When anti-gun Rep. Charles E. Schumer of New York was running for the U. S. Senate from New York in 1998, reported THE NEW YORK TIMES, “he was probably aware when he spoke with securities industry lobbyists about deregulation that the industry had donated $1.28 million to his campaigns over the previous five years – even if not all of those donations were motivated by concern about -the issue.
“Mr. Schumer was on the House Banking Committee and is now on the Senate Banking Committee. He has long been regarded as the securities industry’s strongest ally in Congress. Of course, most brokerage and financial services companies are based in New York City, parts of which Mr. Schumer represented in the House. He received more money from the securities industry in 1997 and 1998 than anyone else now in the Senate, almost certainly because he was running for the Senate.”
Late last year, the Illinois State Senate refused to reenact a law that would make illegal possession of handguns a felony.
Gov. George Ryan predicted he had the votes necessary for passage of the legislation, which the Illinois Supreme Court struck down early last December on technical grounds. The state law that made unlawful gun possession a felony had been on the books since 1994.
Ryan had called a special legislative session to consider reenactment of the measure. This session involved only the Senate since the House already had passed the bill in an earlier special session.
However, in the Senate on December 29, 1999, the bill fell five votes short of the 36 required for ratification, despite intense gubernatorial lobbying.
Leading the fight against the bill was the Majority Whip, State Sen. Ed Petka, a former prosecutor who has sponsored measures that impose stiff penalties for the use of guns in the commission of crimes but who said “I think that transporting a firearm for whatever reason should not be a felony.”
Both sides in the debate said the issue would be on the agenda again this year. Petka told POINT BLANK the Ryan proposal would be “more difficult” to defeat this year.
In California, there is a conflict brewing within the camp of the gun grabbers, according to THE WASHINGTON POST.
Last year, the gun grabbers, with the all-out support of Gov. Gray Davis, enacted a barrage of laws designed to reduce the proliferation of firearms. It included a tough ban on so-called “assault weapons,” a limit on handgun purchases in the state to one a month, a prohibition on the manufacture or sale of certain inexpensive handguns, and a requirement that all guns made or sold in California have safety locks.
Now legislator& say they want to impose more extensive registration and new licensing requirements on prospective gun owners, force gun owners to take more safety tests, pay higher fees and renew a gun license every year or few years.
“But,” reported the POST, “Davis sounds worried that the legislature is going too far, too fast…He … apparently fears that approving another wave of gun laws could galvanize conservative voters at a time when the looming presidential race in make-or-break California looks quite competitive.”
The Clinton-Gore Administration said late last year that it was tripling the budget for the development of a unified national data base of shell casings and bullets to be known as the National Integrated Ballistics Information Network.
An Administration official said the new system, to be run by BATF, “will work toward creating a virtual fingerprint for newly manufactured handguns by using a computer analysis of the unique markings a gun leaves on shell casings when it is fired,” reported THE NEW YORK TIMES.
Paul Jannuzzo, General Counsel of Glock, Inc., said that, “as long as this is aimed at crime control, not gun control, we will support it.”
A former prosecutor, he said that providing BATF gun fingerprints “will speed up the gun tracing process incredibly.”
He added that giving the government the information also could help the firearms industry in a complex set of lawsuits filed against it by 28 cities and counties as welI as by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and in parallel negotiations between lawyers for the cities and the gun companies.
The cities have demanded that the firearm -manufacturers develop a serial number that would be harder to obliterate.
“If you have a system with gun fingerprints, it is better than serial numbers that can be tampered with,” Jannuzzo said. “it may also do away with another demand by the people who want to put us out of business, registration of all gun owners, because you already have the gun registered. ”
The new system relies on the computer analysis of marks made on shell casings, including those caused by firing pins and those pressed on the breach face of the casing during an explosion, as well as another unique signature left when the casing is ejected.