Neal Knox Update: Orrin Hatch: "fish or cut bait"


July 16, 2003, 12:26 PM
July 16 Neal Knox Update – Senate Judiciary Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah)
just dropped a grenade in Congressional laps.

His bill would repeal the ban on privately owned handguns in homes
and businesses -- and registration of rifles and shotguns -- in
the nation’s capital, which has just regained its loathsome crown
as “Murder Capital of the Nation.”

If nothing else this bill will force all those tepid “Supporters of the
Second Amendment” to fish or cut bait.

Sen. Hatch’s “District of Columbia Personal Protection Act” – which does
not yet have a number – would repeal the city’s long-standing requirement
that firearms and ammunition be registered. It was used almost 30 years
ago to effectively prohibit handguns by requiring the re-registration of
the few registered guns, then prohibiting any non-registered guns from
being registered.

Further, under existing law registered rifles and shotguns could not be
kept loaded – or even fully assembled – assuring D.C.’s criminals that
they could rape, rob and steal from law-abiding citizens without fear of
facing anything more deadly than a kitchen knife or a pan of boiling

Sen. Hatch’s NRA-backed bill would eliminate criminal penalties for
possession and carrying firearms within citizens’ own homes and

It would also strike the provision declaring any semi-automatic
with more than 13-shot magazine capacity to be a “machine gun,” a
faulty definition which more than 70 years ago NRA President Karl
Frederick boasted of having written.

That provision has been used to ban guns “capable of accepting”
over 13-shot guns. I saw a 1977 letter from D.C. authorities to a
retired D.C. police officer demanding that he surrender an M1
Carbine registered with a five-shot magazine.

Interestingly, the Washington Post and Washington Times haven’t yet
mentioned the Hatch bill.

There is no better example of the failure of “gun control” than D.C.
Imagine the demands for rigid gun laws in D.C. if it didn’t already have
the most prohibitive laws in the nation.

Anti-gunners try to shift the subject by claiming that all a D.C.
resident has to do is cross a bridge into Virginia, or cross a street
into Maryland to obtain a gun.

That’s true – if the D.C. citizens and the seller are both willing
to commit Federal felonies. No individual, and no dealer, may
legally sell a gun across any state line. It was to “protect”
prohibitive laws like New York’s – and D.C.’s -- that the Gun
Control Act of 1968 was enacted.

In the decade after the ’68 Act crimes with guns doubled in the nation,
and went even higher in the cities and states with the most restrictive
gun laws.

The problem with gun laws is that they disarm only the law-abiding, for
criminals pay no more attention to gun laws than they do the laws against
rape, robbery and murder.

As Sen. Hatch pointed out when introducing his bill, “According to the
Bureau of Justice Statistics, and despite the most stringent gun control
laws in the country, in 8 out of the 9 years between 1994 and 2002,
Washington, D.C. had the highest murder rate in the country.”

And almost all of the murders with guns are committed with handguns.

Opponents of the Hatch bill – and there will be many, on both sides of
the aisle – will be flying into the face of that failure. So they will
divide their arguments between “how much worse” the D.C. crime rates
might be without their draconian laws, and claiming that the bill
violates “home rule.”

So on one hand they are arguing that D.C. citizens must be trusted
to govern themselves, while simultaneously arguing that they can’t
be trusted with guns.

But until it passes – or lawsuits filed by individuals connected with the
Cato Institute, and by NRA are successful – the law-abiding citizens of
the District of Columbia are denied their Second Amendment rights.
(Those two lawsuits challenging the D.C. law were filed this spring. NRA
asked that the suits be combined, a motion denied because the NRA suit is

Following is the full text of Sen. Hatch’s July 15 introductory statement
on the “District of Columbia Personal Protection Act”

Mr. President, I rise today to introduce the District of Columbia
Personal Protection Act. This is an extremely important piece of
legislation. Most importantly, this bill goes a long way toward
restoring the constitutionally guaranteed right of Americans who
reside in the District of Columbia to possess firearms.

Mr. President, it is no secret that the District of Columbia, our
great Nation’s Capital, suffers from the most startling violent crime
rates in the country. It has the highest, the absolute highest,
murder rate per capita in the country. According to the Bureau of
Justice Statistics, and despite the most stringent gun control laws
in the country, in 8 out of the 9 years between 1994 and 2002,
Washington, DC had the highest murder rate in the country. In fact,
the results are in for 2002, and unfortunately they continue to paint
a grim picture. Mr. President, the District of Columbia has again
reclaimed its rather unenviable title as the “Murder Capital of the
United States”.

It is time, Mr. President, to restore the rights of law-abiding
citizens to protect themselves and to defend their families against
murderous predators. All too often, we read in the paper about yet
another vicious murder carried out against an innocent District of
Columbia resident. Try to imagine the horror that the victim felt
when he faced a gun-toting criminal and could not legally reach for a
firearm to protect himself. We must act now to stop the carnage and
put law-abiding citizens in a position to exercise their right to
self defense. It is time to tell the citizens of the District of
Columbia that the Second Amendment of the Constitution applies to
them, and not only to their fellow Americans in the rest of the
country. The District of Columbia Personal Protection Act would do
exactly that.

Let me take a moment to highlight what this legislation would do. This
bill would: (1) permit law-abiding citizens to possess handguns and rifles
in their homes and businesses; (2) repeal the registration requirements
for firearms and ammunition; (3) eliminate criminal penalties for
possession and carrying of firearms in their homes and businesses; and (4)
correct an erroneous provision which wrongly treats some firearms as if
they were machine guns.

Over the years, Mr. President, I have heard over and over again from
some of my friends on the other side of the aisle that the way you
reduce violent, gun-related crime is by prohibiting the possession of
firearms. Even if law-abiding citizens are prohibited from
possessing firearms, my liberal friends argue, it is a small price to
pay for safety and security.

Well, I want to take this opportunity to dispel these unfounded
myths. These myths, I might add, are exposed as such by situations
like we have today in the District of Columbia. I have said it
before, but I will say it again, excessive regulation and the
systematic erosion of the rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment
do not deter violent, gun-toting criminals. Enacting and vigorously
enforcing stiff penalties for those that commit crimes with guns
deters violent crime. Not only is this the proven and effective
approach to reducing gun violence, it also preserves the
constitutionally guaranteed rights of law-abiding men and women to
own and possess firearms.

In fact, I recently held a hearing that examined the Administration’s
gun crime reduction initiative, Project Safe Neighborhoods. This
initiative has been incredibly successful. It takes the precise
approach that I have advocated – strict and vigorous enforcement of
crimes committed with guns. It says to criminals, “If you use a gun
during the commission of a crime, you will do very serious and very hard
time.” And it does so, Mr. President, without trampling on the rights
of law-abiding American men and women.

Today, unfortunately but not surprisingly, the state of affairs in the
District of Columbia has highlighted exactly what those of us who care
deeply about the Second Amendment of the Constitution have always feared:
murderous criminals possess firearms and are free to prey upon law-abiding
citizens; and law-abiding citizens – precisely because they are
law-abiding citizens- may not possess a firearm in their homes to protect
themselves and their families.

Mr. President, the prohibition of firearms in the District of
Columbia is as ineffective and deplorable as it is unconstitutional;
it is high time we rectify this wrong. I urge my colleagues to
support this measure.


If you enjoyed reading about "Neal Knox Update: Orrin Hatch: "fish or cut bait"" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
July 16, 2003, 01:03 PM
Give 'em hell!

July 16, 2003, 01:09 PM
Orin Hatch is his own, walking contradiction.

Sometimes he comes up with valuable legislation.

Sometimes he commits complete and total boners.

Problem is I can't tell on a daily basis which Orin will dress out.

July 16, 2003, 01:37 PM
Waitone has an excellent point. The only consistent thing about Hatch is the lack thereof. When he's on, GREAT! But he can go the opposite direction just as easily. Go figure..... :confused:



July 16, 2003, 01:43 PM
Only thing wrong with that is if the DC gun ban gets lifted, all the surviving Bad Guys will move to Cleveland..........

'cause thanks to Gov. Booby "FlipFlop. Which way is the wind blowing NOW?" Daft and the Spineless Ohio Senate, we STILL don't have CCW.

July 16, 2003, 02:24 PM
As has been posted here and the KABA web site, hasn't the NRA tried to sabotage the CATO 2nd Amndmnt case?

Now call me cynical (yes, that and crotchety too), but wouldn't this bill- good as it may be for D.C.- pretty much kill the need for the CATO 2nd case? I mean if the D.C. residents get the same rights that most states now grant (and as limited) then would there be a need for SCOTUS to take the CATO case and (possibly) have to reinforce for all time the fact that the 2nd protects all citizens God given right to own a gun.

Is this an NRA/Hatch conspiracy?:uhoh:

Oh yeah, cynical, crotchety and paranoid.

David Park
July 16, 2003, 06:45 PM
If I understand current D.C. law, the gun ban was put in place by the City Council, not the feds in Congress. I don't know exactly how that relationship works, but I'd like to see the details of Hatch's bill. Maybe this would be the equivalent of a statewide preemption law like we have in VA? I think we can expect more "taxation without representation" arguments/whining from D.C. liberals.

Oh, and a Hatch conspiracy wouldn't surprise me one bit. :scrutiny:

Monte Harrison
July 17, 2003, 10:19 AM
When he's on, GREAT! But he can go the opposite direction just as easily. Y'all don't reckon he might be a POLITICIAN, do you? The political wind is blowing in our favor right now, so politicians are setting their sails accordingly.

If you enjoyed reading about "Neal Knox Update: Orrin Hatch: "fish or cut bait"" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!