Tougher Restrictions On Non-Citizen Gun Purchases Are Wrong

(Springfield, VA) — Gun Owners of America today denounced the myriad of regulations and restrictions that law-abiding persons must go through in order to exercise their Second Amendment rights. This denouncement came just after President Clinton unveiled a more restrictive firearms purchase form and transaction record that gun dealers must use to enforce the Brady law’s waiting period and background check.

“This type of action by our President treats the Bill of Rights as mere privileges to be handed out by the government,” said GOA Executive Director Larry Pratt. “Law-abiding persons should not have to prove their innocence to government officials before exercising their rights.”

The ostensible purpose of the new Treasury form is to require noncitizen buyers “to show a photo ID plus some other proof,” such as utility bills, that they have been a resident for at least 90 days of the particular state in which they are trying to make the purchase.

“But this only ingrains the false premise that one can legally have his feet on U.S. soil, and yet not have the Bill of Rights apply to him,” Pratt said. “Do we require law-abiding aliens to show proof of residency before they give a speech? Or, before they give a sermon? Do we require them to submit to a waiting period before writing an editorial or producing a news story?

“Further, do legal aliens somehow enjoy fewer Fourth Amendment protections against search and seizure than other residents in this country? If not, then why do we all of a sudden treat the Second Amendment as a mere privilege which government officials can restrict or revoke at their own discretion?” Pratt said.

GOA has been the only national pro-firearms group to speak out against background check requirements that force honest people to get prior permission from government officials to exercise their rights. According to the May 16, 1997 edition of The Washington Times, “Several gun control groups backed the [Clinton] proposal, as did the NRA.”