I found a letter from myself to my parents and sister here, dated Sept. 28, 1986. I was then in DC, working for Interior and starting out a new family.
Stuff I'd long forgotten about FOPA passing the House. Since the antigun Rep. Hughes was chairman of Judiciary and wouldn't report it out, we had to get a discharge petition (to discharge his committee from considering the bill) passed, which took 218 signatures, a majority of the House. Under the then-rules, the House leadership got to see the signatories, but one else got the list.
We solved that by asking a number of friendly Reps to go down, look at it, memorize five names apiece and later write them down.
Two signatories withdrew their names after Hughes told them he'd kill bills that they wanted.
The number of signatories kept increasing, and Speaker Tip O'Neil called Hughes in and told him he was the most incompetent chairman in the House, he was letting a landslide develop. Hughes asked O'Neil to help, and he refused, told Hughes to report out a water-down version of FOPA and he'd see that it went to the floor immediately.
Two days later John Dingell, who didn't mind getting physical, actually dragged two Congressmen down and made them sign. Right after, Larry Craig (then a Rep) dragged two more down, literally.... and the clerk announced they couldn't sign because Dingell's pair had made it 218, and the petition had passed.
Craig started to debate the point, then he heard someone behind him cursing a blue streak. It was Rep. Hughes, who had heard the clerk's pronouncement, standing there red in the face and cursing. It was only the eighth such discharge petition to succeed in the previous quarter century.