One Win For Our Side
At about five-thirty yesterday evening, the lengthy feature that was to have gone in today's editions of both the Outdoor and Shooting Wires was rendered unnecessary. Normally, that's not a reason for celebration. But this was no ordinary occurrence.
After having spoken with Larry Haynie of Georgia Arms regarding the Department of Defense decision to require all once-fired military brass be shredded rather than sold for repurposing to consumers and domestic agencies, it seemed the set-piece battle over gun ownership was underway.
This morning, there is no discomfort whatsoever to report that the Department of Defense has been introduced to the idea that unilateral decisions of this magnitude don't come without consequences.
The voice of reason came from the United States Senators from Montana.
More accurately, the voices of reason came from the Democratic senators from Montana.
At approximately 4:15 p.m. Eastern yesterday afternoon, Senators Tester and Baucus of Montana faxed a cosigned letter to the Department of Defense asking DOD to reverse their new policy requiring "mutilation" of fired military cartridge brass.
At approximately 5:30 p.m. Eastern our sources tell us, Senator Tester's office received a fax back from the Defense Department saying the brass destruction policy IS reversed.
Already, websites that coordinate the sale of DOD surplus are beginning to remove the "Mutilation" requirement from their listings. This only hours after they began adding the mutilation stipulation.
In short, it seems a fax from the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and another Senator had considerable powers of persuasion.
That translates to a win for the law-abiding gun owners of the United States.
It is only appropriate that we recognize the party affiliation of both these men, because their willingness to go to bat for the ammunition industry demonstrates that, despite all the indications to the contrary, Washington is not irrevocably divided down party lines.
When it comes to firearms and Second Amendment rights, it seems party affiliations can still be disregarded.
That is reassuring.
Today, firearms owners owe these two gentlemen a vote of thanks.
They didn't wait for an opinion poll, they acted.
Still, this is still no time to relax when it comes to firearms.
DOD has seen the light, but Attorney General Holder and the Justice Department seem determined to try and convince America the problems with Mexican drug smuggling and the related violence is due to the ease with which American arms are being purchased here and smuggled into Mexico.
Fortunately, not everyone is sitting still for that argument.
Last week, Chris Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action warned a House subcommittee not to make American gun owners "scapegoats" for the Mexican crisis.
"According to some," Cox said in a prepared statement, "the violence in Mexico is not the fault of the Mexican drug cartels or their American customers, nor is it the fault of decades of Mexican government corruption. In their views, the fault lies with American gun owners."
That, Cox continued, "is an outrageous assertion."
But that assertion continues.
And last week, three Democratic lawmakers were quick to notify Attorney General Holder of their "vigorous opposition" to any new gun restrictions the Obama administration might be considering.
The three lawmakers were Alaska Senator Mark Begich and - you guessed it - Montana Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester.
Despite some ugly times that will likely lie ahead, it seems it's not too-late to hope for some non-partisan common sense to be injected into Congress.
OK, maybe that's optimistic, but we'll take this win - and all the support we can muster.
Thank you, Senators Tester and Baucus, for your unhesitating support.
Oh yeah - the following note is up on the Georgia Arms website:
"Dear Loyal Customers,
Thanks to your voice, DOD has rescinded the order to mutilate all spent cases as of 4:30 pm on 3/17/09. We appreciate the time and effort that you expended, together we all made a difference. We will be posting the email we received from DOD as well as any additional information within the next 12-16 hours. Thanks so much and lets get to work!!!"