Gun Owners of America
Year in Review for 2011
“In the 35 years since its foundation, the GOA has maintained its staunch opposition to any form of gun control, often taking a harder stand than the NRA.”-- Ben Garrett, award-winning journalist, newspaper editor and blogger
As we approach the Christmas holidays, we certainly have a lot to be thankful for. Here's a partial list of what we accomplished together this year.
* One of the first acts of the Congress in 2011 was to read the Constitution aloud, for the first time in history, on the floor of the United States House of Representatives. Virginia Rep. Bob Goodlatte led the effort in the House and credited GOA for helping make it happen.
“I want to thank Gun Owners of America for early support of the idea to read the U.S. Constitution on the House floor and for taking the lead to rally the grassroots in support of the Read the Constitution effort,” Goodlatte said.
Of course, reading the Constitution is one thing, abiding by it is another. And that is a battle GOA brings to Capitol Hill on a daily basis.
*GOA began a year-long effort to call attention to Fast and Furious. This operation that was run out of the Justice Department helped criminals buy guns “legally” from American gun stores - with the hopes that the ensuing violence would drive calls for more gun control.
February - March
* GOA began warning its activists that anti-gun Democrats might try to attach gun control restrictions on a bill to reauthorize funding the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration). These proposals included a ban on high capacity magazines; restrictions that would end gun shows; and, potentially, a provision stripping millions of gun owners of their rights by placing them on “watch lists” without any due process of law.
GOA worked on the Hill by putting pro-gun amendments into the hands of certain Senators. Our efforts to counter these disastrous proposals with pro-gun initiatives backed the gun grabbers into a comer and stymied their plans.
*GOA and its activists won temporary victories when the House voted to repeal the anti-gun ObamaCare law and to adopt the Boren-Rehberg amendment -- which would defund ATF’s latest gun registry.
Gun Owners of America contacted every member of the House of Representatives prior to winning the votes on ObamaCare and Boren-Rehberg. Sadly, both of these victories were temporary, as the Democrat Senate refused to go along.
* GOA began a national campaign to defeat restrictive legislation introduced by New York Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D). Her bill, HR 308, would resurrect the ban on high capacity magazines which passed during the Clinton administration -- but later sunset in 2004. (GOA will spend the year mobilizing gun owners against this threat, and can thankfully report that, by year's end, her bill has remained bottled up in committee.)
* After President Obama nominated Goodwin Liu to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, GOA worked hard to alert Senators to his extreme, anti-gun record. Like many radical progressives, Liu believes that while our Second Amendment rights might have been necessary in the 1700s, they are no longer needed today. Thanks, in large part, to Liu's radical views on the Second Amendment, his nomination was narrowly defeated.
* Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) tied the Senate in knots for more than a week fighting for a GOAbacked amendment which would have protected 4473’s and other gun records from blanket searches by the ATF under the so-called PATRIOT Act.
Because many leaders in his own party refused to back him, Sen. Paul was not successful this time, but he put a marker down that gun rights would not be violated without a fight from the pro-gun community.
Sen. Paul thanked “Gun Owners of America for their strong support of my amendment to protect the privacy of gun owners.”
June - August
* GOA activated its grassroots members in opposition to S. 679, the Cover-up Protection Act -- a bill that would exempt hundreds of federal appointees from Senate confirmation, thus allowing the President to stack his administration with flaming anti-gunners.
This battle underscored the power of the grassroots -- and the effect that phone calls and emails can have upon their elected officials. After hearing from thousands upon thousands of GOA's activists, Capitol Hill staffers confided to GOA that key Senators reversed course and decided to add amendments which would require the most important Presidential appointments to still be approved by the Senate.
* The crescendo over the Operation Fast and Furious debacle continued to build. Dubbed as Obama's Watergate, Fast and Furious highlights the extent that his corrupt administration will go to demonize gun owners. GOA has spent the first half of the year educating the media and the grassroots over Fast and Furious -- and for its part, CBS and Fox News lead the media in covering this fiasco.
* GOA began to energize its grassroots in favor of concealed carry reciprocity bill introduced by Georgia Rep. Paul Broun. His bill (HR 2900) will allow law-abiding gun owners to carry outof-state without requiring them to possess a concealed carry permit in the state they are visiting.
*Gun Owners of America briefed an important case before the U.S. Supreme Court earlier in the year -- and, in September, we won! The Court handed down its decision in Bond v. United States, where the U.S. government had made a “federal case” out of a domestic dispute involving a Pennsylvania woman who injured her neighbor.
There was absolutely no reason why the federal government should have been prosecuting Carol Bond, as opposed to the local authorities. So GOA got involved with the intent to help drive the federal government back into the parameters as outlined in the Constitution -- a result which will, most definitely, benefit gun owners.
* In late October, GOA began pressing hard for congressmen to start petitioning for Eric Holder's resignation. Within a week, the number of Representatives calling for Holder’s resignation rose to more than two dozen -- and the number has since doubled to more than four dozen.
* The Obama Administration issued regulations earlier this year requiring agencies to lie to the public under certain circumstances. GOA alerted its grassroots in October to these regs and urged Congress to defund the administration's ability to enforce them. The Administration pulled the regulations within the week.
* In November, Gun Owners Foundation won a Supreme Court case in defense of a gun owner in Virginia. Russell Ernest Smith had been wrongfully convicted of “willfully and intentionally” making a false statement on his 4473 form when purchasing a firearm. But GOF believed that the government’s argument against Smith was specious.
So Gun Owners Foundation prepared its amicus brief and submitted it on behalf of Mr. Smith. GOF was the only group making the case that Smith’s conviction should be overturned. After waiting several months for the verdict, the Virginia Supreme Court announced its verdict ... and Smith emerged victorious.
What's both interesting and exciting in this case is that, in overturning Smith’s conviction, the judges used an argument that GOF had made -- an argument which his own lawyer did not even make. GOF is clearly making an impact upon the courts in defense of gun owners' rights!
* Concealed carry reciprocity legislation passed on the floor of the House by a 272-154 vote. Representatives had two bills to choose from -- although the weaker bill passed. The battle now moves to the Senate, where GOA will work to amend the legislation with the provisions of HR 2900, the “constitutional carry” friendly bill.
* GOA worked hard this year to stall (or defeat) the nomination of anti-gun judges. One of Obama’s picks who stalled out was Caitlin Halligan, a judicial nominee with a history of antigun activism. But with most of the nation focusing its attention on the upcoming holidays, GOA had to call the troops into battle after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid tried to ram through Halligan’s confirmation in early December.
* The response of Gun Owners of America members to the GOA alert was overwhelming and played an important role in defeating the confirmation of Halligan. On the Hill, Gun Owners of America briefed Senate offices right up to the time of the vote about the danger of confirming Halligan. Thankfully, in a procedural maneuver known as a "cloture vote," Reid fell six votes short of getting the needed votes to move the nomination forward for a final vote.