(Wednesday, June 13, 2001) -- Greece. Ireland. Jamaica. Bermuda. England. New York City. What do all of these countries or jurisdictions have in common?
The answer: each government used gun registration lists to later confiscate firearms. And yes, this even happened in our own country as documented by the New York City media several years ago. (For example, see "Weapons ban defied: S.I. man, arsenal seized," Daily News, September 5, 1992.)
Well, fast forward to 2001. There is a growing concern among the gun-owning community that names are permanently being registered in a federal database as a result of the 1993 Brady law. In most cases, a person who buys a firearm from a gun dealer must have his name phoned in to the FBI for a background check. The FBI compares that name to a list of known criminals, and then lets the dealer know if the sale can proceed.
But no one can be certain of what the FBI does with that gun owner's name. Officially, the FBI is supposed to delete the names of lawful buyers after 180 days. FBI officials say that's what they are doing.
But they also said they gave Timothy McVeigh's defense all the files they had... and that they never fired any pyrotechnics into the Branch Davidian home in Waco... and that they knew Michael Salvati of Massachusetts was guilty of murdering a man in 1965 -- when in reality the FBI suppressed evidence that would have cleared Salvati, thus sparing him the 30 years he later spent in jail. The FBI has since been forced to "come clean" on these and other issues.
See the problem? How can gun owners be sure they are getting the truth?
Which, of course, takes us back to gun owner registration. Once a name is punched into an FBI computer, can anyone be positively sure that name will ever be deleted? Can anyone be sure that no back up will exist -- anywhere?
One of the highest agenda items at Gun Owners of America is to roll back the unconstitutional Brady law. Taking a major stride toward that goal, Rep. Joel Hefley (R-CO) has introduced a bill, H.R. 1460, that will keep the FBI from taxing and registering gun owners.
H.R. 1460 is identical to the language introduced by Sen. Bob Smith of New Hampshire three years ago -- legislation that would have, if fully enacted, cut the heart out of the Brady law. The Hefley language calls for the "immediate destruction" of ANY and ALL information that might help identify lawful gun buyers. But the best part about this bill is that it does more than just put restrictions on the FBI -- restrictions that might otherwise be ignored.
H.R. 1460 contains teeth. Private individuals will be specifically authorized to sue the FBI for any violations of privacy under the Brady Law -- such as maintaining registration information. Moreover, the bill specifically offers to compensate gun owners for legal fees when they sue the FBI.
ACTION: Please urge your Representative to cosponsor the Hefley bill, H.R. 1460. Ultimately, of course, true defenders of freedom realize that the entire Brady Law, including the unconstitutional Instant Check, must be repealed. The Hefley bill would be -- in the words of Sarah Brady -- a "good first step."
Please use the pre-written text below to help direct your comments to Capitol Hill.
You can call your Representatives at 1-877-762-8762 (toll free) or at 202-225-3121. To identify your Representatives, as well as to send a message via e-mail, see the Legislative Action Center at http://www.gunowners.org/activism.htm on the GOA website.
I urge you to cosponsor H.R. 1460, the "Second Amendment Rights Protection Act of 2001." This bill is extremely important, since it will stop the FBI attempts to register and tax gun owners.
H.R. 1460 contains real "teeth." It gives aggrieved private citizens the ability to sue the FBI, and to collect monetary damages -- including attorney's fees -- if a court determines the FBI is registering gun owners. Relying on the police to police themselves is never the best way to go. This bill would help protect the privacy of American citizens.
Again, please cosponsor H.R. 1460. Gun Owners of America will keep me informed on the progress of this bill.