When the U. S. House of Representatives voted last month to begin an inquiry of impeachment of President Bill Clinton, the most anti-gun politician ever to serve in he Oval Office, John Michael Snyder, CCRKBA Public Affairs Director, expressed initial satisfaction.
“A lot of people are coming to realize what we have known for some time,” he said, “and that is that Clinton can not be trusted. Although he has sworn blithely to uphold the Constitution, he has not hesitated to undermine one of the integral parts of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and especially the Second Amendment. Throughout his presidency, he has used the power of his office to promote legislation to undermine the right to keep and bear arms, the right to self-defense, the right to protect life, the very right to life itself. He also has used his executive authority to promote administrative regulations to the same end.
“Itâ€™s about time this character and, for that matter, the entire Clinton-Gore Administration, is called to account for his heinous attacks on the civil rights of law-abiding American citizens. Our only regret is that itâ€™s coming so late in the day but, as they say, â€˜better late than never.â€™
“Iâ€™ve supported the impeachment of Clinton since the day after his presidential inauguration â€“ his first presidential inauguration. I have supported the inquiry of impeachment of President Clinton proposed by Rep. Bob Barr of Georgia since he introduced the resolution a year ago, even though it was not given much of a chance at the time. So I, for one, am glad that the House of Representatives has taken the action it has on this matter up to this point.”
In a move which knowledgeable gun control advocates long had expected, a National Research Panel said October 8 in Washington, D. C. that there are no proven ways to tag or mark gunpowder to make it more easily detectable or to deter its use in bombings.
The panel also stated the state of tagging technology, which has not been extensively researched, and the relatively low level of threat from illicit explosives using black and smokeless powders, do not support suggestions to immediately start marking these materials, reported Warren E. Leary in THE NEW YORK TIMES.
The 14-member committee said current methods for detecting gunpowder bombs, including metal detectors and X-ray systems that spot devices containing the explosives, and trained dogs, are relatively effective.
“In order to guard against future threats, however, the committee believes that the government should study more complex detection and identification methods so that policy makers are better able to react if circumstances arise that warrant a more aggressive response,” it said.
The Clinton Administration campaigned for wide use of chemical markers in common explosives. Congress rejected these proposals after gun lobby groups opposed putting markers into black or smokeless powder, questioning the effectiveness of tagging such widely used products and expressing concern that foreign chemicals might affect the gunpowderâ€™s performance.
The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 authorized the Treasury Department to study tagging explosives either for early detection or to help trace explosives after bombings. The Departmentâ€™s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms asked the National Research Council, part of the National Academy of Sciences, to examine the issues and it convened two committees to conduct studies.
In a report released in March, the first committee looked at commercial high-grade explosives, like dynamite and military plastic explosives and chemical fertilizer used to make explosives, and concluded that it was impractical to put markers into this material. It called for more research into cost, safety and effectiveness before considering such additives for wide use.
The second committee, which released its report October 8, reached similar conclusions concerning black and smokeless powder.
Nearly one fourth of American households have handguns in them, according to a survey conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago and the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research.
According to the report, nearly 40 percent of Americans have a gun in the house. The figure has fallen from 49 percent in 1973, but the decline has been in shotguns and rifles. The proportion of households with handguns climbed from 20 percent to 24 percent over the same period.
Half of all American men have a gun in the house. One in 10 Americans has carried a gun away from home during the past year. On any given day, one adult in 50 will be carrying a handgun.
As some indication of the kind of anti-gun legislation which Second Amendment may expect to be introduced in the next (106th) Congress, consider some of the legislative activity of anti-gun Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg during the latter days of the current (105th) Congress.
On October 2 and October 5, Lautenberg included in the CONGRESSIONAL RECORD materials connected with a so-called “one gun a month forum” held on September 2.
The forum was held to promote Lautenbergâ€™s bill, S. 466, the so-called “Anti-Gun Trafficking Act,” which would prohibit an individual from buying more than one handgun in a monthâ€™s period.
Lautenberg noted that Virginia, Maryland and South Carolina already have passed such legislation and indicated he will press for federal legislation in the same vein in the months to come.
He was joined at the forum, he said, by Sens. Charles S. Robb of Virginia and Paul S. Sarbanes of Maryland.
He said forum witnesses included Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell, who also is the Chair of the Conference of Mayors Task Force on Gun Violence, James and Sarah Brady of Handgun Control, Inc., Captain R. Lewis Vass of the Virginia State Police, and Captain Thomas Bowers of the Maryland State Police.