NRA Political Victory Fund
Institute for Legislative Action
2004 FEDERAL CANDIDATE QUESTIONNAIRE
NAME: Thomas Lee Abshier
OFFICE SOUGHT: US Senate, Oregon
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Please circle the letter corresponding to the answer of your
1. The National Rifle Association believes that the Second Amendment to the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right of individual Americans to own and use the firearms of their choice. The I.J.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued a decision (US. v. Emerson) in 1999 supporting this point of view. However, the NRA's opponents believe that it primarily protects the right of states to maintain a National Guard and that government may broadly limit private firearms ownership and use.
A. I agree with the NRA that the Second Amendment guarantees law-abiding individuals the right to keep and bear the arms of their choice.
B. I disagree with the NRA and believe that the Second Amendment only protects state military forces.
2. Nearly thirty cities, as well as anti-gun organizations and some individuals, have filed lawsuits against firearms manufacturers, importers and dealers seeking "recovery" of funds spent for law enforcement and other emergency services and also the imposition of new restrictions on the industry. These suits allege that the gun industry's manufacturing and sales practices are such that the industry is responsible for armed crime committed by third parties. The NRA supports legislation (S. 659 and l-l.R. 1036 in the 108th Congress) that would clarify and reiterate the traditional legal principle that a manufacturer and seller cannot be held liable for the criminal or unlawful misuse of a legal non-defective product that was lawfully manufactured and sold. As of the end of 2003, 33 states had enacted such legislation.
A. I agree with the NRA and support federal legislation barring civil liability against firearms manufacturers and dealers for the criminal or unlawful use of their products.
B. I disagree with the NRA and oppose such legislation.
3. In addition to lawsuits filed by cities, the Clinton Administration planned to use the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (1-IUD) to support similar lawsuits against the firearms industry to be filed by local housing authorities. Such suits are just as baseless as those filed by the cities, and the NRA supports legislation which would forbid the expenditure of federal funds by future administrations through any government agency in support of these actions.
A. I agree with the NRA and support this legislation.
B. I disagree with the NRA and oppose such legislation.
4. Approximately 4,400 gun shows are held across the United States each year. Gun shows account for less than two percent of the firearms used by criminals according to federal government research. The vast majority of exhibitors at these shows are federally licensed firearms dealers subject to the background check requirements created by the Brady Act in 1993 for all of their transactions. Individuals who are non-licensees are not subject to such requirements, just as they would not be subject to such requirements for sales at their own homes; however any individual who repeatedly makes firearms sales for the purpose of livelihood and profit is already required to be a federally licensed dealer. Anti-gun officials and organizations advocate a vast bureaucratic regime to restrict gun shows, if not ultimately to drive them out of existence. The NRA does not oppose an expansion of instant checks to firearms sales by non-dealers at gun shows, provided that such checks are made readily available and conducted in a non-bureaucratic and speedy manner (within 24 hours) to account for the unique and temporary nature of these events.
A. I believe that gun sales by private citizens who are not engaged in an ongoing firearms business should not be subject to federal background check requirements, whether the sales take place at a gun show or elsewhere, as is the present practice. I oppose further regulation.
B. I believe that all firearms sales at gun shows should be subject to timely background checks, but that occasional sales by non-licensees outside of the gun show environment should continue to he protected by current law and not further regulated. Furthermore, to protect the privacy of honest citizens, the federal government should not receive or maintain any kind of record of vendors or gun buyers who attend these shows, or of the guns sold. I support legislation to this effect.
C. I believe that all firearms transactions -- including private transfers between non-licensees -- should be federally regulated, and I support legislation imposing "universal background checks."
5. Thirty-eight states now have "Right-to-Carry" laws under which law-abiding citizens can exercise their right to carry firearms for personal protection. Legislation has been introduced (H.R. 915 in the 108th Congress) to provide that a person licensed to carry a firearm by any state would be able to carry a firearm for self-defense while traveling throughout the United States, subject to both state and federal restrictions on the places in which firearms may be carried. The NRA supports such legislation.
A. I agree with the NRA and support Right-to-Carry reciprocity legislation.
B. I disagree with the NRA and oppose Right-to-Carry reciprocity legislation.
6. When a gun is fired, it leaves unique markings on the bullet and cartridge case, referred to as toolmarks. Some argue that since these markings can sometimes be used to identify a firearm used in a crime, all guns sold should be tested in advance and ballistically "fingerprinted." However, 65 million handguns are already in circulation. Such a mandate would require de facto registration of guns and could be expanded to require some or all existing guns to be "recalled" for such testing. Unlike human fingerprints, alterations to a firearm or replacement of parts, with or without criminal intent, can easily change a gun's `fingerprint" and render such a record-keeping program useless in fighting crime. Instead of a mandatory registration program, the NRA supports an objective, independent study of the costs and benefits of universal ballistic testing programs.
A. I agree with the NRA and support an independent evaluation of universal ballistic testing programs.
B. I disagree with the NRA and support mandatory ballistic "fingerprinting" of new firearms.
C. Other. Please explain:
7. The NRA opposes gun bans as a violation of both the Second Amendment and common sense. (However. fully automatic firearms, short-barreled shotguns, and certain "destructive devices" are currently very strictly regulated, and the NRA does not oppose those restrictions in their current form.) Which of the following statements best describes your opinion about banning firearms?
A. I agree with the NRA. The federal government should not ban any firearms.
B. I disagree with the NRA. The following types of firearms should be banned: ___________________
C. I disagree with the NRA. All firearms should be banned.
8. Ammunition magazines are devices for holding ammunition ready for loading into the chamber of a repeating firearm. Anti-gun activists believe that the federal government should continue to ban the sale of magazines holding more than a specified and arbitrary number of cartridges. The NRA believes that magazine restrictions violate the rights of law-abiding citizens, without affecting criminal activity.
A. I agree with the NRA that ammunition magazines should not be banned.
B. I disagree with the NRA. Some ammunition magazines should be banned. Please specify:
9. In 1994, Bill Clinton signed the Omnibus Crime Control Act. A provision of this law imposed a ten-year ban on the manufacture for sale to private citizens of nearly 200 models of semi-automatic firearms. The law also prohibited the manufacture for sale to private citizens of ammunition magazines capable of holding more than ten rounds of ammunition. The premise for its passage was that these firearms and ammunition magazines are supposedly more dangerous than other firearms and magazines and are used disproportionately by criminals~ both statements are demonstrably false. (For more information, click on www.ClintonGunBan.com)
A. I agree with the NRA that the gun and magazine ban should be allowed to expire in 2004.
B. I disagree with the NRA and support extending the Clinton gun and magazine ban.
C. I disagree with the NRA and support expanding the Clinton gun and magazine ban.
10. The Brady Act, passed in 1993, mandated a five-day waiting period between the initial purchase of a handgun and its delivery to the buyer. This waiting period was eliminated in 1998 with the implementation of the National Instant Background Check System (NICS), operated by the FBI. Anti-gun advocates support reimposing the waiting period even though it was originally passed only as a stopgap measure to allow background checks until NICS became available. The NRA opposes waiting period legislation.
A. I agree with the NRA and oppose imposition of a new waiting period.
B. I disagree with the NRA and support reinstituting the waiting period.
11. The Brady Act and the Firearms Owners' Protection Act of 1986 prohibit the use of records gathered in the course of firearms sales or background checks to create a national registration system for firearms. firearms owners, or firearms transactions. Under the Clinton Administration, the FBI nonetheless maintained records of lawful purchasers for up to six months. In July of 2001 the Bush administration's .Justice Department announced that it would reduce that period, allowing records to be kept only until the beginning of the next business day-not a complete solution, but a step in the right direction. Anti-gun activists in the Congress want to mandate a minimum of 90 days record retention.
A. I agree with the NRA and think that no records should be maintained on any lawful gun buyer.
B. I agree with the Bush administration and believe that records should be destroyed at the beginning of the next business day.
C. I agree with anti-gun activists who want records kept for at least 90 days.
D. Other. Please explain:
12. Firearm owner licensing is a system in which private citizens are required to obtain a permit from a government agency to buy and/or sell a firearm. Licensing requirements may include fingerprinting, mandatory but arbitrary safety or proficiency training, and/or a statement as to why the firearm "is needed." The NRA is opposed to firearm owner licensing (other than the existing application requirements for machineguns and short-barreled rifles and shotguns) as a violation of citizens' constitutional rights, and as a waste of resources, since criminals will obtain firearms without complying with such requirements.
A. I agree with the NRA and oppose federal,firearm owner licensing.
B. I disagree with the NRA and support licensing for some firearm owners. Please specify.
C. I disagree with the NRA and support federal licensing for all firearm owners.
13. Firearms registration is a system in which a government agency maintains immediately accessible records of specific firearms owned by individual citizens. Current federal law prohibits the creation of a federal firearms registration system (other than the existing registration requirements for machineguns and short-barreled rifles and shotguns). Anti-gun advocates support firearms registration. The NRA opposes firearms registration -- which has led to gun confiscation in other countries -- as an unconstitutional and unnecessary measure which will be ignored by criminals.
A. I agree with the NRA and oppose firearms registration.
B. I disagree with the NRA and support registration of some firearms. Please specify:
C. I disagree with the NRA and support registration of all firearms.
14. Anti-gun advocates favor legislation limiting the number of firearms a law-abiding individual may buy in a specified and arbitrary time period (such as so-called "one-gun-a-month" laws), based on the claim that such limits reduce illicit firearms trafficking into states or cities with more restrictive gun control laws. The NRA believes that these laws constitute rationing of rights and have no effect on criminal behavior, since those who illegally engage in smuggling firearms to criminals do not abide by these or any other laws.
A. I agree with the NRA and oppose "one-gun-a-month" and similar restrictions on firearms purchases.
B. I disagree with the NRA and support such restrictions on firearms purchases.
15. Anti-gun advocates have suggested that so-called "smart guns" -- firearms designed to be fired only by specific users -- would prevent firearms accidents and the use of stolen firearms in crime. Legislation has been introduced in Congress to require that when such technology is available, only these types of firearms could be sold. Even manufacturers developing "smart guns" do not anticipate their availability for several years, and federal government research indicates that additional gadgetry on firearms may make them less reliable for self-defense purposes. While the NRA does not oppose technical research in this area to develop new options for consumers, the NRA strongly opposes government mandates regarding the design and construction of firearms.
A. I agree with the NRA and oppose legislative "smart gun" mandates.
B. I disagree with the NRA and support legislation allowing only "smart guns" to be sold.
16. Since 1977, the District of Columbia has banned the possession of all handguns not acquired and registered in the District prior to that year. D.C. law also prohibits the keeping of a loaded rifle or shotgun in the home, effectively outlawing the use of firearms in otherwise lawful self-defense,. D.C. has the highest murder rate in the nation. The NRA supports legislation to repeal the gun ban in D.C.
A. I agree with the NRA and support legislation (such as S. 1414 and H. R. 31 93 in the 108th Congress) restoring the Second Amendment rights of D.C. residents.
B. I disagree with the NRA and oppose reform legislation, thus keeping the D.C. gun ban in place.
17. Growing numbers of shooters have become interested in rifles that fire certain .50-caliber cartridges. Some .50-calibers are suitable for highly technical long-range target shooting competition; other .50-caliber cartridge designs have existed for well over a century and have been used throughout that time for hunting large game. Anti-gun activists and legislators have attacked .50-caliber rifles, claiming that they are likely to he used by international terrorists. In reality, no .50 caliber rifle is known to have been fired in any terrorist act or homicide in the United States. The rifles that fire this powerful cartridge are too large and heavy for criminals readily to carry or conceal-many weighing 25 pounds or more. As with any rifle, a national background check is conducted for all sales by dealers. Nonetheless, these anti-gun activists want to impose severe new restrictions on these guns, similar to those currently imposed on machineguns.
A. I agree with the NRA and oppose new restrictions on ownership of .50-caliber rifles by law-abiding Americans.
B. I disagree with the NRA and support restrictions on .50-caliber rifles. Please provide details:
18. Despite the fact that current federal law bans the sale of handgun ammunition defined as "armor-piercing" to civilians, anti-gun activists seek to ban a wide variety of other types of ammunition that law-abiding Americans have used for self-defense, target shooting and hunting for more than half a century. NRA believes that further efforts to severely restrict the types of ammunition available to honest citizens are misdirected and unnecessary.
A. I agree with the NRA that no further ammunition bans are needed.
B. I disagree with the NRA. The following types of ammunition should be banned: ______________
19. Under the Gun Control Act of 1968, imported firearms must meet a test of suitability for "sporting purposes" that is not required for domestically produced firearms. The NRA believes that this is an unjustified double standard which has been used improperly to regulate and ban the importation of firearms that are suitable for self-defense, collecting, and hunting, and that the standard will continue to be so abused unless reformed.
A. I agree with the NRA and would support legislation to provide that any firearm which could otherwise lawfully be manufactured in the United States would also be allowed to be imported.
B. I disagree with the NRA and believe the existing two-tier system should be maintained.
20. Since 1968, federal law has banned most interstate handgun sales to people other than federally licensed dealer, and imposed complex restrictions on interstate rifle and shotgun sales. However, in 1968. there was no federal requirement for background checks on gun sales, and few state restrictions. Since 1993, due to improved computer technology, background checks have been conducted for handgun sales since 1998. an instant computerized check has been conducted for all retail handgun, rifle and shotgun sales. The NRA supports updating federal law to reflect these technological developments and allow interstate sales by dealers following an approved instant check on the buyer.
A. I agree with the NRA and support legislation removing some restrictions on interstate gun sales.
B. I disagree with the NRA and oppose such legislation.
21. Do you believe that an individual has the right to use deadly force to protect his or her life, and the lives of his or her family, from violent criminal attack?
B. No. Please explain:
22. Sportsmen should have access to Federally owned or administered lands for hunting, fishing or trapping.
A. I agree
B. I disagree. Please explain:
23. Are you a member of the National Rifle Association, or of any other shooting, hunting or wildlife conservation organization(s)?
A. Yes. Please list organizations and latest year of membership: NRA
24. Are you now, or have you been, an elected official at any level of government?
A. Yes. Please list position and dates in office: _____________________________________________
25. Have you ever been a candidate for public office in the past?
A. Yes. Please list office sought and year of campaign: US Senate (R), Candidate, Primary 2004, May 18
Please attach or enclose extra pages for any additional comments that you would like to make.
THIS SIGNATURE ATTESTS THAT THE ATTACHED STATEMENTS AND INFORMATION ACCURATELY REPRESENTS THE VIEWS OF THE CANDIDATE
Candidate's Signature: Thomas Lee Abshier, ND
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