The issue is no longer "if" or "whether" the federal
government will register gun owners nationally. It is their announced
plans, and the system is nearly completed. They'll tell you on the phone,
they'll mail you the brochure, you can read about it on their website
(not any website, their website). These are the highlights:
The name and full ID of every retail gun buyer in the country will
be recorded by the FBI, starting Nov. 30. Social security numbers
will be semi-optional until Oct. 1, 2000, when they become mandatory.
A tax of up to $16 will apply to every purchase, unless your state's
police cooperate with the FBI (in which case the tax is waived); 19
such states are "playing" as of this date. The FBI may lower
its tax, working in concert with membership groups, if they think it
will aid acceptance of registration. The official public comment period
FBI agents (who have effectively eliminated BATF from this business)
claim they have to do all this for security purposes. For audit purposes.
They claim they have to under the Brady law. They claim it's just an
instant check. None of these claims are supported. Gun owners will be
kept online for at least two years, and records will be stored permanently.
The 2-year revolving online registry will include between eight and
fourteen million people all the most current gun owners. Multiple permanent
and quasi-permanent backups are planned. Testing starts with Oregon
and Nevada in June, if the interface specs are on time.
Compare these phrases: Instant check. Ongoing long-term storage. See?
They're not the same. Congress enacted an instant check. Ongoing long-term
storage is the FBI's idea. Congress has not repealed the McClure-Volkmer
act, which unequivocally prohibits recording this information in a government
facility. The FBI is simply ignoring it. Claiming it doesn't apply.
The only glitch a minor one, apparently is the intent of Congress: instant
check, record nothing. I know, I know, you can argue the validity of
the instant check itself, but at least it's a law. The rogue actions
of the bureaucracies here are against the law. Prohibited by law.
We don't need another law this is already illegal just enforce the
law against the government or forget the whole notion of "the rule
law." Proposed legislation to require short time frames merely
has the horrendous effect of breaching the protection of McClure-Volkmer,
which now blanketly prohibits any recordation whatsoever.
Saving instant-check data is the opposite of the Brady law. Brady says
if the sale goes through the records shall be destroyed. Only a corrupt
reading of the phrase destroy all records ends up meaning save all records
and do whatever you want with them for as long as you deem proper. If
there's any question about Brady, check McClure-Volkmer, the law Charles
Schumer tries to repeal every year.
OK, so we've lost. Our own government plans to collect the name and
address of every innocent person who gets a gun after Nov. 30th. How
did we get into this mess anyway? Registration used to be the most feared
and staunchly resisted facet of government power grabs. Why haven't
we heard about this? The implications of that question are too chilling
to verbalize. I'll have more for you shortly.
Alan Korwin is a full-time free-lance writer and author of seven books
on gun law, including Gun Laws of America Every Federal Gun Law on the
Books with Plain English Summaries. Permission to reprint this article
is granted to non-profit organizations, provided credit is given to
Alan Korwin, Bloomfield Press, Phoenix, AZ. All others, just call us.