• Text smaller
  • Text bigger

It’s the end of another twelve months and it’s time to review and
reflect upon the past year. A few wise and many unwise people even try
and make predictions about the fast approaching New Year, but since this
year we are not only ending a century, but also a millennium, the
reviewers and prognosticators are going all out — doing it in 1,000
year bites. I will be more modest and review the Second Amendment state
of the nation at the end of 1999 and peer into a very cloudy crystal
ball in next week’s column.

Legislatively with the exception of California the year is ending on
a good note. Governor Tom Ridge just signed a Pennsylvania bill that
prevents his state’s municipalities from suing the firearms
manufacturers, making it the 14th state to do so this year. Georgia and
Louisiana, two states in which major cities have filed suit, passed the
legislation early in 1999. Make no mistake, however, there are still
thousands of cities left that are not prohibited from joining the
lawsuits already started by Chicago, New Orleans, Bridgeport and others.

On the federal front the U.S. Congress adjourned the first session of
the 106th Congress without passing any restrictive gun legislation, a
Second Amendment plus by any standard. In fact, they appropriated the
necessary dollars to fund the FBI’s Federal Instant Background Check,
thus ensuring that there will not be a gun purchase tax during the
fiscal year that started this past October. In addition, according to
the NRA, Project Exile, a program that was started in Virginia to ensure
that felons who are caught with firearms are prosecuted and incarcerated
will receive $7.5 million to extend it nationwide.

In Halifax, North Carolina Hobgood Academy, a private school, became
the topic of media concern when they instituted a fund-raising raffle to
benefit the Future Farmers of America that offered firearms as prizes.
The anti-gun groups and the media had hoped that the national attention
would cause the school to reconsider their raffle prizes. Their strategy
backfired. The academy sold about ten times as many tickets as they had
hoped and people from across the nation bought tickets totaling $20,000
to show their support. The success of the raffle will allow the academy
to not only pay for a new building for the FFA class, but also buy tools
and other equipment, with some left over that will be donated to
hurricane relief efforts for eastern North Carolina.

On the judicial level there have been several successes. In the
battle against municipalities suing firearms manufacturers the news in
the last quarter of 1999 has been positive for the Second Amendment. As
I covered in “A Pro-gun House or
Senate?”

on Oct. 7 Cincinnati, Ohio, Judge Robert P. Ruehlman dismissed the
city’s lawsuit against Sturm Ruger Co., Beretta Corp. USA, and Colt’s
Manufacturing Co. with prejudice saying “there is no theory of
collective liability under Ohio law.” The “with prejudice” decision
denies the city of
Cincinnati the ability to amend and refile the suit.

Then this month the municipal governments of Bridgeport, Conn., and
Miami-Dade County, Fla., found themselves on the wrong side of the law.
The judges in both cases ruled that the municipal governments had no
legal basis in which to sue the firearms’ manufacturers on behalf of
either the municipality or the victims of violence. However the
plaintiffs are holding out for the one suit they may win in order to
force the industry into divulging internal documents — the same tactic
that worked in the tobacco industry. According to the Wall Street
Journal, ” ‘We always knew this was going to be a long, hard struggle,
and we are in it for the long haul,’ said Jonathan Lowy, an attorney
with the legal arm of Handgun Control Inc., the Washington group that is
coordinating much of the gun litigation.”

Although 1999 was an off year politically, Second Amendment
supporters did well at the polls. Leading off the election cycle was the
outstanding re-election victory of Louisiana Governor Mike Foster by an
overwhelming majority. Governor Foster four years ago came from single
digits in a field of ten to win the Louisiana primary, and then the
general election. At that time Governor Foster credited the support and
hard work of the Louisiana sportsmen in propelling his come from behind
victory.

A special election in California’s 44th congressional district proved
that when gun owners saw a clear and present danger they voted in a
block. After the death of former Congressman George Brown several
Democrat politicians declared their candidacy; among them were Brown’s
widow, Marta Macias Brown, and State Senator Joe Baca. Marta Brown, her
consultants, and the California Democratic Party thought gun control was
a winner to add her name to the two other California widows who kept
their husband’s congressional seats. Although widow Brown outspent Baca
by a factor of more than two-to-one and deluged the voters with more
than a dozen anti-gun campaign mailings, she lost in the Sept. 21
primary. In November Baca easily beat Republican Elia Perozzi in an
election
where
gun control was no longer the issue.

In November the voters of the states of Virginia, Kentucky and New Jersey
went to the polls to vote for their legislatures. In those races where
the pro-gun legislators were attacked savagely by the anti-gun groups,
approximately 90 percent of the pro-gun legislators won re-election. In
Northern Virginia, the Democrats pounded many Republican incumbents on
their pro-gun votes. The tactic backfired, as most of the Republicans
were re-elected and the Virginia Republican party took control of both
houses of the legislature for the first time since Reconstruction.

Across the river from Virginia in the corrupt nation’s capitol, every
news organization covered the much ballyhooed gun turn-in program. It
made every local and even some national TV and radio news programs in
August. The Washington Post featured it’s successes in a glowing
report:
“Residents — some bearing bundles of guns in grocery bags and stories
of relatives who had died from gun violence — received $100 in cash for
each eligible, operable gun, no questions asked. The police also granted
immunity from prosecution for handgun possession.”

Now several months later the truth comes out. None of the guns turned
in had been used in a crime — of course, no self-respecting criminal
would dare to turn in a hot gun, and the guns were mostly junk with an
average value of $30.

1999 had many positive moments for the Second Amendment and gun
owners. With the exception of California the state legislatures were not
hostile and the Congress failed to pass anti-gun legislation. Yet, the
storm clouds not only loom on the horizon, they are coalescing overhead.
In next week’s column we will look at the looming storm and try to
predict some year 2000 events.

As we celebrate the last Christmas of the ’90s I want to wish all the
WorldNetDaily readers a joyous time of rejoicing. For those of you who
read my commentaries — especially those that send me e-mail, it is my
great pleasure to communicate with you and share a moment of your life.
Your comments give me insight and are always a welcome addition to my
life. As Tiny Tim said, “God bless you, everyone.”

  • Text smaller
  • Text bigger
Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.