9/03 Please Oppose the Anti-gun “NICS Improvement Act”

Please Oppose The Anti-gun “NICS Improvement Act”
Gun Owners of America
8001 Forbes Place, Suite 102, Springfield, VA 22151
Phone: 703-321-8585 / FAX: 703-321-8408

September 30, 2003

Dear Representative:

Shortly, you may be asked to cosponsor or support legislation to dramatically increase the number of records on law-abiding Americans that are shipped to the FBI’s Instantcheck system in West Virginia.

We would ask you to OPPOSE this ill-begotten anti-gun legislation, dubbed the “NICS Improvement Act.”

The fact that gun prohibitionists such as Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) and Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) have sponsored this legislation should be enough to convince anyone that this bill will not further Second Amendment rights.

While the specifics of this legislation have not been made publicly available, the most recent draft (H.R. 4757 from the 107th Congress) could require the states to hand over the following information to the FBI: state tax returns, records of persons diverted to drug treatment programs, and other personal or financial records.

This is because federal law — specifically 18 U.S.C. 922(d) and (g) — prohibits firearms ownership not just for felons and domestic misdemeanors, but for marijuana users, illegal aliens, and “mental defectives.” Therefore, virtually any record relevant to these issues could be required by the FBI under H.R. 4757.

I would hope that even those anti-gun Democrats who have recently attacked Attorney General John Ashcroft for seeking out personal information regarding law-abiding Americans (pursuant to the PATRIOT Act) would not act hypocritically by authorizing DoJ to demand huge amounts of personal information on law-abiding citizens from the states.

The most recent version of this bill has been titled the “NICS Improvement Act” — referring to the records system upon which the Brady Act is built. But the Brady Act should be scrapped, not “improved,” because it has been a complete failure.

For instance, the Brady Act has not stopped criminals from using guns in crime. Even one of the nation’s leading anti-gun medical publications, the Journal of the American Medical Association (August 2000), found that the Brady registration law has failed to reduce murder rates.

It’s no wonder. Felons can (and do) illegally get firearms from FFL dealers, even after Brady Checks have been performed. Consider the following government studies:

    * From the BATF’s Commerce in Firearms report (2000): “Guns purchased from FFLs may have been unknowingly sold by the FFL to straw purchasers.” (See p. 22.)

    * From the GAO’s Firearms Purchased from Federal Firearm Licensees Using Bogus Identification, report (2001): GAO investigators found that they were able to purchase firearms “using counterfeit driver’s licenses with fictitious identifiers” every time they tried to buy a firearm from a gun dealer. (See p. 2.)

Again, this shows that even with the Brady background check, felons are still able to get guns illegally from FFL dealers! The oft-quoted saying is quite true: Criminals don’t obey gun laws. They use fake IDs; they use straw purchasers. They find many ways to get their hands on guns — illegally.

I would urge Republicans and pro-gun Democrats to stand up for the Second Amendment in opposition to this dismal piece of legislation. You should be particularly chagrined with the fact that, at a time when Senator Chuck Schumer is killing a wide range of House-passed legislation, anti-gun forces were found bragging in the New York Times that passage of this NICS Improvement Act will “explode the myth that nothing can be achieved [to limit] guns in [a Republican] Congress.”

In summary — for the sake of the Second Amendment and the Constitution — please OPPOSE this expanded snooping into the lives of Americans. Please do NOT cosponsor the McCarthy-Schumer bill. Thank you.


Larry Pratt
Executive Director