OCRer's Note: I originally found this article through an EBay search for National Rifle Association memorabilia/effects from the early years of the Association at the turn of the century-ish. I eventually found a microfilmed copy of the magazine in question at the University of Maryland and it's reproduced here for you.
In their war on crime, the club-women of America are out to subjugate organized riflemen in order to get at the gangsters. The riflemen and others want pistols and revolvers readily purchasable for home defense against the gangsters. The clubwomen say that the bill they advocate for the regulation of firearms will not interfere with defense of hearth and home, in which they are as much interested as the men.
In a recent meeting at Hot Springs. Arkansas, the General Federation of Women's Clubs heard the Assistant Attorney-General of the United States. Joseph B. Keenan, say that the National Rifle Association had proved more powerful than the Department of Justice. It seems that the association had pistols and revolvers deleted from a Federal bill to regulate the sale of firearms, before the Ways and Means Committee of the House. Mr. Keenan said that the measure, as written originally, would have done much to check crime. He wanted to know who was running the Government.
Mrs. William Dick Sporborg of Port Chester, New York, chairman of the clubwomen's resolutions committee, jumped to her feet to say that if 1,000,000 members of the Rifle Association were strong enough to get the smaller firearms taken from the bill, “two million American club-women are strong enough to lick them to a frazzle and make them put back into that measure the pistols and revolvers they deleted from it.” Thereupon she offered a resolution, which was adopted and ordered telegraphed to members of the Ways and Means Committee and other Congressional leaders. The resolution expressed the “outrage” felt by the women at the alteration of the bill, and said: “We hold that the security and safety of the homes and families of all the people of this country and the protection of life and property for all the 120,000,000 people of the land transcend the selfish interests of any organized small minority. We hold you accountable for your responsibility to the people of your State and of your country, and demand that the bill to regulate the sale and possession of firearms include pistols and revolvers, and that it be speedily enacted into law.”
Field & Stream, a magazine for sportsmen published in New York City, came to the rescue of the embattled riflemen and Congressmen. In a telegram to the clubwomen, the magazine said it was absurd to think that the Rifle Association was stronger than the Department of Justice, that pistols and revolvers were omitted from the bill “because of the fact that the security and safety of the homes and families of all the people of this country demand it,” and that the proposed law “is a vicious measure that would affect only honest citizens without the slightest effect on criminals, and is believed by many people to be part of an announced effort to ultimately deny all citizens the right to possess firearms of any kind and for any purpose.” The telegram closed with a request that the clubwomen rescind the resolution.
Instead, the club-women reiterated their position. A reply sent to the magazine by Mrs. Grace Morrison Poole, president of the Federation, and Mrs. Sporborg said “that through compliance with regulations that demand proper identification, accredited licensing and registration, no respectable citizen of honest intent would be denied protection.”
“The intent of the campaign that the Federation is waging against the crime wave in this country,” the resolution went on, “is to make it more difficult for the gangster to have access to firearms. The more speedily this country passes laws which disarm the underworld, the increasingly less will be the need of protection on the part of honest citizens. That is the objective of the Federation in its conscientious interest in the homes and lives of the American public. Its slogan is to 'disarm the gangster, not arm the citizenry.' ”
Better Films Urged
The Federation also took a decided stand for better films. After alluding to the "pledge-of-decency" campaign of the Catholic Church, the report, submitted at the closing session of the council, asked: "Can you imagine what would happen if on a given day every member of this Federation would refuse to attend a 'movie'? Two million paid admissions make a goodly sum when used to show approval of a picture, or its rejection."
An interesting commentary on the power and influence of organized womanhood is furnished by a women's secret "committee of 600," which is making successful war, against vice and lawlessness in San Diego County. California. The movement was inspired by Mary Roberts Rinehart, and was taken up by the San Diego Women's Civic Center. It now is being studied by the California Federation of Women's Clubs, with a view to forming similar organizations throughout the country.