Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

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
SCOTUS Reverses and Remands Two NRA-ILA Backed Magazine Cases

News  

Thursday, June 30, 2022

SCOTUS Reverses and Remands Two NRA-ILA Backed Magazine Cases

One week after our landmark victory in NYSRPA v. Bruen, the Supreme Court issued orders in two other NRA-ILA backed cases. Those cases, ANJRPC v. Bruck and Duncan v. Bonta, challenge New Jersey and California laws that ban magazines capable ...

“I Did That!” Biden’s Gas Crisis Creates Public Safety Crisis

News  

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

“I Did That!” Biden’s Gas Crisis Creates Public Safety Crisis

The Biden Administration is serious about making it more difficult for responsible citizens to exercise their gun rights, which is hardly surprising from the most anti-Second Amendment president in history. What is less obvious is ...

California: Legislature Passes and Newsom Signs Anti-Gun Bills

Friday, July 1, 2022

California: Legislature Passes and Newsom Signs Anti-Gun Bills

The California Legislature starts their Summer recess today, but not before a busy week full of defiant action against the recent Supreme Court victory in the NRA case of NYSRPA v. Bruen. The legislature passed several anti-gun ...

New Jersey:  Despite Historic Supreme Court Ruling Gun Bills Advance in Trenton

Friday, July 1, 2022

New Jersey: Despite Historic Supreme Court Ruling Gun Bills Advance in Trenton

On the heels of last week’s landmark Supreme Court decision in NYSRPA v. Bruen, Majority Democrats in Trenton doubled down on even more Second Amendment infringements by passing yet another package of gun bills.  This is ...

California Leaks Personal Data of Carry Permit Holders

News  

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

California Leaks Personal Data of Carry Permit Holders

On Monday June 27, California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced the launch of the California Department of Justice (DOJ)’s Firearms Dashboard Portal. The data tool was designed to give granular firearm transaction and Concealed Carry Weapons (CCW) permit ...

A Century of Opposition to New York’s Sullivan Law

News  

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

A Century of Opposition to New York’s Sullivan Law

On June 23, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down New York’s discretionary carry licensing regime as a violation of the Second Amendment right to bear arms in the NRA-backed case NYSRPA v. Bruen. The law at ...

The Dominoes Begin to Fall: NJ Amends Permit Rules After Bruen

News  

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

The Dominoes Begin to Fall: NJ Amends Permit Rules After Bruen

New Jersey’s acting Attorney General, Matthew J. Platkin, issued a directive “clarifying requirements for carrying firearms in public” a day after the historic ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in New York State Rifle & Pistol Assoc. v. ...

New York:  Majority Democrats Vote in Lockstep to Defy the United States Supreme Court

Friday, July 1, 2022

New York: Majority Democrats Vote in Lockstep to Defy the United States Supreme Court

Anti-Second Amendment politicians returned to Albany late this week and did the bidding of Gov. Kathy Hochul.  She called the Legislature back into an “extraordinary” session this week.  The session was anything but extraordinary. Lawmakers ...

NRA-ILA Asks Court to Stop the California DOJ From Releasing Gun Owners’ Personal Information After Massive Data Leak.

Thursday, June 30, 2022

NRA-ILA Asks Court to Stop the California DOJ From Releasing Gun Owners’ Personal Information After Massive Data Leak.

Earlier this week, California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced that he would be releasing firearms data via the California DOJ’s Firearms Dashboard Portal. That data contained gun owners’ names, dates of birth, gender, race, driver’s license numbers, addresses, and criminal ...

North Carolina: Carry Permit Training Bill Going to Senate Floor

Thursday, June 30, 2022

North Carolina: Carry Permit Training Bill Going to Senate Floor

Today, the Senate pulled House Bill 49 from the Committee on Rules and Operations and will send it to the floor for final passage. It requires sheriffs to waive the training requirement for former concealed carry permit ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

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.