In Washington, D. C., Congressman
Bob Barr of Georgia introduced H. R.
26, to provide that the firearms prohibitions
applicable by reason of a domestic
violence misdemeanor conviction, which
last year were enacted into law, do not
apply if the conviction occurred before
the prohibitions became law, that is
September 30, 1996. With Rep. Bob
Stump of Arizona listed as the original
cosponsor, it was referred to the House
Committee on the Judiciary.
CCRKBA hopes that, if the 1996
act is amended, it is amended so that
any correction relates to the severity of
the domestic abuse crimes involved in
each instance. Thus if there is evidence
of actual physical violence involved in
a domestic abuse investigation and the
defendant is convicted or pleads guilty
after proper advice of the consequences,
the present prohibition on firearms ownership
should be retained.
Failing that, CCRKBA believes
Congress should reinstitute and fund a
federal system for relief from disability, as
previously existed with felony records. If
a crime is felonious, it should be treated
as such no matter who is involved. If not,
the matter should be left to the discretion
of the states or the federal agencies
In the Lone Star State of Texas, State
Sen. Jerry Patterson and State Reps.
Ray Allen and Bill Carter announced
that right to carry reform bills would
be introduced in both chambers of the
State Legislature. The three right to keep
and bear arms supporters would like to
roll back restrictions on where license
holders may lawfully carry and preempt
local regulation of concealed handgun
license holders.
According to the U. S. Department
of Justice, drug offenders accounted for
nearly a third of the 872,000 felony convictions
in state courts in 1994. Property
crimes made up nearly another third.
The Justice Department’s Bureau
of Justice Statistics reported that violent
crimes were responsible for less than
one in five state felony convictions that
The median age of convicted felons
rose from 27 years in 1988 to 29 years
in 1994, reflecting the rise in the average
age of the population as the large
“baby boom” generation grows older.
Teenage murderers, however, were
an exception to that trend. Teenagers
accounted for 10 percent of murderers
in 1988 but 18 percent in 1994, as they
were recruited into violent crack cocaine
trafficking. Later government figures
from a different survey, reported the
Associated Press, show that the arrest
rate of teenagers for violent crimes,
particularly murder, declined in 1995
for the first time since 1987.
People in their twenties accounted
for about 20 percent of the adult population
but 43 percent of the convicted
state felonies.
Fifty-one percent of the convicted
felons were white, 48 percent black and
one percent other races.
The violent crimes of murder, manslaughter,
rape, robbery. aggravated
assault and kidnapping accounted for
18.9 percent of 1994 state felony convictions.
Property crimes of burglary,
larceny, fraud and forgery accounted
for 31.6 percent. Drug possession or
trafficking accounted for 31.4 percent.
The number of law enforcement
officers who died in action in 1996 was
the lowest in 30 years, according to the
National Association of Chiefs of Police
NACOP, which has been compiling
statistics since 1960, said as of December
31, 1996 that 118 line-of-duty deaths
had been reported for the year.
Even if the number rises somewhat
as expected with late reports, that would
still make 1996 the safest year for law
enforcement officers since 1966, when
108 deaths were counted.
“The Australian government’s
campaign to disarm its gun-owning
population has descended into a farce,”
reports Chris Oliver Wilson of the LONDON
According to Wilson, “firearm owners
are collecting generous compensation
for handing in newly banned guns,
then buying equally lethal but legal
weapons with the cash.
“The gun lobby’s success in evading
the ban is making a mockery of legislation
passed in the wake of the massacre of
35 persons in Port Arthur, Tasmania, by
lone gunman Martin Bryant last April.
“Gun dealers across the country have
been inundated with shooting enthusiasts
brandishing government compensation
checks, often worth thousands of
dollars. They are buying powerful new
lever-action and bolt-action rifles, which
have ranges up to 400 yards.
“‘It is a fiasco,’ said Colin Elkington,
a New South Wales gun dealer whose
sales have soared. ‘Many owners are
handing in banned guns and buying
10-shot repeating firearms of the same
caliber. They’re as lethal and not a lot
slower to reload.’
Around 250,000 of the four million
firearms in public ownership have already
been handed in and $90 million paid out.
Mr. Elkington estimates that more than
150,000 new guns will be bought with
the money…
“Olly Westcott, a fencing contractor
from Perth, Western Australia, handed
in his pump-action shotgun last week
in exchange for about $400. His next
stop on receiving the money was Doug
Barnes’ Gun Mart, where he admired a
Swift .22 bolt-action rifle with a view to
buying one later.
“Mr. Westcott is convinced that behind
the federal government’s campaign
lies a hidden agenda.
“‘They want Australia gun-free in the
buildup to it becoming a republic,’ he
said, conspiratorially. ‘This is a way of
controlling the population. Next they’ll
clamp down on fishing.’
“The move to make Australia a republic
would break traditional ties with
the British Crown…
“Politicians’ zeal for the measures
was deflated when they found the
strength of opposition at home, especially
in rural Queensland, Western
Australia and Northern Territory