12/05 Vote AGAINST Cloture On H.R. 3199!

Vote AGAINST Cloture On H.R. 3199!

December 12, 2005

Dear Senator:

As you know, the PATRIOT Act reauthorization (H.R. 3199) is nearing its final stages. Certain provisions in the bill could be touted as affording Second Amendment protections. But at the same time, there has been some confusion over how these provisions will actually impact gun rights. Specifically, the language in question amends Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act.

On the one hand, the insertion of the words “firearms sales records” in H.R. 3199 could be deemed as protection for gun owners, as the section now adds certain safeguards when such records are requested by the FBI.

On the other hand, the bill would extend provisions which the FBI claims would allow it to seize 4473 forms, without the approval of any judge.

This runs contrary to the protections that were gained in the Firearms Owners Protection Act of 1986, when it prohibited the establishment of any registration system with respect to firearms [see 18 USC 926(a)(3)]. It is also significant to note that federal code bans inspections of gun dealers records, excluding four, narrowly tailored exceptions [18 USC 923(g)(1)(b)]. Those exceptions are absent with regard to the FBI’s current practice of soliciting 4473 forms under the PATRIOT Act.

You are certainly familiar with the rule of construction that deems more recent legislation to trump older legislation when there is a clear conflict between the two. The protections that were won during the McClure-Volkmer battle took years to achieve, and it would be a shame to see those protections superseded by another enactment of gun control — all in the vain hope that gun owners’ purchase records can somehow help authorities curb terrorism. (Gun registration certainly hasn’t worked to curb crime in any of the states or localities that have implemented it.)

For this reason, Gun Owners of America would like to see language in the PATRIOT Act which further restricts the ability of a future, anti-gun administration to muster a gun owner registration list. GOA urges you to vote AGAINST cloture on H.R. 3199 so that the PATRIOT Act can be amended as follows, and hence, go a long way to safeguarding gun owners’ liberties:

    No provision of this act shall preempt limitations on the procurement of firearms records contained in the Firearms Owners Protection Act of 1986.

Thank you for your consideration of this very important matter.


Larry Pratt
Executive Director
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