Immigration Bill Update
-- Montana Senator offering amendment that has benefit for gun owners
Gun Owners of America
8001 Forbes Place, Suite 102
Springfield, VA 22151
Friday, June 22, 2007
If you've been listening to the news, you know that the immigration bill may soon be back on the U.S. Senate floor for consideration. Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts has reintroduced his immigration bill (along with Senator Specter of Pennsylvania). The new bill, S. 1639, contains both of the concerns that GOA alerted you to last month:
* First, section 205 of the bill could, in the hands of an anti-gun administration, PUT EVERY MAJOR GUN SHOP OUT OF BUSINESS. (Please see our alert, dated May 23, for more information on this.)
* Second, the immigration bill could deny many gun owners their right to find a job or buy a gun.
In regard to the latter concern, Montana Senator Max Baucus (D) is sponsoring an amendment that will delete all references to "driver's licenses" and "identification cards" under the REAL ID Act.
This is a good thing which will have ramifications for gun owners nationwide.
Baucus is only a D rated Senator by GOA, but he clearly has more than gun rights on his mind -- he is directly representing the interests of his state.
In April, the state of Montana enacted GOA-supported legislation that ordered state agencies to REFUSE to implement the REAL ID (a.k.a., National ID) card. Currently, there are about a dozen states that have joined Montana either in blocking the implementation of this law or in sharply criticizing it. Altogether, about three dozen states have introduced legislation to deal with this act in one way or another.
Gun Owners of America has been concerned about the REAL ID law -- which has yet to be implemented -- because of the threat it poses to gun owners' privacy. The National ID Card is an $11 billion boondoggle enacted by Congress in 2005, ostensibly as an anti-terror measure. But, of course, there was not a single 9/11 terrorist who would have been prevented from boarding a plane because of the lack of an American driver's license -- or who would be blocked from doing so today.
NATIONAL ID CARD POSES DANGERS FOR GUN OWNERS
What the National ID Card requirement will do, instead, is to give an Attorney General (such as, for instance, former Attorney General Janet Reno) the unfettered discretion to make it dramatically more difficult and time consuming to get a driver's license. This would apply equally to new applicants and to Americans who have had their drivers' licenses for fifty years.
Thus, if an anti-gun administration determined that members of the militia constituted a threat to national security -- and placed them on one of its "watch lists" -- many gun owners could soon lose the ability to travel, open a bank account, drive, check into a hotel, cash a check, get a job, or PURCHASE A GUN from a dealer.
Seniors who could not locate their fifty-year-old Social Security cards or birth certificates (or persons who had had those documents lost or stolen) could face the same fate.
The law would also allow the federal government to determine the information which must be digitally encoded on the license. Therefore, an anti-gun administration could theoretically require that your license contain information about your concealed carry status. This will make it, to say the least, "interesting" when you are traveling in parts of the country which are antagonistic to gun rights.
Further, all of this personal information on you will be available nationally and internationally on a computer database LEGALLY accessible to millions of people... and illegally accessible to virtually anyone.
The good news is that a single non-compliant state -- such as Montana -- is probably enough to destroy the entire National ID Card system. But the immigration bill increases the consequences for a state like Montana by threatening to deny every citizen the opportunity to find a job.
IMMIGRATION BILL THREATENS JOBS AND GUNS
Here's how. S. 1639 will require all private sector employees to be screened by an "electronic employee eligibility verification system" (Section 1(a)(5)(A)). And Title III of the bill stipulates that no employer will be able to hire you unless you possess identification that amounts to a National ID card.
Get the picture? No National ID card... no job.
The fact that section 302(c)(6) asserts that the required identification is not a "national identification card" is more a testimony to the lack of honesty of the supporters than it is to the actuality of federal requirements under the 2005 REAL ID Act. (We have seen these promises before. Remember when Social Security Cards used to explicitly state the number and card were never to be used for identification purposes?)
So Congress is threatening to retaliate against Montana, Washington, New Hampshire, South Carolina or any other state which has the temerity to resist its will. That’s why the Baucus amendment is so important. A vote for the Baucus amendment is a vote for privacy -- especially the privacy of gun owners.
ACTION: Please use the letter below to contact your Senators. While GOA supports the Baucus amendment, we still OPPOSE the entire bill. As such, it is important to ask each Senator to vote AGAINST CLOTURE -- that is, to oppose any limits on debating the bill, thus perpetuating a filibuster of S. 1639.
You can use the pre-written message below and send it as an e-mail by visiting the GOA Legislative Action Center at (where phone and fax numbers are also available).
The revised immigration bill (S. 1639) currently up for consideration would:
* Bar employment by residents of any state that has had the temerity to block the REAL ID Act (including Montana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Washington or any other state that delays the implementation of this law); and
* In the hands of an anti-gun administration, allow gun shops to be classed as "criminal gangs." (See the analysis of the "criminal gang" provision at http://www.gunowners.org/a052307.htm on the website of Gun Owners of America.)
The Baucus amendment would help with the first problem, and I support it.
But the wise course is to VOTE AGAINST CLOTURE -- and resist the temptation to assume that this mess will be cleaned up sometime in the legislative process. The sponsors have had ample opportunity to remove the anti-gun and anti-constitutional provisions of the bill, and have thus far refused to do so.
Again, while I support the Baucus amendment, I oppose this entire bill and encourage you to vote against cloture.
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