,
a Pierce County, Washington
court recently ruled. A statement by
the gun’s manufacturer argued that,
“the Brady Center’s attorneys are
very loose with the facts.” Superior
Court Judge Frank Cuthbertson determined
that Bushmaster Firearms,
Inc. of Windham, Maine, and Bull’s
Eye Shooter Supply of Tacoma,
Washington may be held responsible
for the criminal actions of others in
the suit filed by the families of eight
murder victims and one survivor.
“A law making it easier for Minnesotans
to carry handguns is putting
some heat on businesses across
the state,” writes Richard Gibson in
The Wall Street Journal. “They must
decide whether to allow the weapons
on their premises and, if not, what to
do about it. The law says those objecting
to pistol-packing patrons can
post signs that no guns are allowed. If
they do, individuals who ignore those
signs can be prosecuted, though the
initial penalty is only a $25 fine. But
many merchants have been reluctant
to declare themselves on the issue.
One reason: Both proponents and
opponents of the law have vowed to
boycott businesses who don’t agree
with them.”
When Democratic presidential candidate
Howard Dean, scrambling
to paint a “kinder, gentler” portrait
of his party in an effort to attract
the support of gun owners told a
reporter, “You can walk into my office
with a gun,” his statement was
immediately challenged by CCRKBA
Executive Director Joe Waldron and
CCRKBA Communications Director
Dave Workman. They wrote an opinion
piece that appeared in several
newspapers.
“Dean is no longer governor of
Vermont,” they wrote. “If he were,
no law-abiding citizen would get
anywhere near his office with a
firearm, and he knows it. If by some
earthquake of circumstance, he
becomes the party’s nominee, no
armed citizen would get within a
mile of him, and if he were elected
president, forget it, no matter what
his party affiliation. The fact that he
is now traveling around the country
with a soft message on guns is interesting,
but hardly convincing.”
Bur Waldron and Workman gave
Dean credit for “trying to reach out
to a constituency that many of his
fellow Democrats have all but tried
to destroy.”
“If Democrats want to attract gun
owners, the party must distance itself
from the extremists, in Congress and
in the states,” they wrote. “The party
must publicly repudiate the failed
gun control measures they have
imposed on millions of law-abiding
citizens whose only crime is that
they exercised a basic constitutional
right.”