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NRA-ILA Grassroots Alert Vol. 13, No. 38 09/22/06
PRO-GUN BILLS MAKE WAY TO HOUSE FLOOR!
The House of Representatives may act as early as next week on critical pro-Second Amendment reform bills. These bills need your support today:
H.R. 5092–the “Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE) Modernization and Reform Act of 2006,” by Reps. Howard Coble (R-N.C.) and Bobby Scott (D-Va.) — will curb the agency’s efforts to revoke dealers’ licenses for minor paperwork errors, improve the appeals process for dealers, and, establish new guidelines for BATFE investigations. This bill was drafted in large part to address recent, blatant BATFE abuses at Richmond, Virginia gun shows highlighted in hearings before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security. (See next story on Brady Center’s blatant misrepresentation of this bill.)
H.R. 5005–the “Firearms Corrections and Improvements Act,” by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) — will protect gun owners’ privacy by creating a permanent version of the “Tiahrt Amendment,” preventing disclosure of gun owner records outside of legitimate criminal investigations. The bill also includes a ban on BATFE retrieving out-of-business dealers’ records by the gun owner’s name-making permanent an appropriations restriction that’s been in effect for the last 10 years. Among other reforms, H.R. 5005 will also permanently ban federal fees on instant background checks and roll back various restrictions on firearms industry activities.
With the legislative clock running out, this may be our last chance to pass these essential reforms before the November election–so please be sure to immediately contact your U.S. Representative at (202) 225-3121, and urge him or her to VOTE FOR H.R. 5092 and H.R. 5005 when they are brought to the House floor! Additional contact information can be found by visiting www.NRAILA.org, clicking the “Take Action” icon, and then clicking the “Write Your Representatives” icon.
Please be sure to contact your Representative TODAY, and urge your family, friends, and fellow firearm owners to do the same!
Thank you for your continued support as we work to make these legislative reforms the law of the land!
The Brady Center’s latest hatchet job attacks makes many false claims about firearm dealer license revocations, in order to attack H.R. 5092 and the reforms that bill would make.
The “study” is based on published court decisions that have upheld BATFE license revocations. This is misleading because it excludes all cases (about 90% of revocations) where dealers choose not to file a challenge in court-often because the dealer couldn’t afford the necessary attorneys’ fees.
The study also implies that dealers violate the law more often than they used to. To “prove” this, the Brady Center relies on studies from the Clinton administration, which targeted licensees in an effort to reduce the availability of firearms to law-abiding Americans. It’s not surprising that when BATFE politically broadened the definition of “violations,” it found more of them.
The report also harps on dealers who had guns “lost” or “unaccounted for.” These vague phrases don’t tell us whether the dealer had a gun stolen, made a paperwork mistake, or made criminal “off the book” sales. Obviously, under current law or under H.R. 5092, intentional sales without paperwork would be serious violations, for which a dealer could have his license revoked (and even be arrested and imprisoned).
Data released by the FBI on Monday showed that in 2005, the nation’s total violent crime rate was 38% lower than in 1991, when violent crime hit an all-time high. Rates of the individual categories of violent crime were also much lower in 2005 than in 1991. Murder was 43% lower, rape 25% lower, robbery 48% lower, and aggravated assault 33% lower. The FBI’s report came on the heels of a Bureau of Justice Statistics crime survey that found that violent crime was lower in 2005 than anytime in the survey’s 32-year history.
Defying the anti-gunners’ claim that more guns means more crime, from 1991-2005 the number of privately owned guns increased by more than 70 million.
The news media often characterize violent crime as a primarily gun-oriented problem, but the FBI’s report showed that only one in every four violent crimes in 2005 was committed with a gun. In 2005, as in previous years, most violent crimes were robberies and aggravated assaults, most of which were committed with knives or bare hands.
Recently, anti-gun politicians and activists have intensified their rhetoric over the “lack” of bans on handguns, so-called “assault weapons”, and .50-caliber rifles; gun registration, gun owner licensing, and mandatory background checks on sales of guns between friends and family members; and limits on the frequency of gun purchases, all of which they say are necessary to reduce the nation’s murder rate. But for the last seven years, the murder rate has been steady¾in the 5.5-5.7 per 100,000 population range¾at all times lower than anytime since the mid-1960s. In 2005, for example, the murder rate was 5.6.
Naturally, anti-gunners will downplay the downward trend in violent crime since 1991, and focus on the fact that the FBI’s report showed a 1% increase in total violent crime, and a 2% increase in murder in 2005, compared to 2004. But those changes are miniscule, compared to the huge decrease in crime over the last 14 years.
The FBI’s report once again confirmed that violent crime rates are lower in states with Right-to-Carry (RTC) laws. In 2005, RTC states had, on average, 22% lower total violent crime, 30% less murder, 46% lower robbery, and 12% lower aggravated assault rates, compared to the rest of the country.
As usual, Washington, D.C., which leads the nation in anti-gun laws, led the nation in murder, with a rate six times higher than the rest of the country. Neighboring Maryland, where gun control advocates have been particularly active recently, once again had the highest robbery rate among the states, but also tied for the unenviable distinction of “first place” in murder among the states. However, despite Maryland’s high crime counts, CeaseFire Maryland, the local Brady Campaign affiliate that recently released a paper demanding an “assault weapon” ban, was unable to point to any crimes in the state involving such a gun.
The FBI’s report must have displeased New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg (R). Despite the mayor’s recent posturing on the gun issue, and his self-laudatory comments about fighting crime, the Big Apple’s murder rate was more than double that of the rest of the state. Similarly, in Philadelphia, where anti-gun politicians are calling for a statewide one-gun-a-month law, the murder rate was more than seven times higher than the rest of Pennsylvania.
Adding to the reasons why voters should “Dump Doyle” in Wisconsin’s upcoming gubernatorial election, their state had the greatest total violent crime rate increase (15.1%) between 2004-2005. Murder was up 25.2%; robbery up 11.2%; and aggravated assault up 20.2%. Wisconsin is one of only two states that prohibits Right-to-Carry entirely, but in 2005, 11 of the 12 states that had the greatest decreases in total violent crime, and 12 of the 14 states with the greatest decreases in murder were Right-to-Carry states. The seven states with the lowest total violent crime rates in 2005, and 11 of the 12 states that had the lowest murder rates, were Right-to-Carry states.
Last, but not least, is good news from Florida, the state that during the last 20 years has been most often attacked by anti-gunners, for (among other reasons) setting the Right-to-Carry and “Castle Doctrine” movements in motion. In 2005, Florida recorded a murder rate 13% lower than the rate for the rest of the country (4.96 per 100,000, vs. 5.67 for the rest of the country). For the record, Florida’s 2005 murder rate was 58% lower than it was in 1986, the last year before the state’s landmark Right-to-Carry law took effect.