Fact Sheet: Government Terror Bill

Fact Sheet: Government Terror Bill

House passed provisions (H.R. 2703)

* Enhanced penalties for gun owners. The “DeLauro amendment” — added by voice vote on the floor of the House — would demonize laser-sighting equipment by enhancing penalties for ANY federal crime committed while the person was in possession of a laser sight. Thus, a person committing ANY NON-VIOLENT federal crime — securities fraud, speeding on federal reservations, etc. — would get additional prison time because he possessed a laser sight. This would occur under a legal system which does not accord similar legislatively required enhanced status to a defendant who murdered his wife with an ax.

* Schumer amendment to centralize law-enforcement. Rep. Charles Schumer amended the House bill — on a voice vote — to “coordinate and centralize Federal, State, and local law enforcement efforts” under the ruse of responding to “terrorist incidents.” At a time when the FBI and BATF have come under increased scrutiny for abuse of their authority, the amendment would mandate the creation of a new center, the Domestic Counterterrorism Center — even though there has been no more than 12 terrorist incidents in this country for any one year (since 1986) according to the FBI.

* BATF enhancement provision. The bill contains a provision which could federalize many state crimes and, as a result, enlarge the BATF’s scope and jurisdiction (Section 104).

* “Anti-hunter” rifle and ammo study. Under this provision — which was expanded by Rep. Bob Barr in the Rules Committee — the BATF will be given carte blanche to study all types of ammunition and recommend which kinds need to be included under the “armor piercing” ban. Unlike the study as originally proposed, the ammunition studied is not limited to handgun ammo. (It is already well known that much hunting and rifle ammunition can penetrate body armor.) Furthermore, the BATF is required to specifically look at policemen killed with handguns, rifles and shotguns, and thus, opens the door to calling for the regulation of all gun sales (Sec. 112).

* Gun owners incarceration provision. Pro-gun Rep. Helen Chenoweth (R-ID) introduced an amendment to delete this provision (Title IX) from the bill. This provision will severely damage the ability of the courts to rescue honest gun owners who are unjustly incarcerated, and thus, will seriously affect cases in which GOA is currently involved. This provision does not just deal with death penalty cases, as some have insinuated.

Senate passed provisions (S. 735)

* BATF pay increase of $100 million (Sec. 526) and expansion of the RICO statute (Sec. 624).

* Roving wiretaps. Government officials would be authorized to wiretap your home if a person under investigation visits your home — even if you had no knowledge the person was a suspect (Sec. 909).

* Weaken Posse Comitatus law to give military more authority to act as local cops (Sec. 908).

* FBI “fishing expeditions.” The bill gives officials the power to secure one’s financial and travel records in certain circumstances without any evidence one has committed a crime (Sec. 502).