NRA Explore
APPEARS IN Legal & Legislation

Schumer And Kennedy Move To Register Law-Abiding Gun Owners

Saturday, December 15, 2001

Exploiting the media frenzy over terrorism, U.S. Senators Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) have introduced S. 1788, legislation that seeks to eviscerate the federal law that prohibits creation of a national firearms registry. Their legislation would make National Instant Check System (NICS) records—records on gun purchasers who have cleared the criminal record check—available to "any federal, state or local law enforcement agency in connection with a civilor criminal law enforcement investigation." The anti-gun pair introduced a virtually identical bill, S. 1253, in July.

Kennedy and Schumer introduced their latest bill in response to last week`s decision by the Department of Justice (DOJ) that reaffirmed that the records generated by NICS that do not result in an individual being denied the ability to purchase a firearm cannot be used for anything other than what the Brady Act—which established NICS—allows. Current federal law requires that all records of cleared purchases be destroyed, and although the anti-gun Clinton-Reno DOJ determined it could keep such records in an "audit log" for as long as six months, it also established regulations that specifically prohibit using these records for anything other than auditing NICS. Attorney General John Ashcroft ruled earlier this year that the original intent of the Brady Act`s record destruction requirement demanded more immediate action than the Clinton-Reno six-month time frame, and he established regulations instructing that destruction of the records must take place no later than 24 hours after the purchase—a decision that resulted in bitter attacks in the media and by anti-gun-rights organizations.

Currently, records of felons, fugitives, illegal aliens, drug users—all persons whose possession or purchase of any firearms is a federal crime, and who are blocked by NICS if they attempt to buy firearms—are statutorily required to be kept indefinitely. Those records are always available to law enforcement. Anti-gun extremists have been attempting for weeks to invoke the specter of terrorists acquiring firearms as justification for their attempts to end traditional American gun shows (see NRA-ILA FAX Alerts Vol. 8, Nos. 39, 46, & 48), and now they are doing the same to promote their attempts to create the mechanism to establish a registry of law-abiding gun purchasers.

NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre called the Kennedy-Schumer legislation "gun owner registration, plain and simple." He cautioned, "Clearly, this will be the basis of a national firearms-owner computer registry that would profile decent honest citizens, violate their privacy, and provide a locator to assist Kennedy`s and Schumer`s vision of ultimately banning private ownership of firearms. Of more immediate danger are the ‘civil` data sharing provisions in this legislation that will make National Instant Check records on decent law-abiding people available to trial lawyers."

EVP LaPierre went on to ask, "What if Chicago Mayor Daley or the Attorney General in Massachusetts demanded custody of the entire NICS audit log as part of a ‘civil or criminal law enforcement investigation?` You have to think about what a Janet Reno or any future anti-gun-rights Attorney General would do with this power."

Although the Schumer-Kennedy legislation contains provisions for the destruction of NICS audit log records after 90 days, destruction wouldn`t apply to records given to other federal, state or local agencies as part of an ongoing civil or criminal probe. Once the personal information is out of the hands of the feds, it could become part of a permanent record elsewhere, perhaps with the reckless city suits designed to bankrupt the firearms industry.

The attacks on Ashcroft began immediately following his refusal to allow the release of the names of tens of thousands of Americans who had cleared extensive background checks for comparison with lists of the individuals, mostly illegal aliens, who were in custody as part of the government investigation of terrorism. While Ashcroft was simply doing what the law required—protecting the rights of innocent persons—the gun-ban lobby formerly known as HCI actually suggested that the Attorney General turn his back on enforcing the law, and stated Ashcroft should have willfully violated federal law to allow the privacy of law-abiding citizens be invaded.

Even prior to the passage of the Brady Act, federal law specifically forbid "that any system of registration of firearms, firearms owners, or firearms transactions or dispositions be established," and when the Brady Act was enacted, further restrictions were written into the law to prevent federal agencies from retaining information on gun purchasers cleared after a federal/state background check. In fact, other than a unique number referencing a lawful firearms transaction, the law demands that the system (NICS) "destroy all records of the system relating to the person or the (firearms) transfer." But these facts are immaterial to anti-gun extremists, and they and their supporters in the media have launched a nationwide campaign attacking Ashcroft, both personally and professionally, for his efforts to remain within the confines of the law while working to fight terrorism.

NRA-ILA Executive Director James Jay Baker warns: "It is imperative that NRA members and firearms owners counter the media hype and explain to their friends and neighbors that this is not about denying law enforcement any records that bear on criminals or terrorists and guns. This is about preserving the privacy rights of decent innocent people." NRA members and the rest of the pro-gun community must contact their federal lawmakers to object to the passage of S. 1788, the Kennedy-Schumer legislation that would turn NICS into a de facto registration system for law-abiding gun purchasers. You can reach your U.S. Representative at (202) 225-3121, and your U.S. Senators at (202) 224-3121. You can also find additional contact information by using our "Write Your Reps" tool.

TRENDING NOW
Virginia Politician and Clinton Backer Brands Trump Supporters as “Mentally Deficient”

News  

Friday, September 23, 2016

Virginia Politician and Clinton Backer Brands Trump Supporters as “Mentally Deficient”

With the presidential race tighter than ever as it heads into its final stretch, panicked Hillary Clinton supporters are desperate to find a way to discredit, not just Donald Trump, but anyone who would dare ...

Show Your Support—NEW NRA Yard Signs Available!

News  

Friday, September 23, 2016

Show Your Support—NEW NRA Yard Signs Available!

Show your support for NRA and the Second Amendment this election cycle by purchasing an NRA yard sign.  With everything that is at stake this year, including the Presidency, the balance of the U.S. Senate ...

War on Terror or a War on Guns?

News  

Friday, September 23, 2016

War on Terror or a War on Guns?

Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, was in New York City recently on an official visit. Commenting on the bombs that exploded while he was in town, he opined that such attacks are now simply ...

Montana: Bloomberg Targeting Missoula – Your Action Needed NOW!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Montana: Bloomberg Targeting Missoula – Your Action Needed NOW!

On Monday, September 26, the Missoula City Council is scheduled to consider an ordinance that would only create a burden for law-abiding citizens and may turn them into criminals if they unknowingly violate the ordinance.

California: Final Weekend to Sign Referendum Petitions, Signatures Still Needed

Friday, September 23, 2016

California: Final Weekend to Sign Referendum Petitions, Signatures Still Needed

This is the last weekend to sign the referendum petitions! Signatures are still needed to ensure each of the Veto Gunmageddon Referendums qualify for the 2018 ballot.

Get the Official NRA-ILA App for an Exclusive NRA Store Discount!

Take Action  

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Get the Official NRA-ILA App for an Exclusive NRA Store Discount!

For a limited time only, the official NRA Store is offering a special deal to anyone who downloads the NRA-ILA App! Once the app is installed on your smartphone, you’ll receive a discount code that you can ...

Pennsylvania: Semi-Automatic Rifle Hunting Legislation will go to the House Floor Next Week!

Hunting  

Friday, September 23, 2016

Pennsylvania: Semi-Automatic Rifle Hunting Legislation will go to the House Floor Next Week!

Next week, and important pro-hunting reform bill, Senate Bill 737, may be considered in the House of Representatives.  Please call your state Representative and urge them to vote in favor of Senate Bill 737!

California: Signature Efforts for Veto Gunmageddon Extended to September 24th

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

California: Signature Efforts for Veto Gunmageddon Extended to September 24th

If you have not yet signed the petitions to repeal the seven gun bills signed by Governor Jerry Brown earlier this year, please make sure that you do so by September 24th! After that, all ...

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

News  

Friday, July 1, 2016

California Governor Signs Draconian Gun Control Package into Law

Fairfax, Va.— California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law on Friday a package of gun bills that were rushed through the state legislature with no regard for proper process. The National Rifle Association Institute for ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -
NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.