Pressure Mounting: More Terror

Pressure Mounting for More Anti-Gun (Terror) Legislation

(Thursday, August 1) — House and Senate leaders continue to meet behind closed doors in an attempt to put together more Government Terror legislation. Some leaders in Congress are hoping to have a vote by Friday (although many on Capitol Hill think this will not be possible).

While the specifics are still in doubt, there appear to be several themes emerging. Among these legislative proposals are the following: (a) So-called “emergency wiretaps” that allow the Clinton administration to place a wiretap without a court order for 48 hours; (b) Roving wiretaps which allow government officials to wiretap your home if a person subject to a wiretap order visits your home; (c) Expand the ability of officials to prosecute gun owners for Title II firearms registration offenses — even though the BATF has already admitted that 50% of their records are inaccurate; and (d) Placing taggants in black and smokeless powder (which can result in the registration of ammunition). The latter was “omitted” from negotiations only after it was first inserted in other legislation (see “Taggants amendment passes” below).


1. Many of these proposals were the kinds of items that were deleted by the Barr amendment during debate over the Government Terror bill this past March. Urge your legislators to not give in and to oppose any further attacks upon the Bill of Rights.

In England, the freedoms our government wants to take from us are already gone. They have more stringent anti-terrorism laws and recognize fewer constitutional rights for their people. Nevertheless, they are still plagued with acts of terrorism. Stripping decent citizens of their rights will not make us safer!

2. Urge House Speaker Newt Gingrich (fax: 202-225-4656 or 225-7733) and Sen. Majority Leader Trent Lott (fax: 202-224-2262) to stop helping President Clinton chip away at the Bill of Rights in the name of fighting terrorism. Call either of them at 1-800-962-3524 or 202-224-3121.

Other legislation to watch

* Taggants amendment passes. A Senate committee authorized a study on taggants this week in the Commerce-Justice-State appropriation bill (H.R. 3814). The taggants study will specifically include research into placing taggants in black and smokeless powders. As stated in earlier alerts, such taggants are not only unsafe, they will inevitably lead to the registration of ammunition. (Why should the federal government study an issue that would be unconstitutional to implement?)

Furthermore, ask your Senators: if we’re going to register “instruments of crime” to help solve crimes, why not register pipes to better track people like the Olympic bomber? Or how about registering screws and nails? Duct tape? Security guards? Where does it end? H.R. 3814 must now be voted on by the full Senate. Contact your Senators at 1-800-962-3524 or 202-224-3121.

* Expanding the list of prohibited purchasers. On July 25, the Senate passed H.R. 2980, the Interstate Stalking Punishment and Prevention Act. Included in this bill was an amendment added by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) which would remove guns from the house of a spouse convicted of misdemeanor abuse. The Lautenberg amendment is a dangerous expansion of the list which deprives persons of their Second Amendment rights, and opens the door to depriving firearms to all misdemeanor offenders — including non-violent ones.

The truth is, the Lautenberg amendment actually endangers the battered women it purports to help by removing guns from the home. The man can kill a woman with whatever he has at hand, but she can usually only resist him successfully with a gun. Don Kates, a civil rights attorney who specializes in firearms issues, cites a Detroit study showing that three-quarters of wives who killed their spouses were not even charged, since prosecutors found their acts necessary to protect their lives or their children’s lives. (Source: Guns, Murders and the Constitution, p. 25.)

H.R. 2980 now goes to a conference committee. Legislators (especially Reps.) should be urged to oppose this bill if it still contains the Lautenberg amendment.