Association News: May 1998

By The Small Arms Review Editorial Staff

The Grassroots Division of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action offers programs especially designed for legislative and political action. The following excerpts are from the NRA GRASSFIRE! Newsletter, April, 1998. For more information call 1-800-392-8683


In Rocklin, California, Mr. William Doss presented his SKS Sporter rifle to local law enforcement for confiscation — a firearm previously expressly deemed acceptable by California Attorney General Dan Lungren(R). In the Spring of 1995, Mr. Doss, a Florida resident, contacted California Department of Justice (DOJ) inquiring whether his particular rifle would be legal in California. In a letter dated on April 5, 1995 California Department of Justice wrote to Mr. Doss and informed him that indeed his rifle was legal in California. Mr. Doss moved to California and received a letter dated November 24, 1997 from the DOJ informing him that his rifle was now illegal and would have to be surrendered for confiscation. During a press conference, Tanya Metaksa, Executive Director of the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) stated, “The anti-gun agenda is on display in California and it is a profoundly radical agenda. We are no longer debating gun control. We are defending NRA members against gun confiscation.”


1998 is going to be a critical election year for gun owners, and we have to ensure that all of our voices are heard loud and clear on Election Day ’98. Our vote is our voice, and if we don’t use it, we stand to lose our gun rights. NRA-ILA has free voter registration materials we will make available to you so you may assist in your community with the ever-important task of registering our supporters. Primary elections are already underway in many states, so now is the time to act. To obtain your free ‘NRA-ILA Voter Registration Kit’, that will include items of specific interest for your state, call the Grassroots Division at 1-800-392-8683. Remember, if you are not registered to vote, you may find yourself registering your firearms.


127th National Rifle Association Meetings and Exhibits will be held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia from June 5th through June 7th. In conjunction with this annual meeting the NRA-ILA will be holding a Grassroots/Clubs and Associations Workshop. The focus of the meeting will be on how to prepare over the summer to ensure we elect pro-Second Amendment lawmakers to office this fall. The meeting is free and open to all NRA members who attend the Annual Meeting. To reserve your seat call the Grassroots Division at 1-800-392-8683.

Instant Check Is a Bad Check
by Larry Pratt Executive Director, Gun Owners of America

I recently had the opportunity to debate the Majority Whip of the Alabama House of Representatives, Rep. Jack Page.

If you have never heard of him, please do not ignore what some state version of U.S. Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) has to say just because he may not be from your state.

First of all, Rep. Page is no Diane Feinstein. He was sponsoring an NRA-backed gun control bill. Secondly, the legislation is being promoted all around the country.

You see, Rep. Page was sponsoring an Alabama version of the Brady Law. Now admittedly the bill would do away with the state’s waiting period. But that relief is more than overcome by the Brady instant registration check that would be imposed if the bill were to become law.

Gun registration and the instant check

Rep. Page’s Alabama Brady Bill requires the state to share with other federal and state law enforcement agencies “any information in the files of the [Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center] which will aid these agencies in crime fighting.” The prohibitions in federal law that keep bureaucrats from storing that information are not that effective as we have seen in Ohio, Georgia, Texas and other states. This is so, according to the Government, because they are not keeping a list of names and address from the federal forms that gun buyers fill out and which federal law prohibits being used to compile a registration list.

One of the arguments in favor of passage of the state version of the Brady Law is that it is preferable to have Alabama bureaucrats check us out than to have the Federal Government do it. The thinking seems to be that if I am oppressed by somebody with the same accent, it is less oppressive than federal oppression.

But, as we have seen, the information gets to Washington anyway, and having a state Brady Law is no fire wall keeping the feds from getting the information. Lists of gun buyers names will be sent to Washington for “crime fighting”. Moreover, any check that is done that does not result in a denial of purchase at the state level will then be done in Washington to give them a chance to deny the gun purchase. In other words, 99 percent of the background checks will end up being made at both the state and the federal level.

Moreover, through such computer programs as FIST, the U.S. Justice Department has given software to local law enforcement allowing them to build a data base of gun purchasers. The feds get monthly reports from local law enforcement agencies on the disposition of Brady checks. While the local computer is connected to Washington, the federal computer can “lookback” (computerese for looking into the local’s computer) and copy the entire data base — all the names and address and firearms of gun purchasers. The City of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University were caught setting up just such a program and stopped in court. But FIST is alive and well and quite capable of supplying the feds with a national registration list.

California’s current travail illustrates the way governments use gun registration to violate the Constitution and break faith with the people. Ugly guns that were registered in the past are now being confiscated because Attorney General Dan Lungren decided to reclassify them as illegal guns that had been “permitted” to be legal.

Smile, big brother is watching you.

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V1N8 (May 1998)
and was posted online on June 16, 2017


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