GAO REPORT HIGHLIGHTS NATIONAL PROBLEM-IDENTIFICATION FRAUD
TheGeneral Accounting Office (GAO) released a report on Wednesday that anti-gun lawmakers intended for use in supporting attacks on ourRight to Keep and Bear Arms. However, the study-coupled with recent news reports about a busboy in New York City who posed as immensely wealthy or high-profile individuals such asWarren Buffet andSteven Spielberg-actually helps to expose the increasing problem of identity fraud in America.U.S. Representative Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), a committed anti-gun extremist, along withU.S. Representative Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.), one of the most shrill opponents of theSecond Amendment in Congress today, are using the GAO report to claim there are significant problems with theNational Instant Check System (NICS). Waxman, who requested and guided the investigation, asked, according to the report, that GAO "determine how easily firearms can be purchased using the Internet." But when two individuals who advertised firearms on the Internet refused to conduct a transaction unless it was done in person, Waxman`s instructions were to discontinue that phase of the investigation. McCarthy, on the other hand, is going so far as to try to use the release of the GAO report to further the attack on lawful gun shows, even though the investigation had nothing to do with them. In the end, the GAO investigation fails to do anything more than expose the problem of the ease in which criminals can create or obtain counterfeit identification.
U.S. Representative (and NRA Board Member)Bob Barr (R-Ga.) commented on the GAO report, stating, "Today`s report...should come as absolutely no surprise to anyone who understands even elementary law enforcement....Fake IDs are a national problem that allow criminals to evade all sorts of legal barriers." Barr, a former federal prosecutor, went on to say, "If these individuals (lawmakers who promote attacks on the Second Amendment) were serious about keeping firearms out of the hands of criminals they would support, as I do, aggressive prosecution of the criminal laws already on the books...."
While Waxman,et al., pretend to be shocked by the GAO report he orchestrated, its conclusions should surprise no one. In congressional testimony delivered onJune 16, 1987, NRA pointed out that any background check, instant or not, will have the same problem.NRA-ILA Executive Director James Jay Baker noted during congressional testimony onS. 466,The Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1987, "With only a ?name check` being conducted, all that can be determined is whether a person with that name has a criminal history. But asAssistant Attorney General John R. Bolton noted in a letter ofMarch 19, 1986, to theHouse Judiciary Committee Chairman:?Those persons with a criminal record who are prohibited from purchasing a handgun are the ones most likely to obtain false identification documents to support a new name.`"
Of course, we can expect the anti-gun extremists to point to the GAO report and call for all kinds of new restrictions, including licensing and registration schemes. But anyone who suggests that licensing and/or registration of gun owners is the answer is ignoring the findings of this report. Any anti-gun schemes will be subject to the same kind of fraud and misrepresentation, and will serve only to harass the law-abiding. Ultimately, this issue goes far beyond gun identification or gun purchases. The solution lies in state-issued driver licenses or ID cards that serve as the basis of identification for virtually all transactions of money, goods, and services. Some states are working to improve their identification systems, and have moved to address ID fraud with measures that confirm identity and residence before issuing IDs. Other measures, such as duplicate photos on the license, are effective in preventing tampering after issuance. NRA has long supported such reforms, and we will continue to do so.
CAMPAIGN FINANCE "REFORM" HEATS UP
The U.S. Senate has again taken up the issue of campaign finance "reform," and, once again, the collaborative effort of U.S. Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.) has grabbed a great deal of attention from the self-serving media elite. While NRA`s strength-through its united front on the single issue of protecting our Right to Keep and Bear Arms-is enhanced by not being involved with other matters that might distract or divide our supporters, the McCain-Feingold "reform" package should cause all of our members concern. NRA opposes S. 27, "The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2001," introduced by Senators McCain and Feingold, because it would severely restrict our ability to provide timely information, including information on lawmakers` positions on firearm-related issues, to our membership and tens of millions of other law-abiding gun owners. S. 27 seeks to regulate communication that "refers to" a federal candidate if that communication takes place during a specified period before a primary or before a general election, and would prohibit any such communication unless the funds were to come from a segregated account to which individuals donate for that purpose. The names of all donors (i.e., our members), whose donations are above a certain limit, would be made public-a clear violation of the privacy rights of our members who contribute to NRA`s political efforts. Contact your U.S. Senators at 202/224-3121, and urge them to oppose S. 27. For those on the Internet, you can also find contact information for your U.S. Senators by using the "Write Your Reps" feature at NRAILA.org. Be sure to tell your Senators that we hold all of the Constitution to be inviolate-including the First and the Second Amendments!
HB 449, a bill that seeks to protect firearm manufacturers from reckless, politically-motivated lawsuits aimed at bankrupting them, passed the Florida House Council for Healthy Communities by a vote of 10-5. HB 449 now awaits consideration by the full House. SB 412, the Senate companion to HB 449, is currently awaiting consideration by the full Senate.
Hearings are expected in the near future in both the House and Senate on HR 144, HCR 154, SR 48, and SCR 66, resolutions in support of NRA`s award-winning Eddie Eagle GunSafe? Program. Contact your lawmakers at (808) 586-6720 and urge them to support the Eddie Eagle GunSafe? Program resolutions.
HB 1043, a bill that seeks to protect firearm manufacturers from reckless, politically-motivated lawsuits, passed the Senate Corrections, Criminal and Civil Procedures Committee, and awaits consideration by the full Senate early next week. Contact your Senator at (800) 382-9467 and urge him to support HB 1043.
SF 488 (formerly known as SSB 1184), a bill that seeks to ban all private sales at gun shows, could be considered by the full Senate as early as next week. Contact your State Senator at (515) 281-3371 and urge him to oppose this proposal.
HF 1360, the NRA-supported Right to Carry bill, has been approved by the House Civil Law Committee. HF 1360 now awaits consideration by the House Judiciary Finance Committee. Contact committee members at (651) 296-7153 and urge them to support HF 1360.
In the waning hours of the 2001 legislative session, lawmakers passed NRA-backed Right to Carry legislation that allows trained, law-abiding citizens to obtain a permit to carry a concealed handgun for self-defense. Upon Governor Gary Johnson`s (R) expected signature, New Mexico will become the 33rd state to have a fair Right to Carry system in place. Special thanks go out to New Mexico`s NRA members, whose tireless grassroots activism made such a victory possible.
In anticipation of a hearing on SB 683, a bill that seeks to establish the Eddie Eagle GunSafe? program in Oregon elementary schools, anti-gun Governor John Kitzhaber (D) made clear his intentions to once again veto the bill if it reaches his desk. Such actions by Gov. Kitzhaber bring into question an unwillingness to put the safety of children before politics on the issue of gun safety. Contact Gov. Kitzhaber at (503) 378-3111 to voice your dissatisfaction with his stated intended actions on SB 683.
As early as Tuesday, March 27, the House Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on 11 anti-gun bills that would seriously impact the firearm rights of Rhode Islanders. Such proposals include: a one-gun-a-month scheme, a requirement that all firearms be registered in a central database, a "ballistic fingerprinting" scheme for all new handguns sold through licensed dealers, and a mandate that trigger locks be used on all firearms. Contact members of the House Judiciary Committee and urge them to oppose all of these measures that will destroy our rights. For a list of committee members, contact NRA-ILA Grassroots.
The House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee left pending all anti-gun bills heard on March 20. The committee could take these measures up for a vote at any of their regularly scheduled Tuesday meetings. Continue to contact committee members and urge them to oppose: HB 367, HB 404, & HB 635 (bans on private firearms sales at gun shows); HB 446 (mandatory sale of trigger-lock with gun purchase); and HB 193, HB 209 & HB 1332 (restrictions on lawful possession of firearms by juveniles). For Representatives` contact information and bill descriptions, please refer to last week`s FAX Alert (Vol. 8, No. 11), or contact the ILA Grassroots Division.
HB 376, which grants out of state Right to Carry permit holders the ability to carry their firearms concealed for personal protection in Utah, was signed into law by Governor Mike Leavitt (R).