To me, this is the best Christmas present I could ever receive” —
Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), CBS News, December 20, 2007
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Gun Owners of America and its supporters took a knife in the back
yesterday, as Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) out-smarted his
congressional opposition into agreeing on a so-called
HR 2640 — a bill which now goes to the President’s desk.
The bill — known as the Veterans Disarmament Act to its opponents —
is being praised by the National Rifle Association and the Brady
The Brady Bunch crowed “Victory! U.S. Congress Strengthens Brady
Background Check System.” The NRA stated that last minute changes to
the McCarthy bill made a “good bill even better [and that] the end
product is a win for American gun owners.”
But Gun Owners of America has issued public statements decrying this
The core of the bill’s problems is section 101(c)(1)(C), which makes
you a “prohibited person” on the basis of a “medical
disability,” so long as a veteran had an “opportunity”
for some sort
of “hearing” before some “lawful authority” (other
than a court).
Presumably, this “lawful authority” could even be the psychiatrist
Note that unlike with an accused murderer, the hearing doesn’t have
to occur. The “lawful authority” doesn’t have to be unbiased. The
veteran is not necessarily entitled to an attorney — much less an
attorney financed by the government.
So what do the proponents have to say about this?
ARGUMENT: The Veterans Disarmament Act creates new avenues for
prohibited persons to seek restoration of their gun rights.
ANSWER: What the bill does is to lock in — statutorily — huge
numbers of additional law-abiding Americans who will now be denied
the right to own a firearm.
And then it “graciously” allows these newly disarmed Americans to
spend tens of thousands of dollars for a long-shot chance to regain
the gun rights this very bill takes away from them.
More to the point, what minimal gains were granted by the “right
hand” are taken away by the “left.” Section 105 provides
for some Americans diagnosed with so-called mental disabilities to
get their rights restored in the state where they live. But then, in
subsection (a)(2), the bill stipulates that such relief may occur
only if “the person will not be likely to act in a manner dangerous
to public safety and that the GRANTING OF THE RELIEF WOULD NOT BE
CONTRARY TO THE PUBLIC INTEREST.” (Emphasis added.)
Um, doesn’t this language sound similar to those state codes (like
California’s) that have “may issue” concealed carry laws — where
citizens “technically” have the right to carry, but state law only
says that sheriffs MAY ISSUE them a permit to carry? When given such
leeway, those sheriffs usually don’t grant the permits!
Prediction: liberal states — the same states that took these
people’s rights away — will treat almost every person who has been
illegitimately denied as a danger to society and claim that granting
relief would be “contrary to the public interest.”
Let’s make one thing clear: the efforts begun during the Clinton
Presidency to disarm battle-scarred veterans — promoted by the Brady
Anti-Gun Campaign — is illegal and morally reprehensible.
But section 101(c)(1)(C) of HR 2640 would rubber-stamp those illegal
actions. Over 140,000 law-abiding veterans would be statutorily
barred from possessing firearms.
True, they can hire a lawyer and beg the agency that took their
rights away to voluntarily give them back. But the agency doesn’t
have to do anything but sit on its hands. And, after 365 days of
inaction, guess what happens? The newly disarmed veteran can spend
thousands of additional dollars to sue. And, as the plaintiff, the
wrongly disarmed veteran has the burden of proof.
Language proposed by GOA would have automatically restored a
veteran’s gun rights if the agency sat on its hands for a year.
Unfortunately, the GOA amendment was not included.
The Veterans Disarmament Act passed the Senate and the House
yesterday — both times WITHOUT A RECORDED VOTE. That is, the bill
passed by Unanimous Consent, and was then transmitted to the White
Long-time GOA activists will remember that a similar “compromise”
deal helped the original Brady Law get passed. In 1993, there were
only two or three senators on the floor of that chamber who used a
Unanimous Consent agreement (with no recorded vote) to send the Brady
bill to President Clinton — at a time when most legislators had
already left town for their Thanksgiving Break.
Gun owners can go to http://www.gunowners.org/news/nws9402.htm to
read about how this betrayal occurred 14 years ago.
With your help, Gun Owners of America has done a yeoman’s job of
fighting gun control over the years, considering the limited
resources that we have. Together, we were able to buck the Brady
Campaign/NRA coalition in 1999 (after the Columbine massacre) and
were able to defeat the gun control that was proposed in the wake of
Yesterday, we were not so lucky. But we are not going to go away.
GOA wants to repeal the gun-free zones that disarm law-abiding
Americans and repeal the other gun restrictions that are on the
books. That is the answer to Virginia Tech. Unfortunately, the
House and Senate chose the path of imposing more gun control.
So our appeal to you is this — please help us to grow this coming
year. Please help us to get more members and activists. If you add
$10 to your membership renewal this year, we can reach new gun owners
in the mail and tell them about GOA.
Please urge your friends to join GOA… and, at the very least, make
sure they sign up for our free e-mail alerts so that we can mobilize
more gun owners than ever before!