FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE For further information, call: April 19, 1993 Ed Klecka or Easter Th

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE For further information, call: April 19, 1993 Ed Klecka or Easter Thompson, NRA Public Affairs (202-828-6326) NRA CALLS FOR CONGRESSIONAL INQUIRY INTO WACO RAID Washington, D.C. -- "The February 28th raid by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) raises more questions than it answers," said James Jay Baker, Executive Director, NRA Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA). "But the deaths of four agents, and now innocent children and others, underscore the urgency of fact-finding around this horrific tragedy that is both thorough and independent." Baker called for a full investigation to proceed immediately in court, in Congress, and through the White House. "We believe President Clinton should consider appointing an independent special prosecutor -- whatever it takes to get an independent assessment of both facts and tactics that led to the Waco tragedy." NRA expressed hope that Congress would deal with this massive loss of life as it examines procedures for obtaining and serving the warrants, the judgment of the on-scene commander and the degree to which tactical control may have been influenced from afar. On the legality of particular firearms and their acquisition, Baker counseled against speculation. "Handgun Control, Inc., and other gun prohibitionists lost no time exploiting the deaths of agents to advance an agenda that in no way relates to the situation in Waco. Despite their false claims, none of the nation's 20,000 gun laws or even radical measures such as total prohibition or mass confiscation would prevent such tragedies," he said. "Until the facts are established by the courts and the Congress, speculation can lead only to misguided public policy." "One central question that the court and Congress should pose is why less aggressive forms of warrant service were rejected," said Richard Gardiner, NRA-ILA Legislative Counsel. "The inquiry should also examine tactical control. Did the raid's commander properly assess the developing tactical situation and act appropriately? To what degree was that decision-making process influenced by political officials in Washington?" he asked. "What individuals in the Executive Branch knew there were innocent children present? Who approved a raid knowing they were present?" Gardiner said that legitimate, lawful gun owners are fearful that tactics such as those employed in Waco might be wrongly directed at them. And with some reason: on December 16, 1991, Gardiner related, ATF agents and local law enforcement broke into the home of Tulsa, Oklahoma, resident John Lawmaster. They cordoned off the street, took station with weapons drawn in the back yard, used a battering ram to break through the front door, broke into his gun safe, loaded his empty magazines, left guns and ammo on the floor, then left. On his return, Lawmaster found his home a shambles. A note amid the rubble said, "Nothing Found. ATF." "Because agents left his doors broken, his house accessible and his firearms and ammunition unsecured, Lawmaster feared tragedy might have followed had a child entered that house," Gardiner said. "At the request of the government, the court sealed the affidavit that led to the search warrant and the break-in," said Gardiner. The district court denied Lawmaster's request for release of the affidavit. Lawmaster has appealed and awaits a decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals. The Lawmaster case is being supported by the NRA Firearms Civil Rights Legal Defense Fund. "Like Waco, the review of the Lawmaster case may be germane to evaluating ATF policy nationwide. Such a review is extremely important considering the lack of media scrutiny of cases like Mr. Lawmaster's. The national media appear to hold the belief that if a law-abiding American purchases a firearm he forfeits his civil rights." ============================================== Another file from The Soapbox BBS "Your Infotainment Specialist" An all text BBS specializing in e-zines and other unique text files. (919) 387-1152 - Up to 16.8 kbs - 8N1 Fidonet 1:151/142 - FREQ FILES for file list ===============================================

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