- Campaign for Liberty -
I just finished reading HR 2159, "Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act of 2009." In short, it grants exclusive, unchecked, and unaccoutable power to the Attorney General to sieze and/or deny access to firearms, FFLs, and FIDs, even if you have a squeaky clean background check. Here are the highlights:
1. It grants the Attorney General the power to deny citizens "appropriately suspected1" (not convicted) of terrorism the right to keep and bear arms.
2. It gives this unbalanced power to an UNELECTED official - the Attorney General.
3. The only requirement for a revocation or denial of an FID or FFL? That "the Attorney General has a reasonable belief that the applicant may use a firearm in connection with terrorism.2"
4. States have to comply. I mean, have to.3
5. The AG is explicity guaranteed the right to "withh[o]ld [evidence] from the petitioner if the Attorney General determines that the disclosure of the information would likely compromise national security.4" Yes, it says that. Often.
6. Even if a petitioner (that's you and me) takes the US to court over their denial, the AG can use summaries of his evidence against you. He doesn't have to present the primary evidence.5
I have read the bill. I looked at the US Codes that it references. I looked up the definition of "terrorism." I looked up the definition of "coercion." And I can say, with certaintly, that if this bill passes, it is absolutely possible that the AG could revoke and deny FFLs and FIDs and not have to explain to you, either in court or out of court, why you were revoked or denied.That is, an unelected United States official could sieze your firearms and/or your livelihood because he "reasonably suspected" you of being a terrorist.
1. Denies citizens the right to bear arms even if they haven't been convicted of any crime(s).
2. Violates the Second Amendment. (The Second Amendment states that "the right of the people to keep and bear arms...shall not be infringed.") This is infringement.
3. Violates the Sixth Amendment ("...The accused shall...be confronted with the witnesses against him.")
4. Is wide open for abuse of power. There is a built-in catch-all for FID and FFL seizures and denials - "in the interest of national security."
5. Violates, most importantly, the spirit of the Constitution! It gives an imbalance of power to an unelected official!
I urge everyone to call their Congressmen and Cogresswomen and tell them that you oppose this bill based on one or two of the above points.
1. HR 2159, page 2 line 18.
2. HR 2159, page 3, lines 10-12.
3. HR 2159, page 4, lines 23-25; HR 2159, page 5, lines 1-2.
4. HR 2159, page 8, lines 10-15.
5. HR 2159, page 8, lines 20-23.