August 10, 2001
Good News for Gunowners Marks GW Anniversary Issue
by Joseph P. Tartaro
This issue marks another anniversary for some of us here at Gun Week. For me, it notches 22 years as executive editor. For my daughter, Peggy, who has also edited Women & Guns since 1992, this issue marks 22 years in several positions at Gun Weekstarting when she stepped in from the then-fledgling cable-TV industry to help with the Aug. 8, 1979 issue.
The others currently on staff in Buffalo have also been with Gun Week for several yearsTerry Duffy, John Krull, Beverly Rowles and Diane Mariottibut none for quite so long.
Together, however, we have all marked the ups and downs, the successes and failures in the long and continuing struggle to preserve the moral and constitutional right to keep and bears arms.
We are aware that many readers open each new issue with a certain amount of trepidation. In fact, some have complained that they are frequently depressed to read what often seems an overwhelming diet of bad news with regard to the Second Amendment.
We can commiserate with those who feel crushed by what has been an unending stream of anti-gun rights initiatives, anti-gun propaganda, and continuing marginalizaton of law-abiding gunowners and other citizens who believe they have the right to arm themselves if they chooseand defend themselves, their loved ones, their property and their communities. But we dont make the news. We try to sort out what is happening, and report on the most relevant news stories as accurately and as rapidly as we can.
A Little History
Gun Week was started by Amos Press in Sidney, OH, in October 1966. It was purchased in July 1979 by a group of gun-rights activists who set up a corporation, Hawkeye Publishing, specifically for that purpose. In 1985, Gun Week was acquired by the Second Amendment Foundation, a tax-exempt organization established in 1974 for educational and legal action purposes related to the right to keep and bear arms.
The Foundation has not only continued to publish Gun Week, but also acquired the then fledgling Women & Guns magazine in 1990, and began publishing Gun New Digest in 1995. Of course, the Foundation also publishes a number of gun issue books and monographs, as well as the monthly newsletter, The Gottlieb-Tartaro Report, and the quarterly members publication, SAF Reporter.
Through three different owners over a total of 35 years, Gun Week has had a single, unique purpose: to provide independent news of vital interest to gunowners so that they can respond quickly and effectively to every threat to our rights. Because of the volatility of the firearms issue since the 1960s, there has always been a critical need for a national newspaper that provides the kind of firearms-related news that is often ignored or misreported in the general media. Gun Week was the first such publication to provide reliable news in a way that monthly gun magazines simply cannot, and we are still the only such newspaper.
Such a professionally published newspaper still plays an important role for the gun rights movement, even in this age of the Internet (the Second Amendment Foundation also maintains three different websiteswww.saf.org, www.gunweek.com and www.womenandguns.com, with links to and from many other sites).
Good Gun News
Earlier in this column, I mentioned that the news in Gun Week is often frightening and disturbing to shooters, hunters, collectors and firearms activists, as well as the firearm industry. Now, it is significant that this and other recent issues of Gun Week have been able to report on some very significant good news. This is news that should reinforce the beliefs of gunowners in the fundamental philosophy contained in the Declaration of Independence and the rule of law as organized in the US Constitution.
In spite of the rantings of the anti-gun media and anti-gun politicians in the United States and around the world, the unique American freedom embodied in the Second Amendment has received some historically significant enrichment in recent weeks and months.
First of all, it should be noted that membership in the National Rifle Association, the Second Amendment Foundation and other national pro-gun organizations is at an all-time high. The largest of these organizations, the NRA, now has a membership well over 4 million people. The combined membership of national pro-gun organizations represents a formidable political force today, especially when you consider that in the late 1970s the late Harlon B. Carter, then executive vice president of the NRA, was trying to get the Associations membership over 1 million.
This political force played a key role in several recent national elections. One of the most important of these was the congressional election of 1994, when gunowners sent a resounding message to Bill Clinton and his anti-gun cronies by clearly defeating many anti-gun incumbent lawmakers and giving the Republicans a majority in in the House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years.
Gunowners sent perhaps their strongest message in recent history during the 2000 presidential election. While Al Gore may have edged George W. Bush in the popular vote, he carried only a small number of populous states. Largely because of the Clinton-Gore position on firearms civil rights, Gore lost in many traditionally Democratic states, including his own state of Tennessee and Clintons home state of Arkansas. The Bush-Cheney ticket won in West Virginia and Ohio largely because they werent carrying the anti-gun record of Gore-Lieberman.
The Democrats and their allies in big media were relentless in their attacks on both Bushs and Dick Cheneys records on guns, but it seems to have backfired. That message got through to many Democrats, some of whom are now trying to distance their party from the anti-gun collar that has been placed on it by extremists from California, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York.
The election of Bush has already produced a major sea-change on the gun issue in Washington. In recent weeks, Gun Week has been able to report on Attorney General John Ashcrofts letter to James Jay Baker at the NRAs Institute for Legislative Action in which he enunciated a clear individual rights interpretation of the Second Amendment.
Ashcroft has also taken steps to resolve the national registration threat posed by FBI recordkeeping of NICS approvals.
Perhaps some of the best news recently was the clear pro-Second Amendment statements of the US State Departments representative to the United Nations conference on global gun control. Undersecretary John Bolton told the world that the US would not sign onto any international protocol that undercut the Second Amendment to the US Constitution. The US position prevented the UN delegatesmany of them representatives of governments that want to control their populations by controlling gunsfrom enacting this year the kind of international gun control treaty that most of us feared.
We are not out of the woods yet, by any means. Not in the UN. Not in the US Congress. Not in all the state legislatures.
But gun news recently has certainly been good, and it has been more fun to report than so much of what happened during the Clinton era.
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