Crime Bill Endangers 2nd Amend.
Senate Republican Crime Bill Could Put Second Amendment out of Business
by Gun Owners of America
8001 Forbes Place, Suite 102
Springfield, VA 22151
(703) 321-8585, fax: 321-8408
(Tuesday, June 3, 1997) — The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to soon begin deliberations over juvenile crime legislation. The chosen vehicle is S. 10, which has been introduced by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and has been cosponsored by 27 other Republicans. Gun owners should take note that many horrible anti-gun provisions were included in the bill. Also, Democrats are planning to offer many of their own anti-gun provisions as amendments to the bill.
RICO: Suing the Second Amendment out of existence (Section 206 of S. 10)
* This section is clearly the worst provision in the bill as it would apply the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO) to gun dealers. In fact, this provision would apply RICO to ALL Title 18 firearms offenses, including simple paperwork violations. This means that a gun dealer, manufacturer, or owner can be treated like a Mafia hit man, and thus be sent to prison for up to twenty years for two record-keeping mistakes. Moreover, the dealer’s business can be forfeited — along with his home, car and any other possession he used in connection with his gun business.
* Further, this provision would allow organizations like Handgun Control, Inc. (HCI) to bring cases in federal court for “injured parties” (such as Bill Cosby or any other family that has suffered from a firearms related injury) and sue the manufacturer or the dealer that sold the gun. If successful, HCI — or its “prearranged plaintiff” — would recover three times the actual damages, plus attorney’s fees in each suit. HCI would only need to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the manufacturer, dealer or importer had committed more than one record-keeping violation, and that it supposedly led to the victim’s injury.
“Son of RICO:” Hitting unsuspecting gun owners with huge penalties (Section 203 of S. 10)
* This section could punish an otherwise honest gun owner with a 10-year mandatory prison sentence if he ran afoul of virtually any of the federal code’s more esoteric gun laws — even if the infraction is merely a possession or paperwork charge. As stated by David Kopel, noted gun researcher and author, any of the following scenarios would hit otherwise honest gun owners with huge jail times if S. 10 were to pass:
a. A father and a mother take their teenage children target shooting every weekend one summer. The teenagers use their parents’ handgun, under parental supervision. Although the teenagers are under continuous parental supervision, the teenagers do not possess and keep in their possession at all times a written note from their parents authorizing the children to possess a handgun at the target range.
b. Three adult men often go hunting together, and like to tinker with their rifles. One afternoon, they put a folding stock on one of their rifles, to make it easier to carry in the field. Another day, they put a muzzle brake on the rifle, to make the follow-up shot more accurate.
* All of the “offenders” above could be treated as “criminal street gangs” under S. 10 and could be hit with a minimum of 10 years in jail. In brief, “gangs” are defined as an association of 3 or more people who commit even two (firearms-related) paperwork or possession offenses that constitute a “primary activity” of the group.
Juvenile crime legislation federalizes crime, says Pete DuPont, former governor of Delaware (The Washington Times, 6/2/97):
* “U.S. attorneys prosecute no more than a couple hundred juveniles a year. And crime, with just a few constitutional exceptions, is a state matter. So why is Congress making this a federal issue? Because people are concerned about crime and politicians believe passing a crime bill means votes.”
* “What is happening here is another federal seizure of state authority. Giving U.S. attorneys this measure of control over state courts is a significant, and unwarranted, broadening of federal power and diminishment of federalism principles.”
ACTION: Call your Senators at 1-800-962-3524, 1-800-972-3524 or 202-224-3121
* Urge your Senators to oppose any crime legislation that would infringe your 2nd Amendment liberties.
* Encourage cosponsors of the bill to push extra hard for removal of the RICO provisions. Among the 27 Republican cosponsors that could use phone calls are: Abraham (MI), Allard (CO), Ashcroft (MO), Bond (MO), Burns (MT), Coverdell (GA), Craig (ID), Domenici (NM), Enzi (WY), Faircloth (NC), Grams (MN), Grassley (IA), Hagel (NE), Helms (NC), Hutchinson (AR), Kyl (AZ), Lott (MS), Mack (FL), Murkowski (AK), Roberts (KS), Sessions (AL), Thomas (WY), and Warner (VA).
* Urge Senators to oppose any & all anti-gun amendments from the Democrats (e.g., trigger locks, etc.).
* If you wish to call, fax, or e-mail your Senators’ offices directly, contact info can be found at http://www.gunowners.org/s105th.htm on the GOA website.
Larry Pratt on “Crossfire”
Larry Pratt, Executive Director of Gun Owners of America, appeared on “Crossfire” on April 21 following the anniversary of the Oklahoma bombing and the final raid at Waco. Pat Buchanan and Larry squared off against hostess-on-the-left Geraldine Ferraro and Brian Levin, an attorney and former staffer of Morris Dees’ Southern Poverty Law Center.
The debate topic was “Are the militias really a threat, or are they owed an apology?” To get a copy of this video, send a check for $7.50 (including shipping and handling) to GOA at 8001 Forbes Place, Suite 102, Springfield, VA 22151. Credit card orders (Master Card, VISA, Am. Exp.) can be phoned: 1-800-417-1486 or faxed: 703-321-8408.
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