FEBRUARY 1998

Sunday, February 1st, 1998

“Sarah ‘Crybaby’ Brady” is how Tom Marr of radio station WCBM in Baltimore, Maryland referred to the Chairwoman of Handgun Control, Inc. Marr refused to back down from the characterization during a radio talk show confab. “What happened to her husband is a great tragedy,” said Marr, referring to the wounding of former presidential press secretary James Brady during an assassination attempt on President Reagan in 1981, “but she’s a big crybaby and gets far more media exposure than people who believe in the right to bear arms.”

Some leaders of the firearms manufacturing industry are opting “to follow the ‘alcohol industry model’ rather than the ‘tobacco industry model’ by responding to safety concerns rather than just automatically resisting” attacks on them and their products, reports Leslie Wayne in THE NEW YORK TIMES for December 18, 1997.
“Just as liquor executives thwarted critics by campaigning against drunken drivers,” writes Wayne, “gun makers say they want to convince the public that they are dedicated to making safer weapons and saving lives.
“‘On every possible front, there is an attack’ from gun control advocates, said Robert Ricker, a lobbyist for the American Shooting Sports Council, the industry trade association. ‘They are trying to demonize our products and make it politically incorrect to be a gun owner, just like it is to be a smoker. So we, as an industry, have to become pro-active and look at these problems differently than the tobacco industry did.’”
Wayne reported further that “the two billion dollar firearms industry, battered by slumping profits and a poor public image, has already made it clear it does not want to suffer the same fate as the tobacco industry.
“‘Everyone can vividly remember seeing those tobacco executives parade up to Capitol Hill and deny that tobacco was habit forming,’ said Mr. Ricker, the lobbyist. ‘Everyone knew it was ridiculous. We are not going to go before Congress and say that guns are not dangerous and that kids are not killed with them.’”

U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT indicates “both sides in the Nation’s long-simmering debate over gun control are about to clash on a new battleground: preventing theft from gun stores and manufacturers.”
The weekly news magazine states that “officials at Handgun Control, Inc. say they will lobby heavily…for legislation that would strengthen the physical security requirements at firearms manufacturing facilities and federally licensed firearms stores, which have been plagued by a rise in smash-and-grab burglaries.”
“Some localities have their own regulations,” reports the publication. “New York City requires gun dealers to have an alarm system. The dealers must also remove handguns from display cases and lock them in a secure place at the end of the day. Industry groups say most dealers already have stringent security. They oppose legislation but have met with federal officials to explore the idea of tax or insurance breaks for enhanced security.”

Betty Montgomery, the Attorney General of Ohio, and the U. S. Department of Justice, worked out a deal December 18 to settle a dispute over checking the criminal histories of handgun buyers, reported The Associated Press.
“The Franklin County Sheriff’s Department in Columbus (Ohio) will be paid to perform Brady Act checks throughout the State,” stated AP.
Ms. Montgomery had made the background checks voluntary last year after the United States Supreme Court ruled that Congress could not require states to conduct the reviews. “With the agreement,” reported AP, “Arkansas is the only state refusing to check the background of handgun buyers, although some 100 local jurisdictions, mostly with populations of 10,000 or less, have refused to voluntarily conduct the checks.”
The Brady Act mandates a five-day waiting period during which local police may check the backgrounds of prospective handgun purchasers. The Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional a provision requiring local police to actually conduct the checks.
Under the new arrangement in Ohio, the State will check for criminal histories of handgun buyers who sign a form permitting it, and Franklin County will check on people statewide who refuse to sign the waiver. As an “incentive,” those who sign the waiver and clear the background check may pick up their guns in 48 hours, rather than having to wait five days. The county will be paid five dollars per background check.
“Our two day check will continue to cover the majority of handgun purchasers who agree to a background check, while this federal-state-local cooperative agreement will check the backgrounds of the remaining five to 10 percent,” Ms. Montgomery said.
The five day handgun purchase waiting period in the Brady Act is slated to sunset later this year when the instant, point-of-purchase criminals records checking system is supposed to be in place. Watch for gun grabbers to attempt to extend the life of the waiting period.

In New York State, Congressman Charles Schumer, the most anti-gun member of the Unites States House of Representatives, reportedly has salted away over eight million dollars in a campaign war chest for his attempt to succeed Republican Sen. Al D’Amato, who is running for reelection. Schumer, however, has to defeat at least two other Democrats in that party’s primary to get a crack at D’Amato. The two other Democrats are former Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro, who was her national party’s vice presidential nominee in 1984, and Mark Green, New York City’s Public Advocate.