Shocker: GOA Opposes Dem Sponsored Bill

Gun Owners of America comes out against the Democratic sponsored S.3525, the Sportsman’s Act. Among the items the Sportsman’s Act will do is remove lead ammunition and fishing tackle from the purview of the EPA. From NRA:

In addition to promoting land access, the bill would amend the “Toxic Substances Control Act” to prevent this and future administrations from using the Environmental Protection Agency to eliminate the right of hunters, shooters and anglers to use traditional ammunition and fishing tackle.  The bill would amend the law to clarify that the EPA does not have the authority to regulate shot, bullets or sport fishing equipment.

Given the threat the lead issue poses to shooting, I’m finding it hard to accept GOA’s flimsy pretense for opposing the bill, namely that is empowers the government to seize private lands. I have read the provisions of GOA claims to have issue with, and my view is the bill makes no such authorization. GOA even fully admits that the bill explicitly prohibits federal funds being used to seize property without permission of owners, but then go on to say:

So while this section is put forward as a “protection,” it actually doesn’t provide total immunity because the government can take a land owner’s property using non-federal funds — and there is no protection in the bill against that.

The federal government can’t take anyone’s land using “non-federal funds.” Money spent by the federal government is by definition a federal fund. They could have a bake sale to raise money, and it would still be a federal fund if the federal government is ultimately cutting a check from the treasury to fund it. More importantly, because this is a federal program, no funds provided to states could be used to seize property either.

You know what I think GOA’s objection to this bill is? It’s primary sponsor is John Tester (D-MT), who is a Democrat. I think GOA would rather us continuing to rely on the benevolence of the EPA on lead ammunition and tackle, rather than offering the Democrats a legislative victory in the Senate.

16 thoughts on “Shocker: GOA Opposes Dem Sponsored Bill”

  1. It’s stuff like this, crap like this, that keeps me away from ever joining the GOA. Not all Democrats are anti gun. I will mention that the vast majority of Dems are anti gun and some extreme anti gun, but to make stuff up, or conjure stuff up, due to someones party is crazy. We need to make sure WE (Gun Owners) support people who support gun rights, not one party over the other.

    1. The right to defend yourself shouldn’t be a partisan issue. Unfortunately, GOA wants to tack our likelihood of success for defending our rights onto the fortunes of the Republican Party. That doesn’t seem like the wisest of all ideas right now. I’d rather make sure that our rights are respected no matter who is in charge.

    2. I believe there is more to it than just Republicanism.

      John Tester just defeated Denny Rehberg, who I have seen referred to extensively as a “ReBiblican.” You will find quite often GOA energetically supports candidates with the strong ReBiblican credentials, but only so-so RKBA records. It is possible what GOA is doing is setting up a stretched campaign talking point for a Rehberg/Tester rematch in 2014.

      1. Honestly, I like seeing Tester in the Senate. He’s a lifelong Montanan, ranches/farms in the state, and I have more than a few friends and family who know him and support him. If I could locate more Dems like him, I would support them as well. He’s got the bona fides to speak for Sportsmans Rights and against Gun Control, when it comes to that I think I trust him more than GoA. If we know we are going to have some Democrats in the Senate, lets make sure it continues to be him. Fight this fight over someone else’s seat.

  2. Sounds like it would be better to turn Tester into a conservative. Maybe with some of the wierd stuff Reid is likely to pull this coming session, that may happen.

    As for GOA, I view them as the tinfoil hat crowd and wouldn’t give them a dime.

    1. The following site has a table comparing positions of Rehberg and Tester. Frankly I lean toward liking Tester better, exactly as he is. I have yet to find what tangibly makes Rehberg better than Tester on gun issues, i.e., what he ever did, versus what he said. (Either of them for that matter.)

      Of course, I see where Rehberg went to bat to try to prevent removal of a Jesus statue from federally owned land.

  3. Just like any Political Organization, once it get BIG, it develops Factions. Guys like Tester and Manchin of West-by-God are a Dying Breed, but as long as they support the RKBA and keep up their NRA Ratings, I’d rather have them in the Senate than people like that Butt-kissing, Bloomberg Buddy Scott Brown.

    Who, thankfully, now has to get a paycheck from some non-Gooberment Source.

  4. I’ve had that conversation more than once at work: you can’t spend a penny you aren’t authorized by law to spend. It doesn’t matter where the money comes from; federal agencies can hang on to property, but all money defaults to the Treasury.

  5. Sebastian, I think it’s even more venal than that…

    One of the most successful fundraising issues for the GOA over the past few years has been to raise the specter of lead ammunition bans. This legislation would dramatically reduce their ability to fundraise on that subject.

    Meanwhile, opposing it with the notion that it “empowers the federal government to seize private property” is a GREAT fundraising point for them.

    It’s every fear that all the stupid, eluded, paranoid, or just ill informed shooter(sadly the majority of the shooting public) has about the fedgov all rolled into one neat package.

  6. Before we get too far on the “GOA == Bad” stretch, how about some more independent analysis?

    Apparently, the language regarding property transfers is the same language in the Clean Water Act that lets the EPA arbitrarily declare anything with any amount of water (think: puddle) “wetlands” and therefore “protected”.

    GOA may have a point, or they may not. But before we have a knee-jerk “Down with GOA” reflex, we should figure out what the law does and form our own conclusions. Just sayin’.

    1. I did my research and stand by my analysis. If they want to claim it’s the same as the Clean Water Act they need to cite the sections of statute and precedent and say how it’s similar, not just say it’s similar, throw up Sackett v. EPA, and say GOA has a point. This bill gives the feds no power to seize private property. Period. The Clean Water Act does give EPA broad authority to regulate wetlands, and if you happen to have said wetland on your property, the EPA has authority. Not as much as they claimed in Sackett, which is why even all the liberals agreed Sackett could make a case against them. Remember that Sackett was about the EPA claiming their decisions were above judicial review under the Administrative Procedures Act. That was patent nonsense, as the entire court agreed unanimously.

      And I agree, the EPA is an out of control federal agency. Their grant of power by Congress is ridiculous. The one presented in this bill is far more clear, and the bill has appropriate protections in place for property owners. So why is GOA so eagar to leave them with life and death power over the shooting sports in this country?

      I stand by my opinion that this is the fact that GOA hates the idea of Tester gaining a legislative win. Their objections are so much grasping at straws.

      1. This issue exemplifies a bigger problem, IMO.

        I agree with anyone who says this bill and the cited law require better analysis, by people more qualified than we are as laymen, too inclined to believe interpretations supporting our positions.

        However, I will stand by my analysis of GOA provided above. As a nominally single-issue organization, for me it has become too suspect of being influenced by an additional agenda. So, for me its analysis of the legislation lacks credibility. It could turn out to be spot-on, yet I would still suspect that they didn’t care whether it was or not, and that their primary motivation was to badmouth and target a legislator who has been too successful at beating up on some of GOA’s favorite people, on issues having nothing at all to do with guns.

        The reason I see this as a “bigger” problem is, all organizations are at risk for doing it; and the fact that GOA (as our case-in-point) does not seem to have been pegged by the majority of people who should be interested, indicates just how long an organization can survive while feeding “differently motivated” information and opinions to gun owners.

  7. The land seizure issue aside, there is an inaccuracy in the GOA alert and that is “Obama can do that by executive fiat” referring to legalizing bows in National Parks.

    Wrong. Bows are weapons under title 36 of the CFR and weapons are generally prohibited with the exceptions provided for by the credit card act. NPS and its parent DOI has not amended the CFR since the Federal judge stopped the enforcement of the new reg. passed by the Bush admin. Though I am not sure what that means for the old or new 36CFR 2.4 but since 2.4 has practically nothing different as concerns bows.

    Superintendents are not permitted to selectively enforce the CFR and it may not be “suspended” or overridden with “executive orders”. ( us v. Lofton )
    Show me the provision in federal law or CFR that permits the suspension of the CFR by E.O. …

    At one point before the new cfr 36 2.4 was promulgated DOI proposed reducing the penalty for 2.4 to $50 and making it a “secondary offense”. This was rejected for a bunch of reasons, not the least of which was that it just shouldn’t be a crime.

    Just because an administration has a policy that chooses not to enforce a federal law it does not mean you cannot or will not be charged with such a violation. Let’s say for example you are caught suspected of smuggling because you have a large amount of cash on you. Say it is found in a traffic stop. NPS goons find a bow on you and it’s generally not the policy of rangers to prosecute for this or bear spray (also a weapon under title 36) but the rangers KNOW you are guilty of smuggling.

    Bang – they pull the trigger on this criminal charge and get to search because of this “violation”.

    Now, for those of us reading this blog – not a problem as I venture to say most of us go out of our way to not break the law. However, the blogosphere is but a subset of internet savvy, gun owner+RKBA activists. This can easily ensnare otherwise innocent gun owners.

    So, the GOA alert IS inaccurate at least in this regard. As far as the federal seizure of lands, that requires more research to weed through.

  8. GOA has been a clown show for as long as I can remember. This silliness only reinforces it.

    I think that GOA needs to spend less time picking fights with the NRA – which is what I think the motivation for this is.

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