SEPTEMBER 1998

Tuesday, September 1st, 1998

Sen. Patty Murray of Washington State, with over 50 cosponsors, introduced S. Res. 264, to provide that the Senate designate October 8, 1998 as the Day of National Concern About Young People and Gun Violence, and authorize and request the President to issue a proclamation calling upon the school children of the United States to observe the day “with appropriate ceremonies and activities.” It was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Rep. Peter A. DeFazio of Oregon introduced H.R. 4441, to require firearms to be manufactured with child safety locks, H.R. 4442, to “better regulate” the transfer of firearms at gun shows, H.R. 4443, to provide for the automatic revocation of the license of any licensed firearms dealer who willfully sells a firearm to a minor, and H.R. 4444, “to prevent children from injuring themselves and others with firearms.” Reps. Earl Blumenauer, Elizabeth Furse, Darlene Hooley, all of Oregon, are original cosponsors. The four measures were referred to the House Judiciary Committee.

In Kentucky, it became legal as of July for Kentucky ministers and church officials to carry handguns inside houses of worship as long as they have a permit to carry concealed.
The change came through an amendment passed this year by the Kentucky General Assembly.
A law enacted in 1996 authorized state residents with CCW permits to carry concealed weapons but specifically banned weapons from a number of places, including schools, government buildings and houses of worship. There were some exceptions, such as judges in their courtrooms and legislators at work.
The Rev. Willie Ramsey of the Somerset Church of Christ campaigned to extend the exception to men and women of the cloth and to other church officers.
“It’s a matter of equal rights and equal protection under this gun law,” said Rev. Ramsey, who would not say whether he would carry a concealed firearm in church.
He says that churches are robbery targets because of the offerings they collect. Though his church has never been robbed, reports the Associated Press, he is worried by the two dozen burglaries, thefts and vandalism incidents at area churches in the past two years.

By a vote of 54 to 44, the U. S. Senate rejected an attempt by Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California to ban importation of ammunition feeding devices with a capacity of over 10 rounds made prior to enactment of the 1994 ban on certain semiautomatic firearms. Feinstein’s attempt came during Senate consideration in July of a government appropriations measure.
In response to a question appearing in THE WASHINGTON TIMES’ “Sgt. Shaft” column, John Fales wrote last month that “you and many other active military types must now carry a barrister’s beeper number instead of a weapon to protect your careers. Your concerns are well-founded as even now Department of Defense legal beagles are floundering around attempting to implement the Lautenberg amendment to the Gun Control Act of 1968.
“The amendment, which became law on September 30, 1996, makes it a felony for any person who has been convicted of a misdemeanor or crime of domestic violence to ship, transport, possess or receive firearms or ammunition. Until September 30, 1996, military personnel were exempted from the provisions of the law. Inclusion of military personnel has made the services implement policies consistent with the Lautenberg amendment.
“The Army released a message in January 1998 that directed commanders to notify all soldiers that it is unlawful to possess firearms and ammunition if they have been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.
Commanders are required to have personnel records reviewed against the Lautenberg amendment criteria and report personnel data on those identified through command channels to the Department of the Army.
“Commanders were further directed to detail soldiers whom they believe have a conviction for a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence to duties that do not require the bearing of weapons or ammunition. Further adverse administrative action and bars to reenlistment may be imposed for an act of domestic violence that resulted in a conviction after September 30, 1996. Commanders must also take action to secure personal firearms and ammo of soldiers under this law.
“Personnel who have a civil misdemeanor conviction for domestic violence that was never reported to military authorities may now be asked to provide that information. Those who decline to report such adverse information may later be subject to administrative action for falsifying documentation or misrepresentation. It would be most appropriate for personnel who have never reported such incidents to get legal advice.
“The old sarge, like the Defense Department, finds the bill misguided with regard to military personnel. From 1969 to 1996 Congress was wise to adhere to the Pentagon’s request to exempt military personnel from the legislation.
Now that the military services are required to reassign these personnel from positions requiring the use of arms and munitions, there may be an adverse impact on the country’s combat readiness.”

Reps. Rod R. Blagojevich of Illinois and Patrick J. Kennedy of Rhode Island introduced H.R. 4114, to prohibit Internet and mail-order sales of ammunition without a license to deal in firearms, and require licensed firearms dealers to record all sales of 1,000 rounds of ammunition to a single person. It was referred to the House Judiciary Committee.