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By Larry Pratt

June 25, 2004

The Senate has been a socialist stronghold in Washington. It controls the nomination of judges, who all too frequently set new policy in this country by following international standards, rather than abiding by our own Constitution.

Any judge known to be pro-Second Amendment will be put on the do-not-confirm list by liberal senators such as Edward Kennedy (D-MA), who until now have been able to control the nomination process. This blacklist is not conjecture. It is a scandalous fact that was revealed when a Republican aide discovered opposition memos detailing the entire strategy. Unfortunately, Republican Senators such as Orrin Hatch (UT) reacted to this scandal when it hit the press by firing the staff member who blew the whistle on the Democrats. Hatch has done nothing to hold the Democrats to account.

Earlier this year, Republican incompetence combined with anti-Second Amendment forces to deep six a pro-gun bill. The legislation was designed to protect the firearms industry from frivolous lawsuits filed by greedy trial lawyers. Senator Frist (R-TN) was the chief culprit in this debacle because he discouraged Senators from employing Senate rules that would have blocked the anti-gun assault.

When Senator Bob Smith (R-NH) was in the Senate, he would frequently stop the anti-gunners in their tracks, as well as force votes on pro-gun measures that the leadership did not want. It was Bob Smith in 1998 who, against the strong opposition of his own party in the Senate, forced a vote to stop the FBI from keeping a registration list of gun owners. He was told he would lose and damage the cause. When the dust cleared, he had a veto-proof majority of 67 Senators.

Well, help may well be on the way. If former U.S. Rep. Tom Coburn, a Muskogee obstetrician, is successful in his bid for the U.S. Senate from Oklahoma, gun owners will once again have a champion in the Senate. For that matter, supporters of constitutional government in general will have a leader willing and able to make things happen.

Coburn sported a 100 percent GOA voting record while in the House. He embraced term limits by voluntarily limiting himself to three, two-year terms. He also showed that he was willing to take on the establishment politicians during their ongoing attempts to buy the votes of constituents through pilferage of the Social Security trust fund.

In 1999 Coburn resolved to force the big-spenders (Republican and Democrat alike) to live within the spending limits the out-of-control spenders had "imposed" on themselves. In reality, the Congress simply spent right past the limits because for too many members, it was more important to "bring home the bacon" than it was to respect spending limits (let alone the Constitution).

Coburn did something that year that most people thought could only happen in the Senate - he filibustered an appropriations bill. Not only that, the bill he picked was the Agriculture appropriations bill - the very bill that was laden with pork for members representing rural districts such as Coburn's. Coburn went to the floor with nearly 150 amendments and the determination to talk about them as much as the restrictive rules would allow.

The Ag bill was important, not only because it demonstrated Coburn's integrity, but because it was the first bill of the annual series of appropriations bills. The Ag bill was way over budget, but the leadership was saying that the cuts would be made in later bills. That, of course, was only believable to an idiot.

Coburn's effort (assisted by many fellow Republicans) forced the Ag bill to be pulled back and cut before being passed by the House.

The leadership hated his guts for such actions, but Coburn argues that they were not his constituents, the people of his district were. What a novel idea!

Coburn found that the heavily agricultural base of his district accepted his explanation for his opposition to subsidies and projects for the district when he pointed out that all the "bennies" or "pork" were being paid for out of tax increases and the Social Security trust fund. His re-election margin steadily increased during his time in the House.

Pro-gun � pro-constitution ... a real activist. Tom Coburn would be a welcome change in the U.S. Senate.

Coburn's campaign can be supported by donating to the Coburn for Senate Committee, P.O. Box 977, Muskogee, OK 74402. Those who can use the web can go to Coburn is not getting support from the establishment types who simply wish that he Coburn would just go away. If he gets elected, it will be up to the supporters of constitutional government to put him over the top.

� 2004 Larry Pratt - All Rights Reserved

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Larry Pratt has been Executive Director of Gun Owners of America for 27 years. GOA is a national membership organization of 300,000 Americans dedicated to promoting their second amendment freedom to keep and bear arms.

GOA lobbies for the pro-gun position in Washington and is involved in firearm issues in the states. GOA's work includes providing legal assistance to those involved in lawsuits with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the federal firearms law enforcement agency.

Pratt has appeared on numerous national radio and TV programs such as NBC's Today Show, CBS' Good Morning America, CNN's Crossfire and Larry King Live, Fox's Hannity & Colmes, MSNBC's Phil Donahue show and many others. He has debated Congressmen James Traficant, Jr. (D-OH), Charles Rangel (D-NY), Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), and Vice President Al Gore, among others. His columns have appeared in newspapers across the country.

He published a book, Armed People Victorious, in 1990 and was editor of a book, Safeguarding Liberty: The Constitution & Militias, 1995. His latest book, On the Firing Line: Essays in the Defense of Liberty was published in 2001.

Pratt has held elective office in the state legislature of Virginia, serving in the House of Delegates. Pratt directs a number of other public interest organizations and serves as the Vice-Chairman of the American Institute for Cancer Research.

The GOA web site is: Pratt's weekly talk show Live Fire is archived there at:   E-Mail:








Pro-gun � pro-constitution ... a real activist. Tom Coburn would be a welcome change in the U.S. Senate.