WAYNE LAPIERRE, NRA Executive Vice President
"... appropriately suspected ..."
ith the full support of Alberto Gonzales' U.S. Department of Justice, New Jersey U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg is pushing legislation to give the government unprecedented discretionary power to secretly decree that a citizen is banned from owning firearms. The government would need nothing more than a "suspicion" using information it would not have to divulge, ever.
Called "Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act of 2007"--the Gonzales/Lautenberg bill, S. 1237 drafted by the Justice Department--is the broadest power grab ever proposed over the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. (To see NRA's response. click here.
Harlon B. Carter, founder of the modern NRA, said, "Judge a law by the worst reading, and in the hands of the worst enemies of the Second Amendment." Think of Hillary Clinton as president and Charles Schumer as attorney general.
Then look into Lautenberg's proposal and see what could happen to you or me if S. 1237 were ever to become law.
Imagine you are picking up a pristine 1937 first-year Winchester Model 70. You've filled out the 4473 at your friend Bill's shop, and wait for him to get the usual fast clearance from the National Instant Check System (nics). On the phone, Bill is shaking his head, very animated. He finishes his conversation and motions you over, telling you he can't transfer the rifle. You were turned down.
Bill says he argued that you were a longtime customer, a veteran, a high school teacher; and he asked why the refusal? "They gave me a number for you to call," he says.
When you get home, you are in complete shock. You call the number and are told that the refusal had something to do with "suspected terrorism" and that the government is not at liberty to say more. Terrorism?
It is simply not possible.
You hire a lawyer, and he says it must be an error. Not to worry.
But the new law says, "It shall be unlawful for any person … who has been the subject of a determination by the attorney general . . . to possess in or affecting commerce, any firearm or ammunition . . . ." Days later you receive an official notice that you no longer can own firearms--based on a suspicion. Your lawyer tells you to divest yourself of your firearms, but before you can do so, federal agents arrive at your home with a search warrant and a form demanding that you surrender all firearms and ammunition. They say you are now on the attorney general's "suspect" list, and as a prohibited person, it is a federal felony for you to possess any gun. They take your gun collection--all of it--in lieu of arrest.
The agent in charge warns you to stay away from guns. They will be observing you. All they will say to your question as to "why" is a reading of a card. It's like one of those Miranda warnings you see on tv:
"The attorney general has determined that you are known (or appropriately suspected) to be or have been engaged in conduct constituting, in preparation for, in aid of, or related to terrorism, or providing material support thereof … and that the attorney general has a reasonable belief that you may use a firearm in connection with terrorism."
A day later, your lawyer says your situation is hopeless. You can't get your guns back. Under the law you are now a prohibited person, just like a convicted felon. He reads you the new law--which requires no criminal intent or knowledge, only suspicion:
" . . . any information which the attorney general relied on for this determination may be withheld . . . if the attorney general determines that disclosure of the information would likely compromise national security." You ask the lawyer, "Can't we appeal?"
He continues: "In responding to the petition, the United States may submit, and the court may rely upon, summaries or redacted versions of documents containing information the disclosure of which the attorney general has determined would likely compromise national security."
At the sole discretion of the attorney general, they can withhold anything and everything they allegedly have on you--all in the name of "national security."
You have lost your Second Amendment rights--gun ownership is a criminal act--based on a mere "suspicion," and you can't even find out what it is.
This outrageous scenario has not happened yet, but it could if the Gonzales/Lautenberg Brave New World-like legislation--S. 1237--ever becomes law.
In creating a new criminal class of prohibited persons based on "suspicion," the same language applies to license denials, to state firearm permit denials and to sale of firearms by individuals.
The Bush administration is on record affirming the Second Amendment is an individual right, yet this bill trashes the Constitution, mocking the protections guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. It would arbitrarily take away your rights--without charges, without an arrest, without a trial and without a conviction--just because the attorney general says so. It denies citizens all due process of law at the sole discretion of government--something that must never happen in America.
Shockingly, Lautenberg is telling the world that he has the full support of the Bush administration and expects this measure to be signed into law.
E-mail, write, and telephone your U.S. senators and congressmen asking them to oppose S. 1237, and tell Attorney General Gonzales to wake up and withdraw his support.