UNION “DONATIONS” I feel all NRA members affiliated with a “union” should know that the AFL-CIO’s leadership will be contributing $35 million towards the reelection of Bill Clinton and many of his anti-gun colleagues. They contributed the maximum allowable by law to the Democratic party and the rest will be used to run TV ads that they claim are not addressing any particular party, but are being run to inform their union members of which congressmen and congresswomen the leaders feel represent their interests. I have seen some of these ads on TV and I am very upset knowing that my union dues are being given to Bill Clinton and many of his anti-gun cronies. My union dues, by the way, are about 10 times greater than that of an annual NRA membership.
I have written a letter to the AFL-CIO and hope every other NRA member who belongs to a union will do the same. Union members should also be aware of the fact that the AFL-CIO plans to raise union dues in 70 congressional districts across the country and use these funds to funnel contributions to the Democratic party for House and Senate races. If Clinton can get four more years in the White House with a congress that adheres to his wishes, the Second Amendment will be in jeopardy.
Darin S. Haase, South Dakota
A large number of union members who are also NRA members feel the same waythat union leadership is out of step with the rank and file. According to NRA’s First VP Neal Knox, one of the nation’s largest state union organizations tried to determine why they lost a major election a few years ago. Their private survey showed that twothirds of their union members voted for the candidate opposed by the union and twothirds of those did so because of gun rights.
POST WAR ARTILLERY? In the “Product Previews” column you listed “New Colt Replicas,” in particular, an Artillery Model musket (March 1996, p. 12). It read “The Artillery Model musket has a 31.5″ barrel that was specified for cannoneers.” I believe this information to be inaccurate. The existing specimens, which these were probably copied from, are-in my opinion, Norm Flayderman’s opinion (in Flayderman’s Guide to Antique American Firearms … and Their Values) and numerous other authoritiespost-war cut-down M1861 through 1864 rifled muskets. These vary in barrel length from 30″ to 33″.
No government contracts have ever been found showing this was a wartime modification and also no period Civil War pictures of soldiers with these “Artillery” guns exist. Post-war military surplus businesses like Bannerman’s and Stokes Kirk cut these guns down in order to easily sell the enormous amount of surplus M186164 rifled muskets they had on hand, and this information is readily available in their respective catalogs. If the importer indeed does have any such evidence that these were wartime conversions, it would be a great service to the collecting community to share this information.
Carl Hulshart, Pennsylvania
THE NEXT GENERATION I have committed my time, money and vote to punishing anti-gun candidates this November, but that is not enough. Two recent experiences have convinced me that we must take a longer and broader view of the struggle with anti-gunners.
The first was a visit from my nephewa bright lad with an interest in becoming a conservation officer. An Eagle Scout enrolled in a college conservation program, he had never touched a gun or gone hunting. No one had ever offered to teach him to shoot or even talked with him about the ethics of hunting. He was vaguely aware of the NRA, but had never seen any of our publications or been invited to join.
The second experience was a critical appraisal of the books and magazines used at my children’s elementary school. Every printed reference to guns or hunting was negative. There was even a nationally circulated newsletter that urged parents to prevent their children from visiting any homes known to contain guns.
These are not isolated examples-millions of youngsters are growing up with no positive exposure to firearms or hunting and constant exposure to anti-gun, antihunting propaganda. We must consciously work to grow the kids of today into the pro-gun voters of tomorrow.
There is no magic solution, but a lot of little steps will help. Every year, teach a kid to shoot and introduce someone to hunting. Then give them an NRA membership to keep the interest up. Don’t stop with your own kids, invite their friends along when you go after squirrels and cottontails. Support junior marksmanship clubs and urge your Boy Scout council to offer shooting at summer camps. Demand equal time for pro-gun, pro-hunting publications in the schools.
Jim Chaput, Georgia
GOOD BALANCE The March issue was a good example of what should remain in these pages: a nice balance of sound empirical work, Gary Sciuchetti’s “Ammunition & Fire;” Second Amendment advocacy, Tanya K. Metaksa’s “The Clinton War on Guns” (and why he is the most dedicated enemy of the Second Amendment in our history); and what is new in the world of firearms, “New Guns for ’96.” Also, do not forget the fine “Second Shots” page on the inside of the back cover that reminds us of how much NRA has contributed to the well being of this nation for a long time.
I have left out other good elements, but my point is that only a mix of writing on a host of subjects can sustain the lasting interest of the diverse body of members.
Roy Traband, Oklahoma
THERE IS A BRIDGE In the story, “A Four Barrel Big Bore Rarity,” it was reported that a Lauren Kortz was a prisoner of war of the Japanese and that he worked on the infamous Burma Railroad (April 1996, p. 39). It also said: “Taken prisoner he worked on the Burma railroad immortalized in ‘Bridge Over the River Kwai,’ though there was no bridgehe and his fellow prisoners spent most of their time digging tunnels.” That would be a revelation to the 13,000 Allied POWs who died on the Burma/Siam Railroad, and to those of us who have returned to the site numerous times since the war. I would like to assure your readers that there was, in fact, a bridge, that many POWs died building it, that it still stands today, and that to say “though there was no bridge” is an affront to the memory of those men. I sincerely hope that this misrepresentation of the facts will be corrected, so that history will be correctly reported and the memory of those men actually buried near the bridge will be maintained. Otto C. Schwarz, New Jersey
The sentence should have read that “there was no bridge in the area” that Mr. Kortz was forced to work. We regret any confusion this may have caused.
THANK YOU, TOO
How many members have written Senator Stevens to thank him for his role in stopping the destruction of surplus military firearms by the Clinton administration (March 1996, p. 44)? Indeed, how many members have written any elected official to thank them for a pro-gun vote or action? Remember to thank our friends. John Wilson, Califoria
Copyright National Rifle Association of America Jun 1996
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