GOA Members Win Key Battles in 2008
— While gun rights advanced this year, the prospects for next year
look very tough
Gun Owners of America E-Mail Alert
8001 Forbes Place, Suite 102, Springfield, VA 22151
Phone: 703-321-8585 / FAX: 703-321-8408
“The best Second Amendment defense organization in the country is Gun
Owners of America.” — Joseph Farrah, founder and CEO of
WorldNetDaily.com, September 2008
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
That’s what the next four years are going to bring. More government
regulations… more government spending… and more battles over gun
Once Barack Obama takes his oath of office in January, he will
become, without a doubt, the most anti-gun President this nation has
How are gun owners responding to the oncoming Obama presidency? By
the tens of thousands, they are pouring into gun stores all across
the country and stocking up on guns and ammo, fearing the worst.
Many buyers include first-time gun owners.
And while that is not a bad idea, it’s a short term solution to a
long-term problem that does nothing to defend our Second Amendment
rights from being eliminated by a Congress controlled by people like
Ted Kennedy, Chuck Schumer, Carolyn McCarthy and other notorious gun
That’s why we need you to stand with Gun Owners of America next year.
If you have never become a GOA member — or you’ve let your
membership lapse — we need you on board so that we have the
ammunition necessary to fight every gun control bill that comes our
It takes less than five minutes to go to
http://www.gunowners.org/ordergoamem.htm and sign up. By doing so,
you will be joining — in the words of WorldNetDaily’s founder — the
“best Second Amendment defense organization in the country.”
We need you now more than ever, as we are surely in for the fight of
Even so, despite all the hurdles that we see ahead, one should not
forget that 2008 was a real improvement for gun rights in many
respects. Gun Owners of America experienced victories in the
courts… in the Congress… over federal bureaucracies… and in the
The following victories are just a few of the accomplishments that
GOA was able to achieve this year with YOUR HELP. So let’s take a
look at our work together, month by month.
January – February
- As the new year dawns, President Bush signs the Veterans
Disarmament Act (a.k.a. the NICS Improvement Amendments Act). This
legislation codifies illegitimate procedures that, over the past
decade, had already resulted in almost 150,000 veterans being denied
the right to buy guns because battle-related stress has supposedly
rendered them unable to manage their own financial affairs.
GOA was able to win some significant concession in the bill, even as
we were trying to kill it outright. Unfortunately, the bill passed
both houses of Congress last year without a vote. Republican Senator
Jim DeMint of South Carolina later complained that the Democrat
controlled Senate had passed 94 percent of its bills this year
without a recorded vote.
- An Associate Director in the U.S. Interior Department defends the
National Park Service ban claiming that “parks are safe places” and
that right to carry laws “do not reduce crime” or protect people
against dangerous wildlife. GOA responds by generating thousands
upon thousands of postcards into the Oval Office, asking President
Bush to put the squeeze on Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne to get
the NPS ban reversed — a reversal that will come about in May.
- The U.S. Solicitor General files a brief with the U.S. Supreme
Court in the D.C. v. Heller case arguing that categorical gun bans of
virtually all self-defense firearms are constitutional if a court
determines they are “reasonable” — the lowest standard of
constitutional review. This view could justify a national ban on all
firearms, including a ban on all hunting rifles.
GOA works with Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA) and helps him to quickly get
57 additional congressmen to oppose the Solicitor General’s opinion.
- Because of generous contributions from its members, GOA is able to
submit a very unique amicus brief before the U.S. Supreme Court in
defense of Dick Anthony Heller, who was denied the right to own a gun
in the nation�s capital as a result of the draconian gun ban which
In this hard-hitting brief, GOA takes aim at the weak arguments put
forth by both the DC government and the Bush Administration. But
more than that, GOA examines the favorable text and context of the
Second Amendment in great detail, while also documenting the pro-gun
history that formed the backdrop of its inclusion into the Bill of
March – May
In the states, GOA helped Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming to pass
- After looking at all the briefs which have been submitted in the
Heller case, the editors at USA Today decide to use GOA for the
opposing voice on March 19. The paper’s editors tell our attorneys
that GOA had an argument that was clearly distinctive, as we were the
only ones to argue that the words “shall not be infringed”
invalidated all federal gun control laws.
Emergency Protection bills throughout the country. These bills
repeal laws that allow police to confiscate firearms during a
declared emergency, such as what occurred in New Orleans after
Hurricane Katrina decimated the city in 2005.
The sponsor of the Utah legislation, Senator Mark Madsen (R), thanked
GOA in March for the help we offered in helping pass the legislation
in his state.
“GOA supplied me with video that documented the plight of decent gun
owners in New Orleans who had their guns stolen by police after
Hurricane Katrina,” Madsen said. “The DVD was very helpful in
educating other members of the Utah legislature, and my bill to
protect Utah gun owners from gun confiscation, SB 157, passed by
Sen. Madsen’s new law is one of the best in the country. If someone
were to have his gun illegitimately confiscated, that person could
not only sue for damages, but could hold the offending officer and
his superior personally liable.
The Bush administration, after more than seven years, has finally
- GOA’s attorneys uncover a proposal in April to keep gun owners from
shipping replica or inert munitions through the mail. GOA
immediately submitted a blistering critique to the U.S. Post Office
and contacted thousands of grassroots activists so they could submit
their own comments as well. To date, the agency has backed off of
its original gun control proposal.
issued regulations permitting the carrying of firearms in national
parks! Beginning in 2009, gun owners will be able to carry firearms
according to the laws of the state in which the park is located.
GOA learns about Pastor Phillip Miles of South Carolina, who was
sentenced to three years in a Russian prison for carrying a single
box of hunting ammo in his luggage, intended as a gift. GOA urges
President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice to intervene on
Miles’ behalf, as the sentence definitely did not fit the “crime.”
Russian authorities succumb to the outcry shortly thereafter… Miles
is released in June and returns to the United States.
June – August
- The Supreme Court strikes down the DC gun ban! While not perfect,
the Court’s decision recognizes that the Second Amendment protects an
“individual right” and states that the decades-old ban in the
nation’s capital is unconstitutional.
GOA’s brief had countered both the DC government and the Bush
Administration — as the latter had asked the Court to use the DC
case as a justification for all sorts of gun control. GOA is pleased
that the Justices heeded our admonition to limit the Court’s holding
to the case before it, thus shooting down both the DC government and
the Bush Administration in their quest to validate other firearms
- GOA Executive Director Larry Pratt escorts David Olofson to a
federal prison in Minnesota. Olofson was convicted in federal court
of transferring a malfunctioning semi-automatic firearm which the ATF
claimed was machine gun — a determination that should concern every
gun owner who owns a semi-auto.
Gun Owners of America becomes the lead gun organization fighting
against the ATF’s persecution of Olofson. In taking on this case,
GOA is also defending the rights of gun owners who could be
prosecuted for owning a malfunctioning firearm. For the ATF, a gun
that misfires is an excellent opportunity to rack up an easy
conviction on an illegal machine gun charge.
In Olofson’s defense, GOA submits an appeal challenging his
conviction at the district court level, and sets up a relief fund to
help pay for his family’s mortgage and car payments.
September – November
GOA’s Larry Pratt travels to the Big Easy to award a brand new
- David Olofson’s wife, Candy, thanks GOA and its members for helping
their family. Candy tells GOA Executive Director Larry Pratt that
because of the financial help that GOA members have given, she has
not had to get a second job, so she is able to spend time being a
handgun to Patricia Konie — the New Orleans resident who was tackled
and disarmed by police in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Konie was
forced to evacuate her home in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005,
and until recently, had remained disarmed. To this day, she has
never gotten back her stolen gun.
GOA tells its email activists how the ATF was trying to prevent the
distribution of an electronic 4473 Form. This software has been
developed by a private firm, Coloseum Software Corporation, and is
intended to protect dealers against the “mistakes” that have allowed
the ATF to prosecute or harass them into giving up their licenses.
GOA issued a grassroots alert in mid-October explaining how the ATF
had been dragging its collective feet for months — keeping Coloseum
from distributing its software, even while the ATF was developing its
own competing software (and possibly, violating the copyright which
belonged to Coloseum).
After GOA asked gun owners to contact the Bush Administration, the
owner of Coloseum contacted us shortly thereafter to tell us that our
alert had been a tremendous success: “After the GOA alert put the
spotlight on criminal activity by the BATFE, they quickly provided us
[Coloseum Software Corp] with the required documentation for the new
Form 4473 which we had been asking for months.”
Sign up with GOA… the battle lines are now drawn!
GOA is on the front lines, fighting to defend your rights. Even if
you have already renewed your membership in GOA, we hope you will
consider making an additional contribution.
With your extra support in 2009, we will fight off every new attack
on our gun rights. And we will remind the Democratic Congress what
happened to their majority the last time they followed an anti-gun
President down this path.
This next year is going to be our most difficult year in a long, long
time. Already, President-elect Obama is surrounding himself with
And based on his pick for Chief of Staff, you can be sure that the
- His pick for Attorney General went to a committed gun grabber in
Eric Holder. Holder signed on to an amicus brief in the Heller case
which SUPPORTED the DC ban on handguns and the ban on using any
firearm for self-defense in a person�s home. Holder’s brief also
argued that the Second Amendment protects a “collective” right, not
an individual right (as the Supreme Court eventually ruled).
Obama administration will use any “crisis” it can to push its gun
control agenda. Obama’s Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, told the Wall
Street Journal recently that, “You never want a serious crisis to go
to waste…. [A] crisis provides the opportunity for us to do things
that you could not do before.”
Get it? Every time a crackpot goes on a shooting spree, the Obama
administration is going to use that “crisis” to come after your guns!
So please make the decision to stay with us in the upcoming year, as
it will be critical for America’s gun rights. Whether you can help
us out with your gift of $35 or $3500, your contribution will be put
immediately into the fight to preserve and restore all of our gun
Please go to http://www.gunowners.org/ordergoamem.htm and stay with
us in 2009!
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