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Old November 5, 2012, 09:22 AM   #1
Kimio
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Fear and anxiety, questions for those of you who lived through the Clinton AWB.

I'm too young to remember any of this seeing as I was born several years after the fact.

I've read about it, and I've heard about the aftermath in terms of both laws/regulations as well as the impact it had on the sales of firearms.

Let me state, this is NOT a hype thread, what I would like to ask is what it was like living through that, did any of you suffer from the anxieties or worries that so many seem to be in an uproar right now.

As many have stated before, we must keep things in perspective and be reminded that despite what the media would like you to believe, the liklihood of a new AWB apparently is not something we should be terribly concerned about.

The general public appears to be more in favor of firearms nowadays, and the recent studies seem to support the fact that an AWB does nothing to curb violent crimes.

There are many here who have indeed gone through the madness, seen the price infaltion on anything related to firearms, and I guess what I'm asking, is how long do you think this will go on until prices stablize once again after whomever wins the nice little condo on Capitol hill.

I've come to the conclusion that what ever happens will happen regardless of my wishes, and for better or worse, it's best to just go with it. I'll do my part and vote for what I believe in, but raising a fuss at this point seems like a waste of energy.

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Last edited by Kimio; November 5, 2012 at 11:55 AM.
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Old November 5, 2012, 10:14 AM   #2
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Like you, I don't consider another federal level AWB likely anywhere in the near future. It would take a seismic shift in Congress and in public opinion (right now, even enough Democrats know it would mean the loss of their seats to make the rank and file unenthusiastic about voting for one), and that's just not in the cards. If anything, it's going the other way- so many people are getting into the self defense side of shooting that one cannot be snuck in. The political environment in 1994 was very different than the one today; gun rights just weren't on most peoples' radar.

However, it sounds like you're asking about the current rush of demand in the firearm and firearm accessories markets. IMO, this one is pretty similar to 2008, only the companies are better able to meet demand right now. I'm just not seeing the mass "out of stock" notices on every last thing that we had four years ago (in late '08, you couldn't find AR-15 bolt carrier groups or barrels in stock anywhere, ditto complete uppers; that is not the case now).

Still, this isn't so much a recent rush as much as it has been a general growing of the market. There's just more people shopping for guns nowadays. Gunmakers can't expand production quite quickly enough without throwing quality out the window. That means the supply will be constrained, and prices will rise. Even if we have a firearm-friendly result to tomorrow's elections, that isn't going to return the firearm market to 2007 levels of demand. I think what we've seen in the last year or so is more or less the way it's going to be from now on.
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Old November 5, 2012, 10:46 AM   #3
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Depending on who is elected, prices will stabilize in time (eg Romney == a week/Obama == a year).

I was in Okinawa when the 1994 ban went into place, so I didn't see that coming at all. I came home and was a bit startled to discover that certain rifles and magazines were no longer legal to manufacture, making the existing stock absurdly valuable.

Because it has happened, folks, like me, don'twant to caught with their pants down again.
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Old November 5, 2012, 10:55 AM   #4
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As I understand things, for some citizens, the '94 AWB is still a real and valid issue. NY IIRC, CA with their own strange laws still have bans of this or that. I do believe some elected officials were impacted soon thereafter being forced to find new employment elsewhere.

The prices of magazines holding more than 10 rds went thru the roof, a few rifles were modified eliminating bayonet lugs and flash hiders, pistol grips morphed into strange thumbhole stocks... that sorta thing.

I think everyone learned from that experiment, both pro and con.

I see no need for fear or anxiety. Things are what they are. Of course, it's always nice to head em off at the pass when you can and it may be said that gun owners re-learned the Plato quote
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Old November 5, 2012, 12:09 PM   #5
Glenn E. Meyer
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I recall going to the gun show to buy a couple of extra Glock mags. The dealer had raised the price about $10 each. Wah, I complained. He offered me a deal on a whole bag of new ones. Dr. Genius here turned it down. I could have bought 20 or so and then the price went up to $120 for one. Oops!

A guy at the match Sunday said he was stocking up on high caps for the next ban after the election. Don't think it will go that way again.

I think there was more panic in 2008 than way back for the first AWB.
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Old November 5, 2012, 12:42 PM   #6
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I think there was more panic in 2008 than way back for the first AWB.
There were some significant differences.

First off, the average American was just not very engaged on the issue in 1993. When we tried to warn Joe Six Pack about HR 3355, the response was "that's just about machine guns. I don't care about that. Now stop interrupting my dinner."

The second was perception. Proponents of the bill had effectively convinced the public that the guns they were going after were machine guns, and that those guns were being used to mow down dozens of police officers a day. Hey, if it was on Miami Vice or NYPD Blue, it must have been true. I recall an episode of ER in which a surgeon lost the use of his fingers trying to remove an unexploded hollow-point bullet from a gang member. Yep. Hollywood was on board.

Attorney Janet Reno was pushing for the bill, and was quoted saying, "tell the NRA to get lost!" People cheered. FBI Director Louis Freeh drafted a memo suggesting mandatory licensing of all handgun owners, as well as a "media strategy" to develop public support. Nobody seemed to think that was out of line.

Bill Clinton got up on stage to give a speech in support of the bill, and he had the wife of an officer who had recently died in the line of duty. He claimed that the new ban would save the lives of countless officers, just like officer Seaberry. The only problem was that Seaberry had died in a car accident.

Did the media report or question any of that? Nope. They wanted the ban. Politicians on both sides wanted the ban. Judging from the rather faint and feeble amount of outcry, the American public wanted the ban.

So, we got the ban. Those gun owners who got mad about the NRA interrupting their dinner with phone calls about the stupid machine-gun ban? They were the first to scream and stomp their feet. After all, how had we let that happen?

Yeesh. So yeah, the folks who still had the pre-ban stuff gouged. If Joe Six Pack had pre-ban stuff, he happily gouged on it. If he was trying to buy it, he'd scream about prices, and then he'd blame those of us who had let it happen.

The 1990's were rough. Not just because of the ban, but because of the atmosphere of hostility towards guns and gun owners. There was actually legislation proposed to repeal the 2nd Amendment. It looked like we were really headed to a dark place.

We're in a different situation now. The makeup of Congress changed quite dramatically in the 1994 midterms, and the AWB is often quoted as a factor in that. Bill Clinton remarked that Al Gore's loss of Florida in 2000 was likely due to lingering resentment over his participation.

Right now, the very issue of gun control is considered toxic to all but a small (but vocal) minority of politicians. Some may support the idea privately, but they're not going to act or speak on it publicly. We have two Supreme Court victories under our belt, and the American public is much more informed and engaged on the issue. I simply do not see it happening any time within the next decade.

So, it's hard to compare. There was very little panic leading up to the AWB, and that was real. There was a surreal amount of panic after the 2008 election, and there was no real crisis. So, it's hard to predict.
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Old November 5, 2012, 12:42 PM   #7
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Like someone else mentioned, I was out of the country for the 94 AWB. When I got back a lot of people were charging outrages prices for a bit then things calmed down.

I personally think the 2008 inflation, the end of the world millennium inflation, and any we see now is a self fulfilling prophecy. If we bought at our normal rate prices would remain more stable and people would not take such a loss when they decide to dump their excess inventory on the subsequently deflated (stabilized) Market.

We should be ever vigilant but I do not see enough political will to make major gun law changes at this point.
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Old November 5, 2012, 01:59 PM   #8
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I was very young at the time of the 94 AWB. I just remember my dad reading me an add in a local WI paper sometime around 96 or 97 listing a "Preban" "CAR-15"(I doubt it was fully automatic) somewhere north of $1,000.00.

My dad was more of a traditional bolt gun/pump gun type of guy, still is to this day so I did not really see the effect first hand. I only got into guns after I got out of School in 2005 so by then the AWB was gone.

If there is a moral to the story it would be keep a good supply of extra magazines and collapsible stocks around.
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Old November 5, 2012, 02:09 PM   #9
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If there is a moral to the story it would be keep a good supply of extra magazines and collapsible stocks around.
But that's addressing the symptom, not the underlying problem.

Gun owners need to be aware and active, and we need to act as ambassadors for the cause to others.
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Old November 5, 2012, 02:14 PM   #10
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It is very unlikely the US congress will pass an "assault weapons" ban anytime soon. However, some day when the political climate is right, there will be a concerted effort to pass an AWB. Everyone who cares about his/her Second Amendment rights should bone up on the history behind the 1994 AWB.

i followed the AWB from its inception to signing into law. Demand for an AWB started in the late 1980s. The US house vote on the AWB was a very close thing; 216-214. The AWB became a reality when former US president Reagan sent letters to every Republican member of the house asking them to vote for the AWB. At least two of those house members changed their minds and voted for the AWB after the Reagan appeal.

We came close to having the AWB extended in 2004. The sitting president promised to sign an extension of the AWB if it reached his desk. The US senate voted to extend the AWB as a part of another bill that failed to pass the senate. A stand alone bill to extend the AWB would have passed the US senate. The speaker of the US house refused to schedule debate on an extension of the AWB and the law expired. Many folks, myself included, calculated that an extension of the AWB would have passed the US house.

MA, NY, and CA have "assault weapons" bans. CT has a partial ban.

http://www.newyorkcriminalattorneybl...on_ban_al.html

http://www.jud.ct.gov/JI/criminal/gl...aultweapon.htm

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Old November 5, 2012, 02:26 PM   #11
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I watched the house vote on TV and it was very close. As I recall the speaker kept the issue open until he had enough votes. Lots of strong arm tactics to get some members to change their votes to get it passed. I believe the AWB passed by only one vote, gut I can't swear to it.

Like all gun control propaganda there was a ton of down right lies and inuendos flying about. I don't think it would have passed without the sunset clause. That was a good amendment.

Since it had no affect on crime stats at all, I think history gives us a good argument against another ban. After all we already tried that once, sort of like alcohol prohibition.
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Old November 5, 2012, 03:09 PM   #12
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Quote:
I think there was more panic in 2008 than way back for the first AWB.
I wasn't of voting age when the AWB was implemented, but almost, and I do remember a greater level of panic than I've ever seen since. You may say, well you were young and impressionable. K, maybe, but let me just describe to you what I remember:

This was the time of Waco and Ruby Ridge. At Ruby Ridge, we had a guy (Randy Weaver) entrapped (according to the courts) by the federal gov. into violating firearms laws, and subsequently held under siege in his home. If I remember correctly, his wife and infant were killed by a gov. sniper (one shot, two kills), his son and dog were both shot and I think killed. It's amazing he wasn't. Nonetheless, with this and Waco going on, there was an attitude held by many that the government was completely without scruples in prosecuting those who swam against their tide. They brought militarized police action against domestic targets and the AWB and talk of repealing 2A were seen as just methods to an end.

So stirred up were people, that I remember conversations between home-owners saying, 'if they raid my house, you (who lives across the street) attack from behind.' The idea that anybody could have been set up like Randy Weaver was real, and people felt they were 'all in'. If you were around and a 'gun nutter' at the time, you remember how a whole new segment of society learned about how to bury an SKS in cosmoline 'just in case'.

This was also the time when new militias were being set up in just about every red state in the union not with a foreign invader in mind, but in defense against our own government. Some of these were badly tainted with racism and other extremist views, but the fact that other more balanced individuals were joining up should be indicative of the level of hostility people perceived coming from the feds.

Add to that just an awful lot of weird goings on in the Clinton administration (deaths of Vince Foster, William Colby, etc) and people just didn't know what to think.

So I mention these as high-water marks for the level of anxiety. There was a palpable sense of a government conspiring against its citizens. While I, admitted computer nerd, happened to be on the Internet at the time, most of society certainly wasn't. All they had to rely on were books, distrusted media, and word of mouth. I mention that only to say that society was more easily swayed by hysteria in both directions. Today, I think most attribute the stupid actions of the government to ineptitude more than to skulduggery.

For some good reading to put you in a '90s frame of mind, read 'No More Wacos' (a good scholarly work about the legal screwiness that still exists) and 'Behold a Pale Horse' (a substantially much less scholarly work about gov. conspiracy from the period but one that well describes the fear and anxiety of the time).

So my answer is no, it's not like the AWB before. Individuals are arguably more informed these days, there's a tide of support for gun ownership, and a realization that the best defense of 2a is a good, proactive, 'affirmative' defense.

Last edited by Brian Pfleuger; November 5, 2012 at 03:23 PM.
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Old November 5, 2012, 03:09 PM   #13
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That's what I'm thinking Jim, in light of recent statistical evidence and a public that appears to be a bit better informed on the matter of firearms. The fact that the sport has been growing despite the regulations that have waxed and waned within the past decade or two speaks volumes in of it self I think in terms of what point of view the general public now has on the topic concering regulations on firearms.

The way I see it is that though we may not have to worry about another AWB, we will need to remain vigilant against back door politics attempting to impart regulations of some sort on ammunition and magazines. This of course is for another topic/thred.

I can't draw a compairison to when the Clinton AWB was passed nor can I really relate to the 2008 explosion in prices since I wasn't as heavily into the sport as I am now.

Hopefully after the elections, and whomever is elected to be our next president, for better or worse, prices will stablize ones again and we can all get back to doing what we love doing.

Last edited by Tom Servo; November 5, 2012 at 08:52 PM. Reason: A little over the top, there...
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Old November 5, 2012, 04:39 PM   #14
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We still have an AWB in CA, and various legislators, the governor and AG Kamala Harris are stunned that people continue to buy firearms and adamant they not have access to "assault weapons", magazines holding more than 10 rounds, blah, blah.

On the other hand, 5 counties now accept "personal protection" as good cause to issue carry permits, and other counties, save the bastions of liberalism and open-mindedness such as Los Angeles, are being helpful as they can be in seeing applicants get permits. I don't see CA moving back from where it is in any hurry, but it is possible the tide has hit its peak.

If there is some major disaster or upheaval, I expect liberal local or state authorities could try to disarm citizens as Ray Nagin did in New Orleans. I don't worry much about it.

If NYC is any indication, when government focuses on whether you can have plastic bags or foie gras or need a bullet train, it loses the capability to act in other areas. The ability of the state to muster an effective seizure campaign is questionable. Let's hope so, anyway.
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Old November 5, 2012, 08:47 PM   #15
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Old November 5, 2012, 11:38 PM   #16
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Don't fret about a ban getting through Congress to the Presidents' desk....the next two Supreme Court appointees will happen first, and then the ban, or worse, to be duly upheld by a packed court. These folks ain't dumb, and they think in long-term timelines. Forty years of media brainwashing has conditioned the electorate and almost ended the youth connection to the firearm and hunting heritage.
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Old November 5, 2012, 11:48 PM   #17
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Lived through those years, the only good thing was that when I sold my AR clone, instead of the $450 it was worth when I bought it, it was worth $900.

We fought the bill, and lost, by a single vote. Jay Inslee (currently running for governor of Washington) claimed to be the deciding vote, but he has lied about lots of other things, too.

Because of the climate of the times, the best we could do was get the sunset provision. The Clinton administration was resolute, and made examples of anyone who got in their way. Media was beating the drum HARD that the biggest danger to life, liberty and the American dream was GUNS,and "assault weapons" (note that by their own definition, this term ONLY refers to SEMI AUTOMATICs not full auto firearms) were the worst and most dangerous of the lot.

The internet wasn't what it is today, and neither is America. The press still had the respect of the average citizen, who blindly believed nearly all they put out. That isn't true anymore.

The big change in attitude came with the terrorist attacks on 9/11. The biggest mass murder in the modern era, and not a single gun was used. Average people began to wake up, and realize that what the press and the politicians had been saying about guns in the US just wasn't true.

And the wealthy people had been frightened in a way that had never happened before. They finally began to realize that there were things in this world more dangerous to their pampered lifestyles than Joe sixpack owning a semi auto rifle. Of course, the true believers kept up their mantra, but the support they had been used to began to dwindle, and kept on fading. Today, it's nearly non-existant.

The AWB, passed the summer before an election, ticked off a LOT of people. And we voted, before we, as a nation, had time to forget. The press said it was Newt's "contract with America", and that did have some effect, but it was the general anger over the AWB that changed the makeup of Congress, changing the majority, for the first time in 40 years!

Sadly, the Republicans failed to get the AWB repealed (they did try, I have to give them that), and they let things slip through their hands soon enough, but they did try.

Politicians on both sides have finally come to realize that gun control is a lose/lose policital issue. They lose our support when they bring it up, and they lose anti's support when they fail to get it passed.

yes, some of them will try to get a new AWB passed, and are just waiting for some blood to be spilled by a nutjob to justify it. There are also one's out there trying to repeal the 2nd Amendment. They introduce a bill to do it every session (or so it seems). Not getting any traction these days, but that doesn't stop them from trying.

There are a great many things in the world more important for our government to be doing than screwing with our gun rights, and most of the politicians today realize that. Especially those relatively new in politics. The old timers still cling to their fantasies (our current VP has been a gun control advocate his entire career), but their dreams are not very popular with the nation today, thankfully.

Look for the gun banners to stage a comeback, when things get better. I'm sure they will try....but until things do get better, I don't think they have much chance of getting their way. And when they do get better (and I believe they will, eventually) we must not forget those who got so wrapped up in their own fantasies that they let things get to where we are now. Those people should be properly rewarded, for the fine job they did.
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Old November 6, 2012, 12:11 AM   #18
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Luckily I wasn't yet into firearms when the first AWB was passed. Like others, I don't foresee a new AWB with the new administration. All the price hikes and low supply are due to higher demand and more interest in firearms by the public, not by a panic.
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Old November 6, 2012, 04:04 AM   #19
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Some people saw gloom and doom. Others saw opportunity.

My father was sitting on a small collection of Colt ARs when the ban went into effect. Where he had started seeing them as just something expensive to feed, before the ban; he saw them as nothing more than dollar signs, during the ban. Their value had more than quadrupled within 6 months.
His "stupid old beater" SP1, for example, he couldn't even get $500 out of, before the ban. But, during the ban, he turned down an offer of $1,800 by a friend, because it was well below market value. And, it was the same story with some Colt H-Bar Match Targets that he had. He had multiple $3,500+ offers, and turned them down for being too low.
(Local market value, anyway. Remember, we were mostly "pre-internet". So, the national used market and market-balancing we see today didn't really exist.)

It was the same story with his Glock 20. He wasn't shooting it very much, and suddenly realized that his 15-round magazines were a gold mine. Where he had considered a $50-apiece price tag to be insane when he bought them, he was able to sell the 8 "spare" magazines he had for $110 each. The store he sold them to turned right around and priced them at nearly $200 each. And, he was able to move the pistol and 3 more magazines for $400 more than he paid for them (new).

And, on it went...
Hi-Power magazines, 1911 magazines, anything that was worth selling...


The only real affect the AWB had on me, is that I have a few pistols that either came with only 10-round magazines (thanks Bill ), or were designed around a 10-round capacity. But, I've picked up "post-ban" 15-rounders for those that are capable.
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Old November 6, 2012, 11:47 AM   #20
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The only real affect the AWB had on me, is that I have a few pistols that either came with only 10-round magazines (thanks Bill ), or were designed around a 10-round capacity. But, I've picked up "post-ban" 15-rounders for those that are capable.
One thing I noticed (I got into shooting right before the sunset) was that it gave a real boost to larger caliber handguns. If you can ONLY have 10 rounds, then why not have those ten be .45ACP instead of 9mm? Moreover, the 1911 was not at a significant capacity disadvantage to guns like the Glock 17; instead of 17 rounds that Glock was only holding 10, and if your 1911 worked with 8 rounds mags, you were down only two rounds. I personally suspect that the magazine capacity ban was one reason the 1911 picked up a bunch of popularity... not the only reason, but the neutralization of the capacity argument made the older single stack designs more attractive.
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Old November 6, 2012, 01:01 PM   #21
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I personally suspect that the magazine capacity ban was one reason the 1911 picked up a bunch of popularity.
It certainly had an effect on the development of smaller, single-stack guns. Concealed carry was expanding very quickly at the time, and market demand for smaller guns exploded.
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Old November 6, 2012, 01:05 PM   #22
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The only real affect the AWB had on me, is that I have a few pistols that either came with only 10-round magazines (thanks Bill ), or were designed around a 10-round capacity. But, I've picked up "post-ban" 15-rounders for those that are capable.
I wonder how much the AWB played into making the 40 S&W round more popular with us civilian shooters. Double stack 45's to this day are not all that common, double stack 40's are pretty common. Capacity is around 10-13 rounds typically.




Quote:
But that's addressing the symptom, not the underlying problem.
Gun owners need to be aware and active, and we need to act as ambassadors for the cause to others.


I agree 100%, I have pro gun family members who are voting for anti gun candidates over in Ohio; sadly stance on gun issues is as about as high on the priority list as the candidates choice in socks.

We have people in this country who do not believe in the right to carry, the right to defend ones self or even that the second amendment should still be valid and guarantee the right to own a firearm.

Every single gun owner should be aware of gun rights issues locally and nationally; They should then use that information quizz candidates courting their votes about their stance on the issues. Every single gun owner should make an effort without being annoying to educate those close to them who wants to be educated.

The sad fact is something like 50-80 Million people in this country own Firearms. The NRA only has 4.3 Million members. The SAF only has between 600,000 and 700,0000. Assuming that you have even three times as many people to whom gun rights are a serious issue VS. members of the NRA that only comes to about 13 million people, or at best 26% of gun owners. The NRA and SAF are really on the front lines of this fight to keep our 2A rights and remove any bogus restrictions.

Personally I got annoyed at the NRA once they sent me one of those if you don't respond we will begin to bill you offers and shifted my donations over to the SAF but that’s neither here nor there.

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Old November 7, 2012, 12:17 PM   #23
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I don't see anything (if anything happens) happening till after mid term elections. Think the dems are still hurting from the last mid term loss, they won't want to do anything drastic until then. If anything they'll want to have the reps stonewall everything the first two years to help them during mid term elections.
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Old November 7, 2012, 01:52 PM   #24
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If you would like to continue this discussion, please do so over in the only political discussion thread we have: Rules for Legal & Political & Last Night's Election

The topic of a renewed AW Ban, deals with the ramifications of the election and should be discussed (politely) there.

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