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“Guns, Guns, Guns” has been the theme of this year’s annual meeting
of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington, D.C. Wednesday, as the
mayors were convening, two more local government entities, Bridgeport,
Connecticut, and Miami-Dade county, Florida, were able to get their 15
minutes of media fame by joining the growing list of municipal
governments
laying siege to the U.S. firearms industry. And the closing attraction
is
today’s appearance of President Clinton and his probable use of the
platform to endorse a multi-pronged attack against firearms commerce and

gun owners.

The leader of the group’s gun violence task force is none other
than Mayor Edward Rendell of Philadelphia. He has led the bandwagon
against gun ownership since early 1998. As the NRA held its annual
meeting
in Philadelphia last June he used the threat of a lawsuit to get a gun
industry group to meet with him. It took the industry several months to
understand that his intentions were less than honorable. So as Mayor
Rendell welcomes President Clinton, everyone must understand that both
men are once again using gun litigation or gun legislation as a
political
tool. Rendell, who leaves office at the end of the year, wants to become

the next governor of Pennsylvania, and Clinton is reverting to his habit
of
always using the gun issue to distract attention from his political
troubles on Capitol Hill.

Among great hoopla and cheering, the President will announce his
support for the U.S. Conference of Mayors legislation that will most
assuredly be introduced in the U.S. Senate by Democratic Sens. Boxer,
Durbin, Feinstein, Kennedy, Lautenberg, Schumer, Torricelli and possibly

Republican Chaffee. This bill will include elements of, if not the
entire
H.R. 109, a bill to regulate the transfer of firearms at gun shows, the
one-handgun-a-month purchase restriction that has been just initiated in
Los
Angeles, regulator power over firearms for the Consumer Product Safety
Commission, and federal funds for mandating personalized firearms.

Such legislation will be heralded as the panacea to keep firearms
out of the hands of criminals and innocent children. But in reality it
is
legislation that continues the pattern of making firearms ownership more

and more onerous. For with each passing proposal, the threat of making
law-abiding firearm owners less able to purchase, transfer and own the
firearm of their choice comes closer to fruition.

H.R. 109, a bill introduced by Congressman Blagojevich and 27
other anti-gun representatives defines a “gun show” as a gathering at
which 50 or more firearms are present and at which a firearm is offered
for sale. I
know many people whose home would qualify as a “gun show.” In fact, when
a firearm is sold or transferred at a “gun show,” the gun show licensee
must inform the government of not only who bought the firearm but the
make, model and serial number. This effectively nullifies the federal
prohibition against the government keeping records of gun owners. It is
always ironic to see that the penalty for violating this gun bill is
greater than the sentences given out for assault with a deadly weapon.
After all criminals won’t obey the law; its real intent is to reduce the

legal sale and transfer of firearms.

The gun prohibitionists look upon one gun a month laws as another
efficient method of reducing gun purchases. But more than that it
requires
keeping a list of gun purchases by purchasee and date. After all, how
can
the government charge you with breaking this law unless it knows just
when
you purchased your last gun. In fact, in Virginia you better not try and

buy a gun on March 1 if you bought one on Feb. 1. According to
Virginia law, a month is defined as 30 days between purchases no matter
what the calendar says.

Over 20 years ago there was a push to put firearms under the
scrutiny and regulation of the CPSC. It was the NRA who, with great
foresight, ensured the passage of legislation that prohibited the CPSC
from
regulating firearms. I can just see it now, as the gun owner brings his
shotgun to the ready position it will start to beep to warn others of
possible danger.

But don’t think for a minute that the U.S. Conference of Mayors is
turning away from lawsuits to pursue the legislative solution. Rendell,
the consummate politician said, “we need to fight this battle on
different
fronts. We can’t put all our eggs in the lawsuit basket.” Yet, next
Tuesday Supervisor Gloria Molina has a motion before the Los Angeles
County Board of Supervisors that asks the county to “evaluate the merits
of
pursuing litigation similar to those lawsuits filed in New Orleans and
Chicago.”

So expect to see more cities file lawsuits, more negotiating with
industry, and new laws introduced at every level of government. Gun
owners, the gun industry and freedom are in for a long hard fight.

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