MARCH 1999

Monday, March 1st, 1999

Gun grabbing President Bill Clinton said in his February 6 national radio address that he would ask Congress to require background checks on all people who bought firearms at gun shows and flea markets, regardless of whether the sellers are commercial gun dealers.
This brought forth a storm of protest the very next day at Clark Brothers Guns in Warrenton, Virginia as sport shooters, collectors and hunters squared off against the idea, according to THE WASHINGTON TIMES.
One, Vern McHargue, 28, an Alexandria, Virginia accountant, said the proposed anti-gun initiative would have no impact on criminals while penalizing the law-abiding citizen.
Another, Tracie Walsh, 27, an Arlington, Virginia preschool teacher, said, “the people we’re trying to keep from buying guns are going to get them anyway.”
John Clark, who has owned Clark Brothers Guns for 45 years, said he is sick of the stereotypes about gun owners.
He described his customers as responsible sports enthusiasts and hobbyists.
He said some dealers will applaud the idea of gun checks for everyone at gun shows. Some government-regulated sellers want common collectors who sell their guns to go through the same trouble.
Customers at gun shows are required to prove that they live in-state and must fill out several pages of background information. The dealers then check that information by phone with state and federal officials.
Under Clinton’s proposal, a licensed gun dealer would have to be involved in every sale of firearms at a gun show. Unlicensed sellers would have to arrange for buyers to go to a licensed dealer to request a background check, through a customer system operated by the FBI.
Actually, a bill to accomplish what Clinton proposed last month already had been introduced in Congress in the month before that. This is H. R. 109, by Rep. Rod Blagojevich of Illinois and over two dozen cosponsors. POINT BLANK carried an item on it on page five of our previous issue.
Said to be concerned for his personal safety, White House drug policy adviser Barry R. McCaffrey has been “deputized” by the U.S. Marshals Service so that he can legally carry a concealed weapon. Jim McDonough, director of strategy for the Office of National Drug Control Policy, said the carrying of the concealed weapon is “for self-defense; there is the need to be secure.”
Another notable who apparently realizes “the need to be secure” is Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura, who has an armed escort and now has a license to carry a concealed weapon, according to Ventura spokesman John Wodele. Asked if the Governor would be carrying the gun at the state Capitol, Wodele quoted Ventura as saying: “That’s my business.”
What about the rest of us?
Don’t we all have a “need to be secure?”
Sounds to us like a good argument for national concealed carry legislation.
The U. S. Chamber of Congress got together during the last week of January with representatives of the firearms industry to plan a unified offense against the growing number of lawsuits filed by cities against gun companies.
“Our message will be simple,” said Larry Kraus, President of the U. S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform. “First tobacco, then guns, and whoever you are out there, you are next.
“What is happening to gun makers is just a continuation of what happened to the tobacco industry. We are very concerned by this trend of governments collaborating with plaintiffs’ trial lawyers to go after legal industries.”
A gun group that would have brought 30,000 people to New Orleans, Louisiana has decided to hold its convention elsewhere next year because of the city’s lawsuit against the nation’s gun makers, reported The Associated Press.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation began notifying hotels January 21 that SHOT, its Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Tradeshow, will not come to New Orleans in January 2000.
Foundation officials declined to elaborate on the decision, but city tourism officials said the group warned them lastNovember that it might pull out because many of its members include gun companies New Orleans is suing.
In October, New Orleans sued 15 leading gun makers, alleging they knew “the unreasonable dangers of their guns” and failed to provide safety devices, warnings and other measures which would prevent and decrease these dangers.
In Georgia, Gov. Roy Barnes signed into law a bill blocking Atlanta’s lawsuit against gun manufacturers. He signed the measure February 9, within hours after the State Senate had voted 44-11 to approve the legislation that would prohibit local governments from suing gun makers. The State House already had approved a similar measure by a 142-24 vote in January.
Opponents of the bill called it unconstitutional. “We do not believe it is legal for the Georgia General Assembly to prohibit cities from filing lawsuits designed to protect the public’s interests,” said Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell. “We still believe the Senate and the House have sent the wrong message to the public.”