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to $12.50 in our State you probably could do away with 70 percent of the robberies and homicides, because, as I said before, it takes a pretty low-class person to purchase a gun of that type, and if you had a standard whereby a gun would have to measure up to a certain specification such as the Colt and Remington and other reputable firearms dealers make their guns measure up to, you would get this junk off the market, and I think it would be a big solution to our national problem.

Mr. PERIAN. Do you find that juveniles and criminals in South Carolina avail themselves of these weapons!

Mr. STROM. We do; yes sir, because they are cheap and available. So many times they have three or four drinks and they are out of money and they have to have a weapon to commit a robbery, so that they can buy these guns for a dollar down and a dollar a week, and the guns are available at a low price and they purchase the gun, and if it is necessary, they do not hesitate to shoot a person because they are irresponsible from the start, even before they had their first drink in most cases.

Mr. PERIAN. Do you have any evidence that firearms which are purchased in other States have been used in the commission of crimes in South Carolina? I think you indicated that you felt this was true. Do you have any evidence or any statistics available to submit to the committee?

Mr. STROM. We do not. We know there is some traffic across State lines, but we do not have it as a matter of record.

Mr. Perian. Do you have any idea or do you have any figures on confiscated weapons in your State each year?

Mr. McLEOD. We do not, sir. Occasionally we get an isolated report if we specifically ask for it. For example, prior to Chief Strom and myself appearing here, we queried chiefs of police of two departments and got recent checks as to the number that they had confiscated. I referred to one of those in my statement a moment ago. But there is no current check or current statistics except on the number of guns confiscated.

Mr. Perian. Have crimes involving guns increased proportionately higher than nongun crimes in say the last 5 years?

Mr. McLeod. Chief Strom is probably in a better position to answer that than I am.

Mr. STROM. Yes, sir; in the last 5 years it has picked up considerably, and for one reason, and because this same junk weapon is more available in our State in the last 5 years than it was before.

In nearly every courtroom in every murder trial or robbery you will find a gun such as you see on that board, the same guns you have on this table. That is about all we see in our court rooms any more, in our criminal cases where guns are involved, are these junk-type weapons.

Mr. PBRIAN. Would you say their use is confined to what we would call professional criminals or perhaps just the young first offender, the person who might not ordinarily commit a crime if he did not have this weapon available?

Mr. STROM. Your young first offender is more dangerous with a gun in his hand than the professional criminal. The professional criminal is not likely to shoot you unless it is necessary to get away from


the police. But the group which buys these guns are very irresponsible people, and they will shoot you sometimes because they are afraid themselves, for no apparent good reason.

If I had to be robbed, I would much rather be robbed by a professional than I would by a man who would buy a gun of this type, because he is likely to shoot you.

Mr. PERIAN. We have found that, nationally, rifles and shotguns account for about 30 percent of the murders or homicides by firearms. From your experience or from any information you have available, would this 30-percent figure hold true in South Carolina ?

Mr. STROM. It would not in our State. The small arms would by far outweigh the shotgun or the rifle.

Mr. PERIAN. Do you have any figures that would indicate that!

Mr. STROM. I do not have any with me, sir. I can furnish those figures.

Mr. PERIAN. I noticed in the statement that one of our responses to the questionnaire indicated that the use of the shotgun had been increasing in crimes in South Carolina.

Mr. STROM. In some areas there have been a good many sa wed-off shotguns confiscated by the police; yes, sir, and that is a wicked weapon.

Mr. PERIAN. I have no further questions.

Senator Dopp. Do you not think that if the States tighten up their laws and if this bill is passed with respect to small items, there will be an increase in the use of long guns, if there is no control over the long guns?

Mr. STROM. I would not think it would. Well, in my opinion we have tried so hard to get bills through our own legislature dealing with all types of weapons, I do not really think we can ever pass anything that would control a shotgun or a rifle. But I believe that we could do something to outlaw these guns here. Senator Dopp. I understand that. That was not my question.

I Assuming that a bill is passed which just gives control over the sale of handguns, as a law enforcement officer do you not agree that the criminal element will turn to the long gun?

Mr. STROM. I agree.

Senator Dodd. If he cannot get the handgun, he is going to turn to something. I do not think it is going to stop all crime by the passage of a handgun bill or even by the passage of a bill including the long gun, but I think it is reasonable to assume on the basis of accumulated experience that the criminal element will turn to weapons that they can get easily.

Mr. STROM. I agree that they would turn to shotguns or rifles, but they would be exposed. It is harder to conceal a rifle or a shotgun, and it would make it much more easy for the police to apprehend a robber of that type.

Senator Dodd. Yes; I am sure that is true, but anyway it seems to me that if 30 percent of the crimes committed with guns in this country are long guns, we have a problem already clearly presented.

Mr. STROM. I agree, sir.

Senator Dodd. Now, it varies from State to State quite considerably. Do you agree that the provision of this bill which would prohibit the sale of pistols should be confined to persons 21 years of age ?

Mr. McLEOD. That was a provision which was designedly incorporated in our State law enacted this year, 21 years of age, chosen, and deliberately; in the preparation of the bill I left the age blank' and the legislature itself filled it in.

Senator DoDD. Twenty-one years?
Mr. McLEOD. Yes, sir.

Senator Dodd. I am glad to hear that. We thought it would be reasonable to put in such a limit.

Mr. McLEOD. That seems reasonable, sir.

Senator Dod. Well, gentlemen, your testimony is helpful with your distinguished experience as law enforcement officials. We value your testimony.

Mr. MCLEOD. Thank you very much, sir.

Senator Dodd. We have two distinguished Members of the House here. Congressman Robert Sikes and Congressman John Dowdy are here. We are anxious to hear both of them, both of whom I know well and am glad to greet here. Go right ahead, Mr. Dowdy.



Mr. Dowdy. Mr. Chairman, I will take as little time as I can.
Senator Dodd. Go right ahead.

Mr. Dowdy. Many of the people of my district, which is located in east Texas, have advised me of their strong opposition to S. 1592, which they feel is a serious and unnecessary encroachment on their peaceful possession and use of firearms, and I am of the same opinion.

I believe that this bill, which would prohibit the shipment of firearms in interstate commerce to any person other than a licensed individual, represents a distinct threat to our national defense capabilities.

I certainly do not even remotely think that this possibility ever crossed the minds of the sponsors, but I do think that the ramifications of the bill are such that this could be a possible result. I will develop this thought by showing what effect such a prohibition on the commerce in firearms would have on a large segment of my constituency.

I represent the Seventh Congressional District of Texas, which is comprised of 13 counties covering approximately 12,000 square miles and a population of slightly over 266,000. Living in an essentially rural area, many of my people were taught the proper and skillful use of firearms at a tender age, and I was one of them.

Stalking the deer or shooting the high-flying goose or hunting quail or doves is as much a part of the life of the people of my area as is the daily commuter ride for some less fortunate individuals. This familiarity with firearms, which we know is long a source of enjoyment in sports and recreation, has enabled great numbers of the young men of my district to more than hold their own as members of our Armed Forces in times of national emergency, in days past of course, and even today in this age of so-called sophisticated weaponry it is still true because the brushfire engagements in which our country is presently involved continue to prove that our best weapon is the foot soldier, the infantryman, or the Marine who knows how to shoot straight and to make each one of his shots count.


In answer to those people who discount the value of the GI and his rifle in this nuclear age, I can only refer to the fact that I have yet to hear of the first hydrogen bomb being dropped or atomic missile being discharged in either Vietnam or the Dominican Republic.

Familiarity and skill of firearms can result only after a great deal of practice either in the field or on the range. The availability of the equipment necessary for such practice is a prime factor in the development of such skills. This type of equipment is available in my district in the small hardware store and occasional—and it is a very occasional-sports store, or in other outlets that cater to the hunter, and mostly as a convenience to the patron.

In most instances the sales of rifles and shotguns and the ammunition therefor is not the source of a great deal of profit for the storekeeper. I am firmy convinced that precious few of these small businessmen could afford the drastic rise in dealers fees that is contemplated by S. 1592.

Even if a few dealers could afford such a fee, they would be so few and so far between in an area as large as my district as to be so that there would be very little benefit to most of the people, and benefit only those few people who live close by, and certainly not the majority of my constituents.

The outcome of this rise in dealer's fees which could be called class legislation as far as I am concerned, since only the more wealthy dealer could afford the fee-together with the prohibition of the interstate commerce of firearms except to only the licensed few would be at first a gradual but soon a drastic curtailment of the peaceful use of firearms by the law-abiding citizen, not only in my district but also in many like areas throughout our entire Nation.

The effect of these barriers raised by this bill to the peaceful use of firearms will be felt in time in the ranks of our Armed Forces, and in the cadre of regulars who on so many occasions have been called upon to train our citizen soldiers in the arts of warfare on such short notice and with so little time.

In war there is no substitute for experienced fighting personnel and good shooters. However, when the opportunities to gain that experience under more leisurely circumstances are curtailed to a point of virtual nonexistence, then the Nation as a whole must suffer.

I am well aware of the need for some control of the accessibility of firearms to those individuals who would use them in such manner as to jeopardize life, limb, and property. I cannot support, however, any legislation the effects of which would punish the vast majority of our people by taking away existing freedoms in an effort to curtail the possible wrongdoings of a very small segment of our population.

Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the opportunity to appear before your subcommittee, and for these reasons I am opposed to S. 1592.

Senator Dopp. Well, Congressman, you know I have great respect for you and your opinions.

Mr. Dowdy. Thank you.

Senator Dopp. My colleague with whom I was privileged to serve. I think you are mistaken about this.

Mr. Ďowdy. We have difference of opinion, of course. That makes lawsuits and everything else.

Senator Dodd. But it is valuable to hear from the Congress and to be informed on this subject. You have certainly made a contribution to our record. One of the big problems I face here is fees. They are too high. Undoubtedly, as the bill comes out, there will be a reduction in the fees, particularly with the local dealers.

Mr. Dowdy. The people I speak of are the small hardware stores. In the bird season they sell some birdshot for the shotguns, and in the deer season they sell a few

Senator Dodd. I know. I think you are right about it. Perhaps we can agree on that. I have never been able to convince myself about the value of gun experience with respect to national defense. There is something to it. But I do not think it is that much.

What bothers me particularly is that Secretary of the Army Ailes, who testified earlier this year, said he did not think the passage of the bill would impair national defense.

More importantly, I think, so far as I can learn, there has not been any study made of the value and the effectiveness of the program that the Army has conducted in connection with the NRA. Perhaps this would show just what you have said. In any event, I express my appreciation.

I Mr. Bowdy. Thank you. I think if youngsters in the course of growing up learn whether they can shoot the eye out of a squirrel out of the top of a high tree that that sort of marksmanship would be helpful in the armed services.

Senator Dopp. I am sure it would. Thank you, Congressman.
Mr. Dowdy. Thank you, sir.

Senator Dodd. Congressman Robert Sikes, also an old colleague of mine—not an old colleague but a colleague of long standing-will be our next witness.



Mr. SIKES. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and gentlemen. Copies of my statement have been sent to the desk. If others are needed, I have them here. I

appear in opposition to S. 1592. I have noted the changes which have been proposed by the administration to the Dodd bill. I recall that it has been but a very few months since the bill itself was proposed. The changes which have now been suggested would indicate there is an acceptance by the administration of the fact that the original bill is much too restrictive and that it would do more harm than good. We have another term for it down in my country; it is called going off half cocked. I think the administration went off half cocked in its proposal for highly restrictive gun laws earlier this year. Now there has been an admission that this is the case, in the fact that modifications are recommended. As the administration becomes better acquainted with its product, it is entirely possible there will be further dilution of the stringent provisions of the bill.

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