The Second Amendment Foundation has issued a press release about a U.S. Senate vote on Thursday affirming gun rights during emergencies and major disasters. I agree with Alan Gottlieb, spokesman for the group, that this vote represents a strong shift in the pro-gun rights direction.
A change in political climate toward defending the right to keep and bear arms was evidenced by a majority of Senate Democrats voting for the Vitter Amendment (Senate amendment 4615) which was co-sponsored by Robert Byrd D-WV.
The Vitter amendment passed by a 84 to 16 vote. All sixteen Senators voting no were Democrats which suggests that those of us who support gun rights within the Democratic Party still have some work to do. Among the Senators voting against gun rights, all but three were from the Northeast or California.
Passage of Vitter Amendment Shows Public Shift on Gun Rights After Katrina
7/14/2006 4:42:00 PM
To: National Desk
Contact: Alan Gottlieb of the Second Amendment Foundation, 425-454-7012
BELLEVUE, Wash., July 14 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The Senate's overwhelming 84 to 16 vote this week to prohibit gun confiscations from private citizens in emergencies shows there has been a remarkable shift in the public's attitude about gun rights after the Hurricane Katrina debacle, the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) said today.
"For many in the Senate, like Republicans Mike DeWine of Ohio and Lincoln Chaffee of Rhode Island, and Democrats Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell of Washington," observed SAF Founder Alan Gottlieb, "it was the first time they've voted to support the individual rights of law-abiding gun owners. They saw the looting and lawlessness, and watched the outrage of post-Katrina gun confiscations, and so did their constituents.
"Incredibly," he continued, "sixteen extremist anti-gun Democrats, led by Hillary Clinton, demonstrated by their vote that they think it's just swell for the government to seize private property from law-abiding citizens, often times at gunpoint and always without warrant or due process of law. This time, it's guns but what about next time? If it is okay with these senators for police to take legally-owned firearms without probable cause, what would they advocate next for confiscation?"
SAF successfully sued the City of New Orleans and St. Tammany Parish last September to force a halt to those illegal gun seizures. The National Rifle Association joined in that lawsuit.
"For people of such divergent political views as Joe Biden, Robert Byrd, Blanche Lincoln, Joe Lieberman, Patrick Leahy, Chuck Hagel, Orrin Hatch, Wayne Allard, Max Baucus and 75 of their colleagues, this vote was a no-brainer," Gottlieb observed. "What a pity that Sen. Clinton's group remains so myopic about firearm civil rights that they vote to essentially support the warrantless seizure of private property.
"We hope the House concurs with this vote," Gottlieb concluded, "so that never again, on American soil, will we witness a police state mentality that would sooner disarm people and leave them defenseless when they should be offered assistance and medical aid if necessary. Being secure from warrantless search and seizure is guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, even if some people in New Orleans, and a handful on Capitol Hill, seem willing to ignore that."
The Second Amendment Foundation ( http://www.saf.org ) is the nation's oldest and largest tax-exempt education, research, publishing and legal action group focusing on the Constitutional right and heritage to privately own and possess firearms. Founded in 1974, The Foundation has grown to more than 600,000 members and supporters and conducts many programs designed to better inform the public about the consequences of gun control.
Pro-gun Democrats must continue to push our party in the direction of supporting our Second Amendment rights. Groups like Amendment II Democrats http://www.a2dems.net are getting out the word that many of us in the Democratic Party do favor the right to keep and bear arms. Gun control doesn't work and it bad politics too.
* HELP 57 MILLION WORKERS GAIN A UNION
The following action alert was sent by the Working Families e-Activist Network
Today, 57 million workers in America want to join unions. But employers routinely block their efforts—and our laws are too weak to protect them. It's time for Congress to support the Employee Free Choice Act, which would allow workers to make their own uncoerced decisions on whether or not to form a union. Please sign the following petition urging members of Congress to support this important legislation.
Subject:Co-Sponsor the Employee Free Choice Act (H.R. 1696 and S. 842)
Dear Representative or Senator:
We, the undersigned, urge Congress to support the Employee Free Choice Act (H.R. 1696 and S. 842) now. Workers need the Employee Free Choice Act because workers need unions. Union workers typically earn 28 percent more than nonunion workers to support their families and contribute to their communities.
Union members are much more likely than nonunion workers to have vital benefits such as health care coverage, disability insurance and retirement security. And no one can put a price tag on the pride of having a union voice at work.
Some 57 million workers would join a union if they could. But, as Human Rights Watch has documented, employers routinely harass, coerce, intimidate and stall to block workers' freedom to choose union representation. In fact, every 23 minutes a worker is fired or penalized for supporting a union.
We urge our elected representatives and senators to recognize the urgent need to restore workers' freedom to form unions and support the Employee Free Choice Act so workers once again can have the basic right to choose for themselves whether to belong to a union.
Sincerely,[Your name][Your address]