Are you a gunowner? You may just be a terrorist after tomorrow’s (Wednesday, May 5, 2010) Senate hearing!
Contact your Senator immediately. There is no time to hesitate.
The Liberty Coalition has submitted a written statement to explain the impact of two bills–S 1317 and S 2820:
Privacy Director, Liberty Coalition and
Attorney, J.C. Neu & Associates
“Terrorists and Guns:The Nature of the Threat and Proposed Reforms”
Before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs
May 5, 2010
722 12th Street, NW, Suite 400
Washington, DC 2005
In reality, these two bills should be re-named the “Gun Owners Are Probably Terrorists Act,” and the “National Firearm Registry Act,” respectively. Collectively these bills strip citizens of their enumerated Constitutional Right to Bear Arms without any meaningful due process, and create a national firearms registry. The same Constitutional Due Process provided by the 5th and 14th Amendments that prevents Congress from incarcerating a citizen based on mere suspicion also prevents Congress from revoking a citizen’s Second Amendment right to bear arms. For that and other reasons, the Liberty Coalition opposes these bills.
How S.1317 Works
A person may be added to one of more than a dozen Federal watch lists, tip-off lists or terrorist watch lists based on “reasonable suspicion” of terrorist activity. Other reasons for adding a person include , mistake or misidentification, or if a terrorist steals a person’s identity. An innocent citizen placed on the list will have no administrative recourse to ensure that he or she is removed from a list.
When a citizen of the United States, fully protected by the Constitution applies to purchase a firearm, his or her personal information is run through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), and the name is run against several databases to ensure that he is not a convicted felon, drug addict, fugitive, or has some other monitored restriction or legal disability. In addition, the person’s name will be run against one or more terrorist watch lists. If the system returns an initial match, the result will be delayed, and NICS personnel will investigate further. If S.1317 becomes law and the match is confirmed, then NICS will return a “Denied” signal to the gun dealer, and the purchase will be denied. Furthermore, the personal information of the individual will be kept on file indefinitely.
Under current law, a citizen has the right to know exactly why he was denied the purchase of a firearm. With this information, the person can correct the record or appeal the decision. However, Under S.1317, the person will only receive “actual notice of the Attorney General’s determination,” if the Attorney General determines that such notice would not likely “compromise national security.” Due to the secret nature of the watch lists, the Attorney General may determine that simply tipping off the person that they are on a terror watch list may compromise national security, thus rendering the notice clause illusory. In that case, the person would receive a “Denied” signal from NICS, with no further information about the reason for the denial, nor with any recourse to obtain the reason for denial.
The citizen may never know why he or she was denied a firearms permit, if the Attorney General determines that the mere disclosure of the determination may compromise national security. The citizen may ask why he or she was denied, but the Attorney General is not required to answer or correct erroneous information within the system. Consequently, the citizen will be unable mount a meaningful appeal to the Attorney General’s decision. Further, even if the Attorney General explains the reason for the denial, the citizen would have no way to know that their right to appeal expires after 60 days after the notice.
Assuming that the citizen appeals the decision in court, things only get harder and more confusing. First, the citizen must rely on summaries or a redacted version of the documents upon which the Attorney General made his decision. Neither the citizen nor his attorney has a right to see or rebut the evidence presented against him. Not even the court may consider the unredacted documents to determine whether the Attorney General acted reasonably in denying the firearms permit.