-- McCarthy bill would treat gun owners even worse than terrorists
"Another gun rights group, the Gun Owners of America, is adamantly opposed to the [McCarthy-Dingell] legislation. It said the measure would allow the government to trample privacy rights by compiling reams of personal information and potentially bar mentally stable people from buying guns." -- Associated Press, April 24, 2007
This is going to be a knock-down, drag-out fight. GOA continues to stand alone in the trenches, defending the rights of gun owners around the country. It's not going to be easy.
Gun control supporters want to pass gun control within the next couple of weeks. And that's why, even if you took action earlier this week, you need to do so once again.
All the gun haters (who have been keeping silent for a while) are now coming out of the closet and into the open. Take the notoriously anti-gun senator from New York -- Chuck Schumer. He has been very, very excited this week. Recent events have given him a platform, and the excuse, to push legislation that he had sponsored years ago -- legislation that never got through Congress.
You see, Senator Chuck Schumer has been, in past years, the Senate sponsor of the McCarthy bill (HR 297). And the recent murders at Virginia Tech have given Senator Schumer the pretext he has been looking for. Appearing on the Bill O'Reilly show earlier this week, Schumer did his best to make a reasonable-sounding pitch for more gun control.
He told O'Reilly on Monday that while he and Rep. McCarthy had previously worked together on this legislation, he now wants Congress to take up HR 297 quickly. "The Brady Law is a reasonable limitation," Schumer said. "Some might disagree with me, but I think certain kinds of licensing and registration is a reasonable limitation. We do it for cars."
Get the picture? First, he wants the Brady Law strengthened with the McCarthy-Dingell-Schumer legislation. Then it's off to pass more gun control -- treating guns like cars, where all gun owners are licensed and where bureaucrats will have a wonderful confiscation list.
In the O'Reilly interview, Schumer showed his hand when he revealed the strategy for this bill. Because it could become such a hot potato -- thanks to your efforts -- Senator Schumer is pushing to get this bill passed by Unanimous Consent in the Senate, which basically means that the bill would get passed WITHOUT A VOTE.
This is a perfect way to pass gun control without anyone getting blamed... or so they think. We need to tell every Senator that if this bill passes without a vote, then we hold ALL OF THEM responsible. (Be looking for a future GOA alert aimed at your Senators.)
On the House side, the Associated Press reported this past Monday that "House Democratic leaders are working with the National Rifle Association to bolster existing laws blocking" certain prohibited persons from buying guns. Of course, there are at least three problems with this approach:
1. It's morally and constitutionally wrong to require law-abiding citizens to first prove their innocence to the government before they can exercise their rights -- whether it's Second Amendment rights, First Amendment rights, or any other right. Doing that gives bureaucrats the opportunity to abuse their power and illegitimately prevent honest gun owners from buying guns.
2. Bureaucrats have already used the Brady Law to illegitimately deny the Second Amendment rights of innocent Americans. Americans have been prevented from buying guns because of outstanding traffic tickets, because of errors, because the NICS computer system has crashed -- and don't forget returning veterans because of combat-related stress. You give an anti-gun bureaucrat an inch, he'll take a mile -- which we have already seen as GOA has documented numerous instances of the abuses mentioned above.
3. Finally, all the background checks in the world will NOT stop bad guys from getting firearms. As we mentioned in the previous alert, severe restrictions in Washington, DC, England, Canada, Germany and other places have not stopped evil people from using guns to commit murder. (Correction: In our previous alert, we incorrectly identified Ireland as the location of the infamous schoolyard massacre. In fact, it took place in Dunblane, Scotland in 1996 -- a country which at the time had even more stringent laws than we have here.)
McCARTHY BILL TREATING GUN OWNERS WORSE THAN TERRORISTS
HR 297 would require the states to turn over mountains of personal data (on people like you) to the FBI -- any information which according to the Attorney General, in his or her unilateral discretion, would be useful in ascertaining who is or is not a "prohibited person."
Liberal support for this bill points out an interesting hypocrisy in their loyalties: For six years, congressional Democrats have complained about the Bush administration's efforts to obtain personal information on suspected terrorists WITHOUT A COURT ORDER.
And yet, this bill would allow the FBI to obtain massive amounts of information -- information which dwarfs any records obtained from warrantless searches (or wiretaps) that have been conducted by the Bush Administration on known or suspected terrorists operating in the country.
In fact, HR 297 would allow the FBI to get this information on honest Americans (like you) even though the required data is much more private and personal than any information obtained thus far by the Bush administration on terrorists.
And all of these personal records would be obtained by the FBI with no warrant or judicial or Congressional oversight whatsoever!!!
Get the picture? Spying on terrorists is bad... but spying on honest gun owners is good. After all, this horrific intrusion on the private lives of all Americans is presumed to be "okay" because it's only being used to bash guns, not to go after terrorists and criminals who are trying to kill us.
As indicated in earlier alerts, this information could include your medical, psychological, financial, education, employment, traffic, state tax records and more. We don't even know the full extent of what could be included because HR 297 -- which can be viewed at http://thomas.loc.gov/ by typing in the bill number -- is so open-ended. It requires states to provide the NICS system with ALL RECORDS that the Attorney General believes will help the FBI determine who is and who is not a prohibited person. Certainly, an anti-gun AG like Janet Reno would want as many types of records in the system as possible.
The provision that would probably lead to the greatest number of 'fishing expeditions' is that related to illegal aliens. Federal law prohibits illegal aliens from owning guns. The bill requires all "relevant" data related to who is in this country illegally. But what records pertaining to illegal aliens from the states would be relevant? Perhaps a better question would be, what records are not relevant?
1. Please take a moment to communicate your opposition to HR 297 -- even if you already sent your Representative a note earlier this week. We have provided a new letter (below) which provides updated information relating to the battle we are fighting.
House leaders are talking about bringing up this bill soon. And Sen. Schumer (in his interview with O'Reilly) even hinted at the fact that the bill could come up WITHOUT the ability to offer pro-gun amendments -- such as a repeal of the DC gun ban or reciprocity for concealed carry holders -- provisions that could potentially serve as killer amendments.
Also -- oh yeah, this is going to upset you -- Senator Schumer told O'Reilly, "I got to tell you, a lot of NRA people, they support this." Can you believe that? Senator Schumer is claiming to speak for you! That’s why it's so important that you once again tell your congressman that Schumer is wrong... that you're a supporter of gun rights who OPPOSES the anti-gun McCarthy-Dingell bill.
2. Please circulate this e-mail and forward it to as many gun owners as you can.
CONTACT INFORMATION: You can visit the Gun Owners Legislative Action Center to send your Representative the pre-written e-mail message below. And, you can call your Representative toll-free at 1-877-762-8762.
----- Pre-written letter -----
As a supporter of Second Amendment rights, I do NOT support HR 297, the NICS Improvement Act. I hope that you will OPPOSE this bill and urge your party leadership to either kill it outright or to allow other pro-gun amendments to be offered (repeal of the DC gun ban, reciprocity for concealed carry holders, etc.).
In its current form, HR 297 will treat gun owners even worse than terrorists, giving the FBI a mountain of private information on law-abiding Americans like me.
How is it that, despite all the criticism over the Bush administration's attempts to obtain personal information on suspected terrorists without a court order, this bill would allow the FBI to obtain massive amounts of information on ME -- information which dwarfs any warrantless searches (or wiretaps) that have been conducted by the Bush Administration on known or suspected terrorists operating in the country.
And all of this personal information would be obtained by the FBI with no warrant or judicial or Congressional oversight whatsoever!!!
How is it that spying on terrorists is bad, but spying on honest gun owners is good?
Again, I hope that you will oppose HR 297. Gun Owners of America will continue to keep me informed on the progress of this bill. Thank you.