For Release: Friday, June 18, 1999
Real Gun Control a Victim of Cautious Strategy, NRA Muscle
The Violence Policy Center warned today that a gun control bill under consideration in the House would do more to weaken current gun law than strengthen it, especially after last night’s passage of an amendment by Rep. John Dingell (D-MI). Rather than advancing gun control, the bill undermines the ban on interstate firearm sales – a cornerstone of gun laws that has long been a target for the National Rifle Association.
“This bill is a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” said Kristen Rand, the VPC’s director of federal policy. “It may have a label of ‘gun control,’ but it really advances the NRA’s efforts to roll back current gun laws.”
The House bill would eviscerate the 30-year-old ban on the interstate sale of handguns by allowing dealers to ship firearms purchased at a gun show to buyers in any state. With passage of the Dingell Amendment, the legislation would also allow two dealers to conduct business in a state where neither one is licensed. These radical changes will thwart individual states in their efforts to regulate dealers and enforce state gun laws.
“By framing this issue in such narrow, cautious terms, the gun control movement led with its chin – and the NRA used its muscle to score a knockout punch,” Rand said. “When you are negotiating with a powerful adversary, you shouldn’t start with your final offer. That’s what happened here.”
“Whether this bill passes or fails, gun control has lost out,” she added. The final vote on the legislation is expected later this afternoon.