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15. A MISDEMEANOR VIOLATION OF A STATE GUN LAW, COULD MAKE A PERSON A
Even an innocent and unintentional violation of a State gun law which is a misdemeanor in the State (see Washington State Short Firearms Law) would make a visitor a Federal felon under H.R. 6783. A person traveling interstate with his pistol is required to fulfill all requirements of each State he crosses in order to get to his ultimate destination, but there is such a multiplicity of regulations, local and statewide to which he might, by the wording of the State gun laws, be subject, that he could not avoid breaking some regulation unintentionally, and thus become a Federal felon. State permits to carry handguns are usually not reciprocal and a nonresident ordinarily cannot get a permit. Our Government-sponsored State civilian pistol teams could not aroid crossing some State in which they would be accidental violators of the local law, in order to drive from Washington State to the national matches in Ohio; Quantico Marine Base in Virginia, or Fort Benning, Ga., for Olympic games tryouts and training. Retaining the present exemptions of the Federal Firearms Act's section 4 would eliminate part of this difficulty, but would still leave a person carrying large sums of money, jewelry samples, etc., without any means of self-protection.
16. A FEDERAL WEAPONS PERMIT WOULD BE NECESSARY
A Federal weapons permit which would supercede State and local laws would be necessary to protect persons in crossing State lines on lawful errands, from becoming violators under the proposed bills. The pistol regulations as discussed in No. 15, would be so severe that no one but national police and military officers would be safe from gun law violations in the many different jurisdictions in the United States.
17. EVENTUAL LOSS OF THE GOVERNMENT CIVILIAN MARKSMANSHIP TRAINING PROGRAM
WILL RESULT FROM H.R. 6783 SHIPPING RESTRICTIONS
No provision is made for shipping privileges now listed in the Federal Firearms Act in section 4, allowing shipment of firearms and ammunition to institutions, organizations, or persons to whom such materials may be lawfully delivered by the Defense Department, and transportation of such firearms and ammunition by their lawful possessors while they are engaged in military training or in competititions.
18. INDIVIDUAL'S INCREASE IN COSTS DUE TO HAVING TO PAY FOR DEALER SERVICES ON
TRANSACTIONS IN INTERSTATE COMMERCE, WOULD RESULT FROM THESE BILLS
19. LICENSES OF $500 OR $1,000 WOULD BE REQUIRED OF GUN CLUBS MAKING CERTAIN
TYPES OF AMMUNITION FOR ITS MEMBERS: IF UNDER ONE-HALF INCH, $500, IF ONE-HALF INCH (.50 CALIBER) OR OVER, $1,000
Gun clubs could no longer reload ammunition for their members without a $500 license or $1,000 license depending on the caliber of the ammunition of certain types, as the club would be considered a manufacturer, subject to these fees, in or out of "destructive device” category depending on caliber.
20. GUN CLUBS SELLING AMMUNITION TO THEIR MEMBERS WOULD HAVE TO HAVE
Gun clubs could no longer buy at club price, ammunition and certain supplies for resale to their members without a dealer's license. Very few clubs could qualify for such licenses, few would have a store premises, or could fulfill the oppressive requirements of H.R. 6783.
21. NO "GRACE TIME" IS ALLOWED BEFORE THE LAW GOES INTO EFFECT, AFTER PASSAGE
Many legal activities would become illegal on passage of H.R. 6783. No time is given for proper adjustment to these changes.
21. LOSS OF IMPORTANT INFORMATION FROM MANY SMALI. DEALERS WHICH IS NOW
AVAILABLE TO THE GOVERNMENT UNDER THE PRESENT SYSTEM, AS THE DEALERS DROP THEIR LICENSES
The moderate fee and reasonable requirements of the present system has encouraged many individuals and small business to take out Federal licenses, thus permitting the Government agents to secure much more information than would be available otherwise. Many former legitimate trade channels will be dried up under the new requirements, and dishonest trading would be greatly increased.
22. FIREARMS AND CRIME STATISTICS Reference: FBI Uniform Crime Report, 1962: In 1962, there were 2.048,370 serious crimes reported in the United States. Approximately one-fifth of 1 percent, or about 4.500, were willful killings of one human being by another without due process of law, (by guns, 54 percent of estimated 8,100 killings; by cutting or stabbing, 24 percent, about 2,016; by other weapons, 22 percent, about 1,848.) One-fifth of 1 percent of total crimes is a relatively small number in a country of almost 200 million people, although we do not condone any of it, but put it in proper perspective.
This number is further reduced in its heinousness by the following quotation"Although for the most part murder occurs beyond the reach of police patrols the police are successful in clearing this crime by the arrest and charge of the offender. In 1962, the police nationally cleared up 93 percent of these willful killings. On the other hand, cases disposed of by the courts in 1802 indicate that about half resulted in either a reduction of the charge, acquittal, or dismissal" (p. 6).
This quotation can put an entirely different light on the urgency of drastic restrictions on the more than 34 million hunting and fishing license holders in the United States, and the other millions of Americans interested in lawful use of guns who are not outdoorsmen.
Page VII lists 11 factors which affect crime, but firearms are not included in the FBI report as a crime factor.
We have supported reasonable and equitable legislation for proper controls on mail-order shipments of firearms to prevent such items from being accessible to unsuitable persons. However, we unalterably oppose H.R. 6782, H.R. 6783, H.R. 6029, as they remove the right of honest persons to ship and receive rilles, pistols, or shotguns in interstate commerce (except under very limiting circumstances) without having to pay for the services of a licensed dealer; they eliminate means of transportation for the Government civilian marksmanship training program materials, they eliminate antique and collector's items from the exemptions of the present Federal Firearms Acts. They offer many handicaps to the honest citizen, restrict the consumer unbearably, and do not contribute to the public welfare.
We support proper controls of major items of surplus military ordnance not properly in the collector's field. We support controls on importation of foreign military surplus which is not suited to collector's and sportsmen's needs. We oppose unreasonable import prohibition of sporting and competition arms. We supported S. 1975), the original Dodd bill, and now support H.R. 7472 which incorporates the main ideas of S. 1975 to prevent, unsuitable people from evading the Federal Firearms Act, by securing firearms in interstate commerce. Thanking the honorable chairman and members of the committee. Respectfully yours,
A. H. BULL Legislative Chairman, Washington State Rific & Pistol Association.
[From the Seattle Times, July 26, 1965)
A significant feature of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's annual Uniform Crime Reports-1964, made public today, is the high number of criminal repeaters.
During 1963 and 1964, the FBI analyzed the criminal records of nearly 93,000 offenders. Records showed that 76 percent of those then-active offenders had been arrested at least twice; and some form of leniency such as probation, parole, or suspended sentence had been granted to more than half of them. After the tirst occasion on which they were beneficiaries of lenient treatment, the criminal repeaters averaged more than three additional arrests.
Two hundred and sixty-five murderers committed 737 additional offenses after being released on parole. But a relatively small number of bank robbers, 3 percent, again committed bank robbery after first being arrested for that crimethe low rate of return to that crime being attributed to the high conviction rate and the prison terms meted out by the courts.
J. Edgar Hoover, FBI chief, said information gained from the study indicates that the total criminal population is much smaller than the total annual crime counts would suggest. The substantial number of repeaters is driving the crime rate up year after year.
Here indeed are facts that ought to figure strongly in the continuing public debate over whether the courts in general are being overly lenient with criminals.
STATEMENT OF THE ARIZONA GAME PROTECTIVE ASSOCIATION
In the opinion of the Arizona Game Protective Association, H.R. 6628 is objectionable because it prohibits mail-order sales of firearms, including rifles and shotguns, to individuals. As a result, it places harsh and unreasonable restrictions on law-abiding citizens who do not have easy access to major retail firearms outlets or to outlets stocking specialized firearms and therefore must obtain such firearms through the mails. In addition, this bill gives broad, arbitrary authority to the Secretary of the Treasury which could lead to unreasonable administrative regulation on over-the-counter sales of firearms, transportation of firearms across State lines, and firearms sent to gunsmiths and manufacturers for repair. The bill also imposes new, and much higher, annual licensing fees for manufacturers, dealers, and gunsmiths, with the result that smaller businessmen may be forced out of business. Gun registration is also a possibility under the regulatory powers given the Secretary of the Treasury in this bill. The association strongly recommends the defeat of H.R. 6028.
Specific objections of the AGPA are as follows: 1. Section 1 (8) page 3 line 21
The definition of the term "manufacturer” could include clubs engaged in reloading ammunition for distribution to members and subject them to an annual license fee of $500. The AGPA feels that this would be extremely unfair. This definition and the accompanying license fee of $500 would also be unfair to small local "custom" reloaders who specialize in custom loads for hunters and competitive shooters. 2. Section 1 (9) page 4 line 13
The definition of the term “dealer” would include gunsmiths, many of whom conduct their business on a part-time basis. The accompanying $100 annual license fee would, the AGPA feels, prevent many of them from practicing their trade and make their valuable services unavailable to sportsmen. 3. Section 2 (a) page 5, lige 15
This section prohibits all mail-order sales to individuals. The AGPA feels that this would seriously handicap purchases by law-abiding citizens of specialized sporting firearms (custom hunting rifles, customized and accurized competitive target firearms) not normally available through local outlets because of their limited sales volume. This provision would also seriously jeopardize the activities of gun collectors, making it virtually impossible for them to obtain additions to their collections. Firearms normally sought by collectors are not usually available locally. This section would make it impossible for collectors to buy or trade firearms by mail or in another State. This section would also be a severe handicap to citizens who usually cross State lines for their normal purchases and individuals who do not have ready access to dealers who carry a complete line of firearms and ammunition. 4. Section 2(1) page 5, line 20
The broad regulatory powers given the Secretary of the Treasury to govern the transportation of shotguns and rifles by an individual traveling in interstate or foreign commerce could result in unreasonable restrictions on an individual attempting to transport or ship his personal rifle or shotgun to another State for lawful purposes.
5. Section 2 (2) page 6, line 3
The powers given the Secretary to establish regulations governing the transportation of pistols or revolvers in interstate commerce are such that they could prevent an individual from carrying his own pistol or revolver in his luggage on a bus or train to another State for lawful purposes. Since this paragraph prohibits the sale or purchase of a pistol or a revolver in another State, it would also prevent collectors from pursuing their hobbies. Every owner of a firearm would, in fact, be prevented or curtailed in the disposition of lawfully owned personal property. Even disposition by gift would be precluded. 6. Section 2 (3) page 6, line 16
This paragraph, covering the shipment of firearms to an importer, manufacturer, or dealer for "authorized” service delegates extremely broad regulatory powers to the Secretary. It would be up to the Secretary to define "authorized service" and the conditions under which such firearms could be shipped. This could lead to burdensome redtape and dictatorial decisions detrimental to all law-abiding citizens. 9. Section 3 (a), (1), (2), (3) page 11, line 17
The license fees covered by this section appear to be unreasonable in many instances. The $500 per year license for a manufacturer of firearms would conceivably apply to gun clubs reloading for their members use and to custom reloaders. The $100 per year license fee for a dealer in firearms would be unreasonable for part-time gunsmiths and would eliminate many retail outlets (hardware stores, small sporting goods stores, rural general stores) from selling ammunition. The AGPA feels that this would be detrimental to the interests of the law-abiding sportsmen. 8. Section 3(b) page 13, line 18
The licensing of importers, manufacturers, and dealers gives broad, undefined powers to the Secretary of the Treasury. It gives him the power to refuse to issue a license to an individual, if, in the Secretary's opinion, “his business experience, financial standing, or trade connections indicate he is not likely to maintain operations in compliance with this act." And, (p. 14 line 4) the Secretary may refuse to issue a license if the "applicant does not have, or does not intend to have or maintain * * * business premises for the conduct of the business." This last condition wuold, in the AGPA's opinion, prevent part-time gunsmiths (many of whom are accomplished and needed craftsmen) from obtaining the license necessary for their work. 9. Section 3(e), page 14, line 21
The AGPA feels that the Secretary's power to determine what can and cannot be imported into the country is too extensive. The definitions of the words "antique," "unserviceable," "particularly suitable," "not contrary to the public interest” would be relegated to personal opinions. Such determinations would depend upon the attitude of the individual in office at a given time and could conceivably result in the complete elimination of foreign firearms, foreign parts, and the availability of these valuable products of foreign craftsmen to American sportsmen. The powers delegated to the Secretary could jeopardize the availability of many firearms currently sought by collectors as well as many prized sporting firearms. 10. Section 3(g), page 16, line 10
Power is given to the Secretary of the Treasury in this paragraph to decide what records shall be maintained at what location and for how long. His powers to require the filing of reports and information in respect to these records could conceivably lead to the registration of firearms in the United States and the unreasonable harassment of law-abiding citizens. 11. Section 3(i), page 17, line 16
The powers given the Secretary in regard to the prescribed manner in which firearms must be identified could lead to unreasonable regulations.
Based on the above objections, the Arizona Game Protective Association strongly recommends the defeat of H.R. 6628. In the opinion of the AGPA, the restrictions incorporated in H.R. 6628 would not materially reduce the incidence of armed crime in the United States. The AGPA does recommend the complete enforcement of existing laws, coupled with swift, impartial and adequate punishment for those convicted of breaking those laws.
COLORADO WILDLIFE FEDERATION, INC.,
Rangely, Colo., July 20, 1965. LEO H. IRWIN, Chief Counsel, Committee on Ways and Means, Longuorth House Office Building, Washington, D.C.
I understand statements are being accepted pertaining to firearms legislation. specifically S. 1591 and S. 1592 (H.R. 6628 and H.R. 6629) and humbly ask the following to be included in the record.
I am L. W. Hunnicutt, of Rangely, Colo., chairman of the Firearms Committee of Colorado Wildlife Federation, Inc. We have been attempting to keep careful watch on S. 1591 and S. 1592, but have at times found this rather difficult. This is mainly due to what appears to be some secrecy combined with much fastmoving legislative action, enacted by speedy committee work, which seems to be the exception rather than the rule where the attempted changes are bordering upon, if not directly affecting, the constitutional rights of American citizens.
Although many of us have asked for nationwide hearings on these bills, there does not seem to be any consideration given this line of democratic procedure. Instead, it appears that in some committees most of the individuals who appear to present statements in opposition to the bills are needlessly harassed and inconvenienced. After all, nationwide hearings have been held on many other subjects which are not nearly so important to so many people, nor did they place so much direct power in the hands of one appointed official (Secretary of the Treasury) as does S. 1591 and S. 1592.
We sincerely hope your committee can and will arrange to hold nationwide hearings of these bills so the members may find out what the average citizenthe person who is not capable of expending the time and money for a trip to Washington, D.C.-thinks of this legislation and the tactics being used by some officials who urge its adoption.
To those of us who have worked on this problem, and mail-order sales of firearms most certainly constitutes a problem, it is very exasperating to see all the good work which we have done be tossed aside to consider something with so few good points, and so terribly many bad points, as S. 1591 and S. 1592. Years of work by many committees and many more individuals went into the writting of S. 14 (H.R. 3322) and it is now in a form acceptable to almost all groups concerned, including full backing by the National Rifle Association. But it was tossed out and in its place came bills which were conceived in approximately 2 weeks. This does not speak very highly of some legislative activity being carried out in the direct opposite to what has come to be accepted as the approved manner.
The “smear” tactics being used by some influential officials toward the National Rifle Association certainly does nothing to ease our minds as to the true intentions of these bills nor do the statements made by many of its supporters in other committee hearings aid our hope that the "open ended” statement, “under such conditions as the Secretary shall by regulations prescribed," is not intended to be used as a lever to ultimately lead to registration and confiscation. (Sec. 5(b). p. 18, S. 1592.)
Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach claims certain provisions are not the "intent" of the bill, but, to my knowledge, neither he nor anyone else have recommended that they be removed, or changed, or clarified. Also, Senator Robert F. Kennedy stated the availability of firearms is a major factor. Now the only way to remove the availability of firearms is to remove all firearms from existence and this certainly makes one wonder what his intention was in cosponsoring these monstrosities.
Some of the proponents of these bills who vocally consider all legitimate gun owners to be in the “idiot fringe" or worse, fail to acknowledge the fact that Tim Sullivan was committed to an institution shortly after he drafted the infamous “Sullivan law" and subsequently died in confinement. Nor will they admit openly the highly restrictive “Sullivan law” is a dismal failure, but they acknowledge this fact by asking for an extension of its powers to include rifles, shotguns, and ammunition.
We strongly resent being placed in the same category as the Black Muslims, Ku Klux Klan, Minuteman, etc., by some leading proponents of this legislation, simply because we own and use guns. By far the largest majority of gun owners are honest, law-abiding people and the only reason for “scare" tactics to be used in an effort to influence the uninformed is because the perpetrators