Tuesday, January 10, 2006
You told Congress you didn't want the BATFE, FBI and other federal agencies to go on fishing expeditions through your gun records. It appears that Congress may actually be listening!
By a vote of 52-47, the Senate failed to shut down the liberal/conservative filibuster of H.R. 3199 -- including a provision which would allow BATFE to goosestep through your gun records (4473's, etc.) WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF ANY COURT. Under the Senate rules, 60 votes would have been needed to end the filibuster on this PATRIOT Act reauthorization.
Instead, this so-called "terrorism" legislation -- some of which is relatively non-controversial -- was extended until February 3 in order to allow negotiations to continue.
You might remember that 16 provisions of the PATRIOT Act were set to expire on New Year's Day. To prevent this, Congress extended the deadline for five weeks, into early February. Even if these 16 provisions expire, the underlying PATRIOT Act will still remain in force. GOA is second to none in its desire to protect this nation's security and prevent terrorists from attacking American citizens.
But we believe the best way to do this is to abide by the Constitution. Freedom works. The Second Amendment works. Guns in the hands of airline pilots on 9-11 would have prevented the terrorist hijackings that day. Restricting liberty only makes us less safe... and letting the BATFE and other federal agencies to conduct unlimited warrantless searches of firearms purchase records is not going to make us safer.
Now, there've been some interesting developments over the last couple of days.
At least one Senate office has suggested that negotiators may be willing to "deal" in order to completely exempt 4473's and other gun records from federal agents' warrantless search powers. Under this deal -- which would be total victory for gun owners -- the provisions of the pro-gun McClure-Volkmer Firearms Owners Protection Act would govern what gun records BATFE can and can't see.
We will continue working to exempt gun records from the "snooping" provisions of H.R. 3199. But we're asking you to strengthen our hand by continuing to pressure Congress. Since Gun Owners of America is fighting a lonely battle to exempt gun records from the clause of the PATRIOT Act, your activism is crucial. While you might want to ask the other groups what they're doing to fight these provisions, we definitely need you to contact the Congress right now.
ACTION: Please write your senators. Urge them to insist that pro-gun language be inserted into H.R. 3199 which ensures that BATFE is prohibited from conducting unlimited warrantless searches of firearms purchase records. The vote on this legislation will take place in less than one month. Negotiations on this bill are occurring right now. It's imperative that you contact your Senators right away!
You can visit the Gun Owners Legislative Action Center at http://www.gunowners.org/activism.htm to send your Senators a pre-written e-mail message such as the one below.
Or, you can call your Senators toll-free at 877-762-8762.
H.R. 3199 would, in its current form, allow BATFE -- and other federal agencies -- to go on virtually unlimited fishing expeditions through gun records without the approval of any court.
As a supporter of Second Amendment rights, I can tell you that this is THE provision in this act which has gun owners extremely upset. So before you vote for cloture, please insist that language is inserted to protect 4473's and other gun records from BATFE snooping.
I would like to hear what you intend to do. Thank you.
"Live Fire" radio with Larry Pratt is broadcast by the Information Radio Network on Saturdays at 12:00 Noon Eastern. "Live Fire" is simulcast on the web at http://inforadionet.com and previous episodes are archived at http://www.soundwaves2000.com/livefire/ in RealAudio. Recent guests and topics have included:
* Bob Wright of the New Mexico Minutemen: War on the Border;
* Katherine Albrecht: Spychips: How Your Every Move (and Gun) Is About to Be Tracked;
* Edwin Vieira: The Imperial Judiciary -- How We got It and How We Can Stop It; and,
* Larry Elder on his Michael Moore expose: Michael & Me.