A few days ago I discovered a file that I had forgotten even existed. Letters that I wrote to a friend over 1979-1982. When they start out, I'm 27 years old, new to DC and NRA work. Here's one entry, showing what things were like while we were pushing the Firearm Owners' Protection Act. And I have no idea why Strom Thurmond was doing these things, but I did earlier detect some hostility on his part toward NRA, for no known reason:
"April 23, 1982: Wednesday we finally got Volkmer-McClure out of Senate Judiciary, albeit at a cost…. The Senators packed into a tiny room for the markup –of the full complement of 18, a dozen or so were present ost of the time. Kennedy filed a series of amendments …. Most were easily shot down.
Then came the 21 day waiting period for handgun purchase. Strom went out in front in favor. Dole, another conservative Repub., said he’d introduced a 14 day waiting period with police check. Kennedy said he’d accept Dole’s amendment, but make it 14 days. Strom said, good idea …
Strom still couldn’t quite carry the day, since we had gotten 4 senators to give Strom their proxies. We’d asked for proxies in favor of the bill and against all amendments.Unfortunately, two had just given Strom an open proxy… He cast one in favor, withheld the other one, and failed to cast the other two, which were against all amendments. By this means he got it to pass 7-5….Senator Leahy of Vermont zipped in just as his name was being called. He had just told Wayne that he would vote against it. He stepped in, having missed the debate. He asked what he was voting on, eliciting a laugh. Strom said, a waiting period. Kennedy said, Strom endorsed it. Leahy asked ‘You think it’s a good idea, Strom’? and Strom said yes. Leahy voted aye. And to think these turkeys called the Senate the greatest deliberative body in the world!”