Free Speech, National ID, And Executive Orders

(Friday, October 22, 1999) — Gun owners cheered this week when efforts to squelch free speech were shelved for the year. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was the mastermind behind the successful filibuster that killed legislation limiting the political speech of ordinary Americans.

Supporters of the Senate bill (S. 1593) fell seven votes short of breaking the McConnell filibuster. While the Senate bill definitely had its problems, the House version (H.R. 417) would have severely restricted the ability of groups like GOA to report on incumbents’ voting records during the election season. Killing the bill in the Senate effectively dooms the egregious House bill.

GOA thanks its members for contacting their Senators in support of the McConnell filibuster.

Gun Owners Dodge Registration As Congress Tears Up National ID Card

Gun Owners of America made a last-ditch effort recently to preserve legislation effectively gutting the National ID card. Thankfully, the hard work paid off, and the National ID system that was supposed to go on line next year is now dead.

Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) led the fight on the Hill against the National ID. “This is a great moment for all Americans,” he said. “Thousands of Americans should feel great pride in knowing their calls and letters to Members of Congress succeeded in stopping the National ID.”

Under the provisions of legislation passed three years ago, no one would be allowed after October 1, 2000 to purchase a gun, board a plane, open a bank account, go to a doctor, enter a school or take a new, private sector job without having a National ID card.

It is quite possible that the ID card could have become a vehicle for encrypting all kinds of personal information on it, including a person’s fingerprints, gun owner status, etc. The creation of a National ID card could have easily facilitated attempts by anti-gun bureaucrats to register innocent gun owners.

The House of Representatives killed the ill-conceived National ID plan in the bill that funds the Transportation Department. The legislation became law on October 9.

Gun Owners To Benefit As Rep. Paul Moves To Rein In Executive Orders

Meanwhile, the House will be holding hearings next week on key legislation introduced by Rep. Paul. This bill will restrict the power of presidents to legislate by Executive Order, or by any other type of presidential proclamation or directive. The bill is H.R. 2655, the Separation of Powers Restoration Act.

It is not too difficult to imagine how an anti-gun President like Bill Clinton could use these declarations to greatly abuse gun owners’ rights. Speaking on the topic of Executive Orders, former Clinton Advisor Paul Begala was quoted in the New York Times on July 5, 1998, as saying, “Stroke of the pen. Law of the Land. Kinda cool.”

Of course, Executive Orders are not the only kind of presidential proclamation that can violate gun owners’ rights. In November 1997, Clinton issued a directive placing a 120-day freeze on the importation of certain semi-automatic firearms. His administration later followed with an outright ban, thus keeping 58 firearms from ever coming into the country again. Paul’s legislation would deny Presidents the opportunity to ban guns by executive fiat.

Gun owners should ask their Representatives to cosponsor H.R. 2655. You can call the Capitol at 202-225-3121. Please see the GOA website for fax and e-mail contact info.

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