More “Ammo” To Fight Terror Bill

Per Your Request:
More “Ammo” to Fight the Government Terror Bill

(Monday, March 25) — Many of you have indicated that Congressional offices are claiming the “Government Terror” bill has been fixed. These offices are telling callers that unless they give the specific language relating to their objections, the objections are considered to only be a “gut feeling” and not a substantive problem. So many of you have asked us for text from the bill; passages to quote when speaking to these offices.

For starters, remember that we’ve heard this before. House Majority Leader Dick Armey earlier denied there were any problems in the House bill — and then he voted for the Barr amendment which fixed some of these very problems. (Also, Rep. Barr had previously denied there were problems in the bill. It was only after grassroots pressure in his district, coupled with the fact that many freshmen Republicans had sided with GOA in opposing the bill, that Rep. Barr decided to partially “fix” the bill.)

Having said that, the following is an answer to your request. Some of the problems we detailed in Monday’s alert are too long and complicated to quote in a brief paragraph, and thus, they are not included below. But those provisions which are easily summarized are listed to give you the ability to quote specific language, and to give them the specific sections where the problems are located.

House passed provisions (H.R. 2703)

* Enhanced penalties for gun owners. The DeLauro amendment would demonize gun owners and enhance punishments for a person who commits — even a NON-VIOLENT — federal crime, if he also possesses a laser sight. Sec. 207: “A defendant convicted of a crime shall receive an appropriate sentence enhancement if, during the crime . . . the defendant possessed a firearm, and the defendant . . . possessed a laser sighting device capable of being readily attached to the firearm.”

* Schumer amendment to centralize law-enforcement. This provision centralizes law enforcement under the ruse of responding to “terrorist incidents.” According to the FBI, there has been no more than 12 terrorist incidents in this country for any one year since 1986. Sec. 809: “There is authorized to be appropriated . . . to the Federal Bureau of Investigation such sums as are necessary . . . to establish a Domestic Counterterrorism Center to coordinate and centralize Federal, State, and local law enforcement efforts in response to major terrorist incidents.”

* “Anti-hunter” rifle and ammo study. The BATF will be authorized to study ammunition and recommend which kinds need to be included under the “armor piercing” ban. 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: “The Secretary of the Treasury [that is, the BATF], in conjunction with the Attorney General, shall conduct a study and make recommendations concerning . . . (B) those officers feloniously killed or seriously injured with firearms [including “handguns,” “rifles” and “shotguns”] . . . and (D) those killed or seriously injured because shots attributable to projectiles defined as “armor piercing ammunition” . . . pierced the protective material of bullet resistant vests or bullet resistant headgear; and (2) whether current passive defensive strategies, such as body armor, are adequate to counter the criminal use of firearms against law officers.”

* Other provisions in H.R. 2703: Section 104 contains a provision which could federalize certain state gun crimes and, as a result, enlarge the BATF’s scope and jurisdiction; Title IX will severely damage the ability of the courts to rescue honest gun owners who are unjustly incarcerated, and will, for example, seriously affect cases in which GOA has been involved. (For more information on Sec. 104 and Title IX, please fax your request to GOA and ask for the Fact Sheets on Sec. 104 and Title IX. Be sure to include your name and fax number.)

Senate Passed Provisions (S. 735)

* BATF pay increase of $100 million. Sec. 526: “There are authorized to be appropriated for the activities of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms: . . .

(1) $20,000,000 for fiscal year 1996;
(2) $20,000,000 for fiscal year 1997;
(3) $20,000,000 for fiscal year 1998;
(4) $20,000,000 for fiscal year 1999; and
(5) $20,000,000 for fiscal year 2000.”

* “Randy Weaver entrapment provision.” This provision which ensures that the BATF will have greater ability to entrap people like Randy Weaver, who are accused of NON-VIOLENT offenses (such as sawing-off a shotgun barrel about 1/4 of an inch too short). The bill extends the statute of limitations for violations under the 1934 Act from three years under current law to five years, thus giving the BATF more time to persecute unsuspecting NON-VIOLENT offenders.

Sec. 108: “No person shall be prosecuted, tried, or punished for any criminal offense under the internal revenue laws unless the indictment is found or the information instituted not later than 3 years after the commission of the offense, except that the period of limitation shall be — (1) 5 years for offenses described in section 5861 (relating to firearms and other devices).”

* Other provisions in S. 735: Sec. 909 would authorize “roving wiretaps” allowing government officials to wiretap your home if a person under investigation visits your home — even if you had no knowledge the person was a suspect; Sec. 908 would weaken the Posse Comitatus law to give military more authority to get involved in law enforcement; and Sec. 502 gives the FBI the power to conduct “fishing expeditions” and secure one’s financial and travel records in certain circumstances without any evidence one has committed a crime.

Talking Points:

1. Call your legislators (1-800-962-3524 or 202-224-3121) and urge them to vote against this bill. Remember to tell House members about the Senate provisions which could end up in the final bill (and vice-versa). Ask them to tell you what Constitutional authority there is to pass the provisions in this bill.

2. Thank those legislators who voted against the bill, and encourage them to remain strong. For those legislators who voted in favor of the bill, ask them why they would support such a bill. If they try to tell you that this country needs this bill to fight terrorism, tell them this:

a. Other countries (e.g., England and Japan) have more stringent crime fighting laws and recognize fewer constitutional rights for their people. Nevertheless, they STILL are plagued with acts of terrorism. What makes us think that reducing our liberties here will make us any safer?

b. Quote Benjamin Franklin: “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

3. The Western Union (1-800-651-1486) messages have been updated if you would like to send new mailgrams to your Representative and Senators — cost is $8.95. Also, you can order updated postcards opposing the terror bill — to distribute to your friends and family — by calling 1-800-417-1486. (Order your postcards before Thursday afternoon, 3/28, to ensure that you get them around the first week in April.) Postcards go to Representatives and Senators and are $6.00 for the first set of 51 cards. Both the House and Senate will most likely vote on the final version of the bill that emerges from the conference committee during the week of April 15 — after the Easter recess.