Thursday, November 17, 2005
Registration leads to confiscation. We all know that, and that is why GOA has vehemently opposed all attempts by government forces to compile or retain information pertaining to lawful firearms purchases.
But in the name of fighting terrorism, the United States Congress is getting ready to trample on the rights of law-abiding Americans, no matter what the Constitution (and current law) happens to say.
The House will be voting as early as this Friday (tomorrow) on the PATRIOT Act reauthorization bill (H.R. 3199). Congressmen have been ironing out differences in the House and Senate versions of the bill for quite some time, as GOA -- along with other interested organizations -- has watched carefully to see what the House-Senate conferees would produce.
Well, the product stinks.
GOA alerted you in June to the potential dangers in this legislation. Unfortunately, the problems have remained in the bill, and it poses a very dangerous threat to gun owners.
This LATEST version of this bill has yet to be posted on Thomas (the legislative website for Congress) and, most likely, legislators won't even have this language in front of them before they vote on it. As has happened quite often, they MIGHT get a copy of the bill right before they vote, but they will certainly not have time to read it.
That's why it's so important that you contact your Representative and tell him that gun owners are VERY concerned with this legislation.
Capitol Hill sources have told GOA there is a provision in this bill (amending Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act) which would allow the FBI to get a secret court order to seize ANY business records it believes would be relevant to an anti-terrorism investigation... without having to make the case that the gun records they're confiscating have any connection to a suspected terrorist.
Hence, in the name of fighting terrorism, the FBI will be given a license for unbridled fishing expeditions.
Gun sales are business transactions, and FFL holders must retain copies of the 4473 forms (yellow sheets) filled out on every gun sale. Thus, an anti-gun administration could easily determine that such records would be useful in the fight against terrorism, and demand them all.
But that's not all. More than just your gun purchase records are at stake. Financial and medical records, library records and much more will now be open to FBI fishing expeditions. They won't have to get any prior court approval.
It gets worse. If the gun dealer, where you purchased firearms, is required to hand over your gun purchase records, he is BARRED from telling you about it under the PATRIOT Act.
So that dealer would be the ONLY person who could contest the action before your life is raked over the coals... and honestly, how many among us would risk everything rather than tell the feds who it was that stopped by to pick up a Glock a couple of months ago?
Once the FBI has used these secret court orders to collect all gun purchase records across the country, your friendly anti-gun but oh-so-patriotic government would have brought about the gun owner's second-worst-case scenario: a national firearms registration list.
Registration leads to confiscation.
This monstrosity must be stopped. Please take the action requested below, and urge all freedom-loving Americans you know to do the same.
ACTION: Contact your Representative. Politely but firmly demand that they oppose the conference version of the PATRIOT Act (H.R. 3199), and specifically, its provision to allow secret court orders to collect gun records.
You can use the pre-written message below and send it as an e-mail by visiting the GOA Legislative Action Center at http://www.gunowners.org/activism.htm (where phone and fax numbers are also available).
The PATRIOT Act expansion bill (H.R. 3199) would allow the United States government to seize every lawful gun sale record in the country... solely on the basis of a bureaucrat's determination that a national registry of gun owners would be useful in an anti-terrorism investigation.
Section 106 in the bill amends Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act to allow agents of the federal government to get secret court orders for any and all business records which, in their opinion, are relevant to investigating terrorism.
Even more ominous, the gun dealers would be required NOT to disclose the existence of the investigation to their customers, meaning that the dealer (rather than the gun purchaser) would be the only person who could contest this action. And why should he risk his livelihood on my behalf? This is massive gun control by simple executive fiat.
There is an illusory right to challenge the secrecy of the court orders, but it's just that... an illusion. If the government claims there is a national security issue at stake or that there's an ongoing criminal investigation, then the FBI's fishing expedition can remain a secret and remain unchallenged.
I believe that a national gun registry is a step this country cannot afford to take, and one that the citizenry will not abide.
I would ask you, in the strongest terms, to oppose this PATRIOT Act "reform" bill outright. Please vote against H.R. 3199.
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