GOA Members Achieve Another Important Victory
GOA Members Achieve Yet Another Important Victory
— Pat yourself on the back, then use the pre-written language to contact your Rep.
Gun Owners of America E-Mail/FAX Alert
8001 Forbes Place, Suite 102, Springfield, VA 22151
Phone: 703-321-8585 / FAX: 703-321-8408
(Friday, July 6, 2001) — A lot of your hard work bore fruit last week. As you may know, Attorney General John Ashcroft recommended that the FBI should only keep gun buyers’ records for 24 hours, as opposed to the 90 days that the Clinton administration had been asking for.
This is a battle which Gun Owners of America began more than three years ago. In 1998, GOA was working closely with Sen. Bob Smith (R-NH) in an effort to make significant changes in the Brady law. Sen. Smith offered a GOA-supported amendment in hopes of forcing the FBI to “immediately destroy” any and all records relating to gun buyers. (His amendment also prohibited the FBI from effectively taxing gun buyers.)
Those of you who have been on the GOA fax/email system for some time will remember that we blitzed the Senate in support of this legislation and that we won an incredible victory.
GOA ACTIVISTS SCORED BIG!
Working alone, GOA members helped push the Smith amendment over the top by a whopping 69-31 vote in the Senate. The victory was so overwhelming that political pundits all over Capitol Hill were quite astonished. The “no registration” amendment was attached to an appropriations bill which President Clinton would almost assuredly have to sign. Unfortunately, the Smith amendment was later watered down in a conference committee, and the requirement for the FBI to “immediately destroy” gun buyers’ information was removed. (The “no tax” provision did become law, however.)
This year, GOA gave several suggestions to the incoming Attorney General — actions which he could unilaterally take to advance Second Amendment rights. At the top of the list was the suggestion to cut down the registration period allowing the FBI to keep information relating to gun buyers.
GOA APPLAUDS THE ASHCROFT ACTION AS A GOOD FIRST STEP
When Ashcroft announced last week that the FBI would only be keeping gun buyer information for 24 hours, GOA’s Larry Pratt applauded the action as a move in the right direction.
“Years ago, Sarah Brady greeted the passage of the Instant Registration Check as a good first step towards more gun control. Now, we greet General Ashcroft’s move as a good first step towards the repeal of this unconstitutional law,” Pratt said.
“This law has been completely ineffective. Even a leading anti- gunner, Professor Jens Ludwig, authored a study last year which found that the Brady law has had no impact in lowering crime.
“This law must be repealed in its entirety,” Pratt emphasized. “Government officials should not be screening decent people before they exercise their God-given rights. The Second Amendment makes this point very clear, noting that the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed in any way.”
WHY THE BRADY REGISTRATION CHECK MUST BE REPEALED
When a person buys a firearm from a gun dealer, he or she must have their name phoned in to the FBI for a Brady background check. The FBI compares that name to a list of known criminals, and then lets the dealer know if the sale can proceed.
There is a growing concern among gun owners that those names are never deleted once they are entered into the federal database. And even if the FBI under a Bush administration were diligent to delete all identifying information after 24 hours — and that is a big IF — would a future Gore or Daschle administration be just as vigilant? (Remember, the FBI has a history of infringing upon the privacy of law-abiding Americans, such as the time the agency sent over hundreds of illegal files on top Republicans to the Clinton administration.)
Two House bills will remove the gun owner registration threat. For this reason, GOA is supporting two bills in the Congress that would effectively deal with this problem. First, Rep. Joel Hefley (R-CO) has introduced H.R. 1460 to keep the FBI from taxing and registering gun owners. The Hefley language calls for the “immediate destruction” of ANY and ALL information that might help identify lawful gun buyers. This is the original Smith language from three years ago. Moreover, the bill specifically authorizes private individuals to sue the FBI for registering gun owners and specifically offers to compensate them for legal fees when they sue the FBI.
Second, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) has introduced H.R. 1762 to repeal the Brady registration law in its entirety. Your Congressman needs to hear your support for this bill. He or she needs to hear that folks in the grassroots want gun control repealed from the books and that they are totally opposed to gun owner registration in any form.
In the short-run, however, the Hefley bill stands the better chance of passing. This anti-registration legislation has garnered bipartisan support in the past — mainly because of its privacy benefits. As mentioned earlier, Sen. Smith pushed this legislation through the Senate in 1998 and garnered a veto-proof majority of 69 votes.
Please use the pre-written note below to encourage your Representative to sign on to Brady Abuse Cut-off bill, H.R. 1460. The Hefley bill currently has 14 cosponsors.
You can call your Representative at 1-877-762-8762 (toll free) or at 202-225-3121. To identify your Representative, see the Legislative Action Center at http://www.gunowners.org/activism.htm on the GOA website.
—– Pre-written message —–
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.
GOA’s Larry Pratt to speak in NYC next week!
On Saturday, July 14, 2001, many Americans will be gathering at high noon in New York City to protest the United Nations, and GOA Executive Director Larry Pratt will be there as one of the featured speakers. If you are interested in attending the rally and need more information, you can open an information flyer at http://www.trt-ny.org/PDF/TRTRally%20Flyer2.pdf1.pdf on the internet.