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« Gun Law Update: Gun-Rights Testing Planned, Part I | Main | Gun Law Update: Gun-Rights Testing Planned, Part III »

Gun Law Update: Gun-Rights Testing Planned, Part II

HR 45 -- Gun Rights Licensing Test

Illinois congressman Bobby Rush, from Obama's home state and with a voting record on gun ownership as bad as Obama's, introduced a bill on the first day of the 111th Congress that shows what we can expect. If we don't defeat this bill, and others expected to follow it, gun owners will lose guns and the industry will suffer harm beyond description.

Under HR 45, if you can't pass a complex test written by the U.S. Attorney General (described in detail below), pay the tax, give up fingerprints and a biometric-capable photo of yourself (that can be turned into a digital facial-recognition number and used as a de facto national ID), every gun you own will become contraband and subject to confiscation, while you stand trial before imprisonment. You'd think Bobby, a former black panther, would know better.

Your rights will have an expiration date, and if you screw up and miss it, you'll be in the same mess as people who can't pass the test. Can you say "unconstitutional"? Do you think these "gun bigots" care?

Now that the Supreme Court has made it clear in the Heller case that government can't ban guns, the Brady's have stopped saying they want to ban guns. So the virtually treasonous Bobby Rush bill doesn't ban guns, it bans gun owners, maybe by the millions. How many gun owners read poorly or don't test well? How many can't explain local, state and federal gun laws? They'd become prohibited possessors under HR 45. Are there any limits to what the AG can put on the test? The bill doesn't mention any -- it gives the AG a free hand to include anything.

Had enough? HR 45 has an innocent-looking line that says 'strike the second sentence of 18 USC 926(a)'. That's the line that says the federal government cannot make a central registry of gun owners.

The anti-rights people have to repeal that line, because Bobby's bill flat-out creates a central gun registry. Every gun owner must be registered to keep on possessing the guns they already own, and any transfer of any kind must be registered as well. The mark of the beast is upon us, to apply a metaphor.

See the bill for yourself (click "Bill Number" and enter "HR 45"):

Read the gun-ban list the antis have already published:

Get a book on how you can be more effectively politically:

Here's my detailed analysis of the bill, in plain English.

HR 45

The bill starts with a statement of purpose that says: " because the intrastate and interstate trafficking of firearms are so commingled, full regulation of interstate commerce requires the incidental regulation of intrastate commerce." Basically, this eliminates the Tenth Amendment and the Interstate Commerce Clause. The Constitution can't legally be amended by statute. Is that enough to seek Mr. Rush's removal from office? I won't bore you with the other "purposes" which are as bad or worse.

Only "qualifying firearms" are affected. That means any handgun, or any semi-auto firearm that has a removable magazine (what they call a " detachable ammunition feeding device").

After the bill becomes law (IF it becomes law), it's illegal for you to have or get those firearms, even if you already own them, without a special federal license. There are grace periods up to two years to register yourself once the law is passed.

Do you see how clever this is? You cold-dead-fingers guys can keep your guns if you like, refuse to register yourselves, and then you're subject to arrest on the spot. If you go anywhere with your guns -- to the range, a store, a gunsmith, a friend's house, hunting, competition -- and you're spotted, you go straight to jail. If you're already on a list (can anyone say "carry permit" or "hunting license"?) and you don't sign up, well, just connect those dots. Where does the cold-dead-fingers part come into play? I'll bet the ranges will start requiring you to show your papers before you can hit the line.

To get the license you must "submit to the Attorney General" (they chose that phrase right by golly): a passport-type photo, identifying info, any name you have ever used or ever been known by (I have nicknames, pen names, stage names, omitting any presumably violates the statute) a thumbprint, certification that any firearms will be "safely" stored and out of possession of people under 18, authorization to give up any mental health records, and a certificate that you passed a government-run test.

The test must include knowledge of: safe storage, safe handling, use of firearms at home, the risks of firearms at home, local state and federal legal requirements for firearms, reporting requirements for firearms, and ANY other subjects the AG decides are appropriate. You date and sign the submission, making it perjury if your info is inaccurate.

I'm skipping some details on who can accept the form, time periods for filing it and similar red tape on this 4,600 word bill. The AG "shall" issue the license if you pass the test and do everything else, and also "shall" charge you a tax for the privilege of getting your rights licensed, up to $25 at present. This gets you a tamper-resistant photo ID card with your official number, address, date of birth, signature and the expiration date of your "rights" (about five years, it's complicated). There's a renewal procedure (it's complicated) and no apparent limit on the renewal tax you will be charged (the AG gets power to control the details).

The license can be revoked for cause of course, and the AG "shall" make sure you give it up if it's revoked.

Once this thing is in place, it's illegal to transfer or receive any affected firearm (all handguns and any semi-auto with a magazine) without the license. Transfers can only be made to or from a licensed dealer, who has to jump through hoops and file papers, and has 14 days to get that done (a waiting period on the dealer's shoulders), to get government approvals and authorization numbers.

The dealer must send the feds the gun name and/or model number, maker, serial number, your license number, name, address and transfer date, which the feds must store in a "Federal Record of Sale System," a permanent national gun registry.

This needs to be said verbatim: "(c) Elimination of Prohibition on Establishment of System of Registration -- Section 926(a) of title 18, United States Code, is amended by striking the second sentence." That sentence says the feds can't register the firearms Americans own:

"No such rule or regulation prescribed after the date of the enactment of the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act [1986] may require that records required to be maintained under this chapter or any portion of the contents of such records, be recorded at or transferred to a facility owned, managed, or controlled by the United States or any State or any political subdivision thereof, nor that any system of registration of firearms, firearms owners, or firearms transactions or dispositions be established." The Bobby Rush bill says kiss that sentence and its extremely crucial protections goodbye.

There are a few small exceptions for an undefined "infrequent" firearm gift, bequest or intestate succession among parents, their kids and grandparents and grandkids, and also for lending a firearm " for any lawful purpose for not more than 30 days between persons who are personally known to each other." Sloppy language in this part of the bill bans the transfer of any firearm (not just "qualifying" firearms) between anyone without going through the hoops.

If you lose a handgun or magazine-fed semi-auto, or if one is stolen from you -- you've broken the law if you don't report that to the AG within 72 hours.

If you own such guns, change your address and don't notify the AG within 60 days -- you've committed a crime. In other words, they track you non-stop or you're subject to arrest. No victim, no harm, no foul, no evil, just government placing you in jail for failure to comply. Bobby Rush thinks this is good law, a legitimate use of government.

If you keep in your home a loaded firearm, or an unloaded firearm and ammo for it, and a person under 18 gets it and harms someone with it -- you've committed a crime. There are some flimsy exceptions (like you know or should reasonably know federal and state gun law for kids) and of course, all the "proper" authorities -- federal, state, local, military, elected, appointed, even employees of government on the job are exempted -- twice. Bobby Rush says OK for thee but not for me, tee hee.

Lengthy penalty sections include two-, five- and ten-year sentences and fines for paperwork violations, possession violations, transfer violations, child-access violations, safe-storage violations and of course, failure to pass the test if you still keep your guns.

The bill ends with sweeping powers for the Attorney General that could be interpreted to mean almost anything, so the details I've described might be little more than a smokescreen! For instance: "The Attorney General may issue an order prohibiting the sale or transfer of any firearm that the Attorney General finds has been transferred or distributed in violation of this Act, an amendment made by this Act, or a regulation issued under this Act."

There's plenty of that in here, plus endless inspection powers, injunctive powers and even, "shall issue regulations... as the Attorney General determines to be reasonably necessary to reduce or prevent deaths or injuries resulting from qualifying firearms..." Is the AG someone we can trust? Or is it someone with utter contempt for the right to keep and bear arms? If it's Eric Holder, Obama's nominee, we get a guy who told the Supreme Court that a total gun ban in your own home is just fine and doesn't violate the Bill of Rights.

Oh, and one final kick in the ribs. Federalism, the idea that states have powers the feds don't, could get in the way. So the bill makes it clear that "...this Act may not be construed to preempt any provision of the law of any State or political subdivision of that State... except to the extent that the provision of law is inconsistent with any provision of this Act or an amendment made by this Act..." I am not making this up. The hubris and audacity of this bill's author is monumental. My lawyer friends will tell me that legal mumbo-jumbo has become SOP, as the feds usurp any remaining crumbs of your state's legitimate powers.

Maybe you've noticed that virtually none of this addresses criminals or crimes. Innocent gun owners are the target. This is about controlling the public and its private constitutionally protected property. Criminals are guaranteed to ignore the entire plan, and in fact, criminals CANNOT apply, since they can't possess firearms in the first place. Even if criminals could apply, they're protected from incriminating themselves by the Fifth Amendment, so they never would apply.

The bill of course makes no mention of this. That's my job. And people tell me I'm paranoid, that gun bans are just a delusional fantasy of the wacko fringe. What does that say about Bobby Rush from Illinois, the perpetrator of this travesty. He and every co-sponsor he can find should be removed from office. Wherever he appears, people should rise and turn their backs on him as a gesture of disgrace.

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Jerry Elliott

Why does this not surprise me. The gun haters will stoop to any depth to see that their will be done. I'm sure if this law does not pass, there will be others perhaps a little more ambiguous in it's wording that will come in via the "back door" trying to keep American's from having guns. Look out for some sort of legislation that would limit bullets to those marked by a new process pushed by a company who has developed the process and will make millions if that law is passed. The bill has been introduced in 18 states already. If you don't support the NRA,I'd suggest you start now! They may be the only voice strong enough to fight these anti gun people.

J Fike

There seems to be many people who like shooting sports, hunting etc, but cant seem to find $25/yr to join the NRA? I think many people wont realize until its too late to say the least. Whats next on the agenda, they pick your spouse, job, and transportation?

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  • Freelance writer Alan Korwin is a founder and past president of the Arizona Book Publishing Association. With his wife Cheryl he operates Bloomfield Press, the largest producer and distributor of gun-law books in the country. Here writing as "The Uninvited Ombudsman," Alan covers the day's stories as they ought to read. Read more.

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