Friday, July 29, 2005
Important Firearms Bill Set for Vote Today
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has lived up to his word, delivering S. 397 to the Senate floor in the effort to force a vote on it prior to the August recess. S. 397 is also known as "The Protection Of Lawful Commerce In Arms Act," and basically it protects gun and ammunition manufacturers from frivolous lawsuits brought by municipalities in an attempt to bankrupt the firearms industry. Although the municipalities would love to win in court (because one win would establish a precedent that would bring the knock-out punch for firearms manufacturers), they realize that they don't have to convince one jury in order to bring about the slow death of the gun manufacturers through litigation costs. It's the death-from-a-thousand-cuts approach. The Democrats started their efforts on Thursday to gut the bill by attaching poison pill amendments, as they successfully did last summer. The NRA anticipates amendments today banning .50 caliber rifles, certain types of ammunition, gun shows, and semi-automatics. S. 397 was successfully amended Thursday to require federally licensed dealers to provide a "secure gun storage or safety device" (which means a trigger lock, cable lock, or lock box in most cases) with all handgun purchases (but not long guns, of course). The NRA isn't too concerned with that amendment, as most new handguns come with some sort of safety device. I just wish that one of the Republican Senators would have offered an amendment that would make former Governor Paris Glendening come to every new gun purchaser's home and put the trigger lock on his/her gun for them. (If you don't know what I am writing about in regards to the illustrious Glendening, read the story here.)
SayUncle has more on some interesting media coverage of S. 397. As you can expect with mainstream media, the coverage is a bit biased.
Tennessee politicians have strongly supported this bill and H.R. 800, its counterpart in the House. In fact, every Tennessee Senator and Representative has signed on as a co-sponsor of this legislation - EVERY MEMBER OF CONGRESS EXCEPT ONE. Can you guess who it is? Well, that would be the Democratic Representative who is trying to paint himself as a moderate in order to hijack Senator Frist's seat, Harold Ford, Jr. Like my Mamaw used to say, "the proof is in the pudding."
It will be interesting to see what happens today in the Senate. Last time around, the Democrats were so successful in making the bill detestable to everyone - with extensions of the Brady Bill and requiring background checks at gun shows - that at the end of the day the NRA had to work to kill its own bill. It doesn't appear that will happen here, but one never can tell.