More Details And Senate Action Re: PATRIOT Act

Senate Now Planning To Extend FBI Fishing Expeditions Into Gun Sales Records
— Even as opposition has begun to coalesce!

ACTION: Things are happening in the Senate! If you have not contacted your Representative yet (as a result of yesterday’s alert), here’s your chance to contact your senators.

There are six senators who have said they may be willing to filibuster this legislation — and one of them has even committed to do so through the Thanksgiving recess. That’s why it’s imperative that you contact your two senators.

Please urge them to 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 at the bottom of this alert and send it as an e-mail by visiting the GOA Legislative Action Center at (where phone and fax numbers are also available).

Friday, November 18, 2005

Gun Owners of America contacted you yesterday about H.R. 3199, which will expand the ability of the FBI to compile a registration list of gun purchase records.

The Senate is now planning to vote on this PATRIOT Act reauthorization bill as soon as Saturday, as Majority Leader Bill Frist is trying to ram the bill through the Senate before it recesses before Thanksgiving.

Under current law, Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act allows the FBI to get secret court orders to seize ANY business records it believes would be relevant to an anti-terrorism investigation… without having to make the case that the records they’re confiscating have any connection to a suspected terrorist.

All along, the concern has been that “business records” can be interpreted to mean “gun records.” The FBI has been making this assertion already, even though federal law doesn’t specifically state they have the authority to do so. (In fact, the McClure-Volkmer law states that the feds cannot retain firearms records at all.)

Well, H.R. 3199 would change all that. The bill clearly states that “firearms sales records” are now fair game for the FBI, in essence, overturning the prohibition on gun registration.

But if H.R. 3199 were to be defeated, two things would happen:

1. The FBI would lose the ability to point to federal law and say that they can get a secret court order to grab your “firearms sales records,” and,

2. Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act would sunset entirely, which means the FBI won’t be able to get secret court orders for ANY of your records (including medical, library, financial, etc.).

Unfortunately, H.R. 3199 allows Section 215 to continue for another seven years, when it would then “sunset.” But seven years is too long to allow these FBI fishing expeditions to continue.

Similar to yesterday, please use the pre-written letter below to direct your comments to your Senators, and urge all freedom-loving Americans you know to do the same.

—–Pre-written letter—–

Dear Senator:

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.

Registration leads to confiscation.

H.R. 3199 amends Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act to allow agents of the federal government to get secret court orders for “firearms sales records” which, in their opinion, are relevant to investigating terrorism.

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.

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 and support any effort to filibuster it as well.



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