Gun Group Shoots Holes in the 'Guns for Hunting' Argument

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:04 PM EDT

( - The Senate on Wednesday plans to take up a bill that would shield gun manufacturers and gun distributors from lawsuits stemming from the criminal misuse of guns. Guns are legal products, the manufacturers say, and therefore, the companies that produce them should not be blamed for the way criminals use them.

Litigation arising from the criminal misuse of guns is nothing more than an effort to drive gun makers out of business, critics say. They call it gun control in disguise.

Most Democrats and the gun control groups that support them don't like the lawsuit immunity bill. They say it protects "negligent" gun dealers and leaves crime victims without legal recourse against them. But Senate Democrats say consideration of the bill will give them an opportunity to attach two amendments favored by gun control groups.

One amendment would require background checks for all weapons purchased at gun shows. The other would renew the Clinton-era ban on certain guns defined as assault weapons.

The White House wants the Senate to pass the lawsuit immunity bill without amendments, but Democrats have made it a priority to extend the 1994 assault-weapon ban, which will expire in September if no action is taken.

Supporters say the assault weapons ban has reduced crime. And they say people don't need "assault" rifles to go hunting anyway.

But Second Amendment groups reject the Democrats' "guns-for-hunting" argument.

Since 1994 -- the year the assault weapons ban was passed -- Democrats have "scrambled" to appease gun owners by staging photo-ops at canned bird hunts or by showing up at shooting events, said Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA).

But, said Gottlieb, Democrats make a mistake when they talk about supporting the Second Amendment right "to own guns for hunting."

"The Second Amendment is not, and never has been, about shooting ducks, deer, clay targets or tin cans," Gottlieb said in a press release. "It's about personal defense, homeland security, and resisting tyranny.

"America's 80 million gun owners are not about to be patronized and suckered by politicians whose national party still retains gun control as one of its central planks," he added.

CCRKBA said Democrats who vote to extend the assault weapons ban "will be dropping any pretense that they support the rights of their constituents to own firearms," Gottlieb said. "Gun owners will not forget," he warned.

According to Gottlieb, politicians who are willing to ban one type of firearm would probably be equally willing to ban another type - based only on its looks, perhaps.

CCRKBA said Democrats must reject any attempt to renew the assault weapons ban if they are truly interested in winning back the trust and support of America's gun owners.

Among other things, the assault weapons ban forbids the manufacture of specific weapons and it also bans duplicate copies of those named weapons. It also bans the production of gun with various, specified "assault weapon" features.

Although they are pressing for renewal of the assault weapons ban, gun control groups have complained that it doesn't work the way it was intended to. Some gun manufacturers, by making minor changes to "assault" weapons, sell products that look and work very much like the banned weapons.

See Earlier Story:
Dems Tout Second Amendment, but Voting Records Show Hostility (Nov. 17, 2003)

Send a Letter to the Editor about this article.