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Washington, D.C. – Veterans, gun collectors and other gun owners threatened by a gun recall will be able to retain possession of their firearms, according to U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., who led the effort in rooting out and eliminating a gun control measure.

Section 1062 was a provision buried in the larger Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2002 (S. 1438). The gun control section sought to make it unlawful for any person to possess significant military equipment formerly owned by the United States Department of Defense.

Enzi authored an Oct. 4 letter to Sens. Carl Levin, D-Mich., and John W. Warner, respectively Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, which expressed Enzi's strong opposition to the legislation. Twelve other senators signed the letter including Wyoming Sen. Craig Thomas.

"We see it as a means to simply invoke gun control under the auspice of a military response to terrorism," the senators wrote. "Under this section, the definition of ‘significant military equipment' includes any defense article listed in the United States Munitions List, such as nonautomatic, semi-automatic and fully automatic firearms. As a consequence, this section could strip veterans of their WWII and Vietnam souvenirs, and gun collectors and enthusiasts of their United States military relics and antiquities.

"While we appreciate your efforts to put forward a strong United States Department of Defense authorization package, we strongly urge you, during conference on this legislation, to remove or amend Section 1062 in S. Bill 1438, which we believe undermines a citizen's right to bear arms," the senators wrote.

Enzi supported the Defense Authorization bill, which authorized more than $343 billion in funding for maintenance, acquisition and improvement of weapons such as helicopters, missiles, jets, ships, personnel pay and other needs. The Senate approved the bill on Oct. 2.

But before supporting the bill Enzi received assurances from senators on the Armed Services Committee that section 1062 would not be a part of the final package.

Enzi personally contacted senators on the joint Senate-House Conference Committee who were working to reconcile Senate and House versions of the bill. Wednesday the conference committee approved the Defense authorization bill and the final product did not contain the gun control measure.

"I was adamant that this section intruding on Second Amendment rights be removed from the bill. It was important to people in Wyoming and important to me personally," Enzi said. "I am pleased with the cooperation of the members of the conference committee."

Thomas said he also contacted Chairman Levin to encourage the Conference Committee to remove the offending provision.

"Like many in Wyoming, I had a great deal of concern about this provision because it could have allowed the government to seize surplus military items, such as firearms, which have been lawfully purchased by law-abiding citizens," Thomas said. "I'm pleased it was struck from such an important defense bill that needs all of our support to pass swiftly."