The “F” troop: Why are these people smiling?
Norell, James O E
In politics, one rule counts: The side with the biggest numbers wins. Nothing else matters.
That goes for elections, and it goes for votes in legislative bodies. And, above all, it determines whose political ideology controls the governing agenda.
In the case of the U.S. House of Representatives-in this coming election-if the Democratic party ends up with the biggest numbers, absolute control of legislative power will fall to a majority of lawmakers zealously long-dedicated to erasing America’s firearm freedom.
NRA’s Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre calls the cadre of powerful anti-firearm legislators who want to control the machinery and direction of the U.S. House of Representatives the “F” Troop. Those who will hold all the leadership power-should the Democratic Party take the majority-are all rated “F” in NRA’s political preference charts.
And these “F”s are hoping that the media will lull firearm-rights voters into staying home on election day. In story after story, over these past months leading to the coming 2002 off-year Congressional elections, the national media has been pushing the notion that gun control is now a dead issue with the Democratic party-that the decades of embracing every guncontrol scheme and blaming peaceable gun owners for crime or the acts of madmen are things of the past.
Gun control isn’t dead; it’s dormant. It’s hiding. It’s camouflaged.
In the world of political numbers, every peaceable gun owner in America must consider a paramount set of numbers-the “F” Troop. There are currently 151 Democratic party NRA “F”s in the Congress-hardly a majority overall, but an overwhelming majority where it counts: in leadership and in lock-tight control of the committees that spawn gun control in any form. And many of the “F”s have a huge power advantage in seniority.
Top on the list of the “F” Troop-in terms of sheer power to move antigun rights legislation, pack committees and energize the media against gun owners-is Richard Gephardt (D-Mo., 3rd Dist.), the man who would become the all-powerful Speaker of the House. Should Democrats gain a majority, Gephardt will reward the broad political support of his antigun-rights lobbies.
In action, as Minority Leader, he has proved a shrewd practitioner of the gun-control philosophy that marked the Clinton-Gore years-the notion that innocent, peaceable, lawabiding firearm owners must relinquish their gun rights, a step at a time, while armed, violent criminals are never held accountable for crimes they commit under existing tough Federal firearm laws.
Denying existing law and encouraging non-enforcement always paves the way for the lie that the nation needs more gun control laws.
Dick Gephardt-along with the other members of the “F” Troop powerbrokers-must be judged, first and foremost by how highly the banthe-gun crowd values them, and what exactly those endorsements and candidate ratings mean.
Gephardt is rated 100 percent by the American Bar Association’s Special Committee on Gun Violence, which supports outlawing and confiscating broad classes of now-legal handguns and semi-automatic long guns; granting broad powers to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to ban firearms and ammunition unilaterally under bureaucratic safety criteria; amending Federal Firearms law to encourage injury lawsuits against individual firearm owners and those engaged in legal Federally licensed commerce; enacting laws to license all handgun owners and register all privately owned handguns; and enacting punitive taxes on purchases of handguns and handgun ammunition.
Gephardt is rated 100 percent by the Coalition to Stop Violence, the former National Coalition to Ban Handguns.
And he rates a 94 with the Brady Campaign (Handgun Control, Inc.), which is currently pushing to convert the National Instant Check System into a permanent firearm-owner registration database and would enact laws criminalizing all private sales between individuals not made through NICS. The Brady Campaign also supports bans on private possession of handguns through ever expanding “junk gun” legislation, and was directly responsible for government confiscation of registered semiautomatic rifles owned by law-abiding California gun owners.
Next on the “F” Troop political power food chain in the U.S. House is Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca., 8th Dist.), a close political ally of U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Ca.). If the Democrats take the majority, Pelosi is in line to become House Majority Leader, with broad power to move or stall legislation. In 1992, she was co-Chair of the Democratic National Platform Committee, which rubber-stamped firearm registration and licensing along with gun prohibitions, all proffered by Handgun Control, Inc. There are rumors as well that if Dick Gephardt runs for the Presidency, Pelosi could become the Speaker.
If the top leadership would be a bad dream for gun rights under an “F” Troop-dominated Democratic Congress, the makeup of the critical committees would be a nightmare.
Crucial for the future of firearm ownership is the Judiciary Committee where gun control legislation is usually spawned and incubated.
If the Democrats wrest control of the House, Judiciary will be chaired by U.S. Rep. John Conyers, (Mich., 14th Dist.), who has been a consistent and fanatical opponent of Second Amendment freedom since coming to Congress in 1964. Conyers, who favors universal registration and licensing and a confiscatory ban on all handguns, will doubtless push the legislative envelope, and with his majority rule will be able to move any legislative agenda he chooses.
Currently, of the 16 Democrats on the judiciary Committee, 15 are rated as NRA “F”s. Most of these people are not simply passively anti-gun-rights, they are aggressive opponents. Most despise the membership of the National Rifle Association. Most of these people have 100 percent ratings from the political groups and lobbies pressing for firearm bans and forfeiture. If their party takes the majority, they will be joined by still more NRA “F”s, and will be a solid unstoppable voting block. A switch in parties could mean a flip in the ratio with 21 Democrats versus 16 Republicans, or worse.
Democratic “F” members of the current Judiciary Committee, such as Conyers, Jerrald Nadler (N.Y.-8th), Martin Meehan (Mass.-5th), Robert Wexler (Fla.-9th) and Anthony Weiner (N.Y.- 9th) are major sponsors of all nature of anti-gun rights legislation from bills demanding universal firearm owner licensing and registration, to measures designed to ban private ownership of firearms through the bureaucratic back door, to criminalizing now-legal and innocent sales between private individuals.
And some-like Conyers who wants to turn convicted felons into a powerful political machine by restoring their voting rights-pursue soft-on-criminals agendas, and receive 100 percent approval ratings from organizations that believe punishment is not an answer to criminal violence.
When funding for an expansion of Project Exile came before the House, in April 2000, John Conyers was joined by Minority Whip Nancy Pelosi in opposing the get-tough-on armed violent criminals initiative.
Among those Judiciary Committee members who voted against funding for Project Exile were many key members of the Judiciary Committee “F” Troop.
Although gun control legislation ordinarily originates in the Judiciary Committee, the ascendancy of Hollywood’s Congressman, Henry Waxman, to the chair of the House Committee on Government Reform would create an additional breeding ground for all means of anti-firearmrights legislation and oversight.
Waxman-in this current Congress-has proven himself the major consistent water-carrier for the Violence Policy Center, which demands confiscatory bans on all handguns and self-loading rifles, and the VPC is directly linked on Waxman’s Congressional website.
Today, in terms of balance, the Government Reform Committee’s Democratic side is dominated by 14 NRA-rated “F”s out of 19 members. With a flip in the majority, Waxman’s agenda will be virtually impossible to stop.
An “F” Troop, led by Henry Waxman, John Conyers, Nancy Pelosi and Dick Gephardt, gaining majority status in the House and linking up with the Senatorial antigun-rights forces led by the likes of Chuck Schumer, Ted Kennedy and Hillary Clinton, should be a horrifying prospect to every peaceable firearm owner in our nation. But most don’t know about this danger-with the all-out media campaign to lull people into apathy. It is up to NRA members to awaken their friends, colleagues and neighbors to this very real danger. If the Democratic party takes the majority, the “F” will rule.
Copyright National Rifle Association of America Sep 2002
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