ATTENTION GUN OWNERS OF AMERICA

Compromisers On Capitol Hill

Reviving Brady Expansion Again


— Your hard work in bottling up this bill is about to be

undone

Gun Owners of America
8001 Forbes Place, Suite 102
Springfield, VA 22151
(703)321-8585

“[The] more vociferous rival, Gun Owners of America,… has long opposed McCarthy’s background-check bill.” — The Washington Post, June 9, 2007


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

While the entire nation was focused on the immigration bill the past couple of weeks, the gremlins on Capitol Hill were finalizing a “compromise” on gun control legislation.

The good news is that your tremendous outpouring of opposition to Rep. Carolyn McCarthy’s Brady enhancement (HR 297) has sent a strong signal to Capitol Hill that this bill is unacceptable as written. The bad news is that there are some seemingly pro-gun Congressmen who are driven to get anything passed, just so they can say they did something about Virginia Tech.

So what’s going on?

On Saturday, The Washington Post reported [ see http://tinyurl.com/23cgqn ] that both the Democrats and the NRA leadership had reached a “deal” on legislation similar to the McCarthy bill. This “deal” involves a new bill that has been introduced by Rep. McCarthy (HR 2640) — a bill that has not yet been posted on the Thomas legislative service. While all the legislative particulars are not yet available, one thing is clear: it is, as reported by the Post, a deal with Democrats. And it involves legislation introduced by the most anti-gun member of the House, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY).

The Post says that, under the new language, the federal government would pay (that is, spend taxpayers’ money) to help the states send more names of individual Americans to the FBI for inclusion in the background check system. If a state fails to do this, then the feds could cut various law enforcement grants to that state. In essence, this is a restatement of what the original McCarthy bill does. The states will be bribed (again, with your money) to send more names, many of them innocent gun owners, to the FBI in West Virginia — and perhaps lots of other personal information on you as well.

Under the terms of this compromise, the Post says, “individuals with minor infractions in their pasts could petition their states to have their names removed from the federal database, and about 83,000 military veterans, put into the system by the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2000 for alleged mental health reasons, would have a chance to clean their records.”

Oh really? The Brady law already contains a procedure for cleaning up records. But it hasn’t worked for the 83,000 veterans that are currently prohibited from buying guns. Gun Owners of America is aware of many people who have tried to invoke this procedure in the Brady Law, only to get the run around — and a form letter — from the FBI. The simple truth is that the FBI and the BATFE think the 83,000 veterans, and many other law-abiding Americans, should be in the NICS system.

After all, that’s what federal regulations decree. Unless these regs are changed, Congress can create as many redundant procedures for cleaning up these records as it wants, but the bottom line is, there is nothing that will force the FBI to scrub gun owners’ name from the NICS system.

Not only that, there is a Schumer amendment in federal law which prevents the BATFE from restoring the rights of individuals who are barred from purchasing firearms. If that amendment is not repealed, then it doesn’t matter if your state stops sending your name for inclusion in the FBI’s NICS system… you are still going to be a disqualified purchaser when you try to buy a gun.

Moreover, will gun owners who are currently being denied the ability to purchase firearms — such as the military veterans who have suffered from post-traumatic stress — be recompensed in any way for their efforts to “clean their records”? They will, no doubt, have to spend thousands of dollars going to a shrink for a positive recommendation, for hiring lawyers to take their case to court, etc.

And this is not to mention the fact that this procedure turns our whole legal system on its head. Americans are presumed innocent until PROVEN guilty. But these brave souls, who risked their lives defending our country, were denied the right to bear arms because of a mental illness “loophole” in the law. Their names were added to the prohibited purchasers’ list in West Virginia without any due process, without any trial by jury… no, their names were just added by executive fiat. They were unilaterally, and unconstitutionally, added into the NICS system by the Clinton administration. And now the burden of proof is ON THEM to prove their innocence. Isn’t that backwards?

One wonders if these military veterans will be any more successful in getting back their gun rights than the gun owners in New Orleans who tried to get back their firearms which were confiscated in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. (Gun owners in the Big Easy have found it very difficult to prove their case and get their guns back, even though the courts have ruled that the police acted improperly in confiscating their firearms.) But isn’t that the problem when honest people are thrust into the position of PROVING their innocence to the government, rather than vice-versa.

The fact is, current federal law — combined with BATFE’s interpretations of that law — will make it very unlikely that any court will restore the Second Amendment rights of those 83,000 veterans.

Finally, the Post article also says the “federal government would be permanently barred from charging gun buyers or sellers a fee for their background checks.” Well, that sounds good, but GOA already won this battle in 1998 when we drafted and pushed the Smith amendment into law.

GOA had to overcome opposition from certain pro-gun groups to help Senator Bob Smith (R-NH) introduce and push his language as an amendment to an appropriations bill. The Smith amendment barred the FBI from taxing gun buyers, something which the Clinton administration was considering doing.

GOA won the vote in the Senate with a veto-proof majority and the Smith amendment has been law ever since. But now we’re being told that we need to swallow McCarthy’s poison pill so that the Smith amendment — which is currently law — will stay on the books. Huh?!

ACTION: Gun Owners of America is the only national pro-gun organization opposing the McCarthy bill, so it is imperative that you contact your representative immediately. Please take action today and spread the word about HR 2640! We need all the help we can get.

You can visit the Gun Owners Legislative Action Center to send your Representative a pre-written e-mail message. You can call your Representative at 202-225-3121, or you can call your Representative toll-free at 1-877-762-8762.

—– Pre-written letter —–

Dear Representative:

Gun Owners of America tells me there is a compromise brewing on McCarthy’s Brady expansion legislation — the recently introduced HR 2640. I want you to know that grassroots gun owners OPPOSE this bill.

All the compromises on the table continue to infringe upon the Second Amendment. Please understand that no new gun control whatsoever is acceptable… period.

If you want to know some language that gun owners would support, then consider this:

“The Brady Law shall be null and void unless, prior to six months following the date of enactment of this Act, every name of a veteran forwarded to the national instant criminal background check system by the Veterans Administration or the Department of Veterans Affairs be permanently removed from that system.”

Sincerely,

****************************

New Shocking DVD!

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A highly professional production from Jews for Preservation of Firearms Ownership, the DVD has outraged viewers who were not sympathetic to gun ownership and convinced them that BATFE has to go. Finally, America can see what this increasingly rogue agency is doing. The Gang could end the career of America’s Gestapo if enough people see it. Now available through Gun Owners Foundation at just $25.

Also produced by JPFO: Innocents Betrayed. This DVD was shown by a Philadelphia social studies teacher to all of his classes. It turned the students completely around, even though they were being taught gun control in all their other classes. Extensively documents that all 20th century genocides were preceded by firearms registration and confiscation.

Please see http://www.gunowners.com/resource.htm to order either or both of these DVDs (and check out our ongoing book sale at the same time).

……………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Bush Sides With Mexican Killers Against U.S.
By Cliff Kincaid  |  June 12, 2007

There’s an old saying, “Don’t mess with Texas.” Well, Bush did.

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The State Department’s top legal adviser told international lawyers on June 6 that President Bush is so committed to the primacy of international law that he has taken his home state of Texas to court on behalf of a group of Mexican killers. The Mexicans had been sentenced to death for murdering U.S. citizens, including young children.

John B. Bellinger III, legal adviser to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, cited the case, Mexico v. United States of America, in trying to convince the attorneys that the administration is doing what it can to enforce international law in U.S. courts.

In the case, Bush has come down on the same side as the U.N.’s International Court of Justice (ICJ), which ruled 14-1 on behalf of Mexico against the U.S. The ICJ was headed at the time by a judge from communist China, who also ruled against the U.S.

Bellinger’s audience was gathered at The Hague, a city in the Netherlands which is home to over 100 international organizations, including the U.N.’s International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court.

Sworn in as the Legal Adviser to the Secretary of State on April 8, 2005, Bellinger is described by the State Department as “the principal adviser on all domestic and international law matters to the Department of State, the Foreign Service, and the diplomatic and consular posts abroad.”

The Bellinger speech, designed to convince the pro-U.N. globalists in attendance that Bush is really on their side, should have been big news. Not only did he praise Bush for coming down on the side of foreign killers of Americans, in a major court case with international implications, but he demonstrated how far the administration is prepared to go to impress the “international community.”

In a major disclosure, Bellinger said that Bush is currently seeking immediate Senate ratification of 35 different “treaty packages.” He said these include the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), a measure rejected by President Reagan and his U.N. Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick. Bellinger didn’t name any of the other “treaty packages” that the administration wants to push through. But a number of radical treaties are known to be pending before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, headed by Democratic presidential candidate and Senator Joseph Biden.

Once again, it appears that Bush wants to ignore the concerns of conservatives in order to work with liberal Democrats and advance a controversial legislative agenda.

International Law

“To put it simply,” Bellinger said, “our critics sometimes paint the United States as a country willing to duck or shrug off international obligations when they prove constraining or inconvenient. That picture is wrong. The United States does believe that international law matters. We help develop it, rely on it, abide by it, and–contrary to some impressions–it has an important role in our nation’s Constitution and domestic law.”

Bellinger’s extraordinary speech, coming at a time when Bush is under fire for failing to protect America from a Mexican invasion of illegal aliens, demonstrates how the President has been working on behalf of Mexican interests–in this case, convicted Mexican killers claiming their “rights” were violated under a treaty–against the interests of his own nation. When the implications of the Mexico v. United States case are widely known, it can only further harm the administration’s chances for an amnesty-for-illegal-aliens bill.

Conservatives have shown, through derailing the bill, that they are not content to play dumb or go to sleep when the issue involves American sovereignty.

Rights for Killers

Many Americans are not aware that the Mexico v. United States case, also known as the Avena decision, was decided against the U.S. by the U.N.’s International Court of Justice (ICJ) and that the Bush Justice Department sided with the ICJ. What’s more, the Bush Justice Department took the case to the U.S. Supreme Court in order to force U.S. states to legally recognize the “rights” of Mexicans who kill Americans on U.S. soil. A decision from the Supreme Court is pending.

The case was taken to the ICJ by the government of Mexico on behalf of 51 of its citizens who had carried out these murders in the U.S. The argument advanced by Mexico on behalf of the killers was that they were not afforded a timely opportunity to meet with Mexican representatives in the U.S. known as consular officers. This was said to be required under the Vienna Convention.

Current figures show 124 foreign nationals on death row in the U.S. Fifty-five of those are from Mexico. Most of them are on death row in California or Texas.

Bellinger explained that “The cases covered by the ICJ judgment all involved heinous murders, including of young children. Some proceedings had gone on for many years, with the victims’ families patiently waiting while our state and then federal courts reviewed the outcome to ensure that it fully complied with our laws. Yet the ICJ judgment nonetheless required us to review these cases again to consider the unlikely possibility that the outcome would have been different if the defendant had been asked whether he wanted his consular officer notified of his arrest.”

The ICJ “ordered the United States to review the cases of 51 Mexican nationals convicted of capital crimes,” Bellinger told the audience. Citing U.S. sovereignty and the concerns of the victims’ families, the Bush Administration could have ignored the ICJ ruling. But Bush, “acting on the advice of the Secretary of State,” decided to “require each State involved to give the 51 convicts a new hearing,” he said. Hence, Bush sided with convicted killers from Mexico against the American victims and their families.

Presidential Power

How did the President do this? On February 28, 2005, Bush simply made a “determination” and assumed the power to tell the states what to do.

He declared, “I have determined, pursuant to the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and laws of the United States, that the United States will discharge its international obligations under the decision of the International Court of Justice in the Case Concerning Avena and Other Mexican Nationals (Mexico v. United States of America), 2004 I.C.J. 128 (Mar. 31), by having state courts give effect to the decision in accordance with general principles of comity in cases filed by the 51 Mexican nationals addressed in that decision.”

The Bush Justice Department argued that the president has the power to do whatever he wants to do. “In particular circumstances, the President may decide that the United States will not comply with an ICJ decision and direct a United States veto of any proposed Security Council enforcement measure,” it said. “Here, however, the President has determined that the foreign policy interests of the United States justify compliance with the ICJ’s decision.”

But Bush’s home state of Texas decided that Bush did not have that power.

Texas Says No

Bellinger acknowledged that “The first defendant to try to take advantage of the President’s decision was in the state of Texas, which objected to the President’s decision. In response, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled that the President had no power to intervene in its affairs, even to obtain compliance with an order of the ICJ. This Administration has gone to the Supreme Court of the United States to reverse this decision. We expect a ruling from that Court this time next year.”

So here we have a case of the Bush Administration going to the U.S. Supreme Court in an effort to enforce compliance with an international court! And the case involves litigating against the President’s home state of Texas!

There’s an old saying, “Don’t mess with Texas.” Well, Bush did.

Bush Promotes New Treaties

Trying to impress his international audience, Bellinger declared that “international law binds us in our domestic system” and that the Bush Administration entered into 429 international agreements and treaties last year alone.

Bellinger bragged that “…I have a staff of 171 lawyers, who work every day to furnish advice on legal matters, domestic and international, and to promote the development of international law as a fundamental element of our foreign policy.”

According to Bellinger, “Our Constitution does not prescribe isolationism. To the contrary, it promotes our active participation in the development and enforcement of international law.”

This will be news to patriotic Americans.

Even in cases where the administration seems opposed to some new international institution, Bellinger made it clear that the opposition is only half-hearted.

For example, while Bush never sought ratification of the ICC, Bellinger said that “…over the past couple of years we have worked hard to demonstrate that we share the main goals and values of the Court.” He explained, “We did not oppose the Security Council’s referral of the Darfur situation to the ICC, and have expressed our willingness to consider assisting the ICC Prosecutor’s Darfur work should we receive an appropriate request. We supported the use of ICC facilities for the trial of Charles Taylor, which began this week here in The Hague. These steps reflect our desire to find practical ways to work with ICC supporters to advance our shared goals of promoting international criminal justice…”

Bellinger did not explain what would happen when the ICC decided to lodge charges against U.S. soldiers or officials over “war crimes” in Iraq or elsewhere.

New Global Warming Treaty

Anticipating Bush’s embrace at the G-8 meeting in Germany of a new and much-tougher global warming treaty, Bellinger said that the U.S. was pursuing “a host of climate-related measures, both domestically and internationally,” including “a new post-2012 framework on climate change.” Al Gore would have been proud.

In the only remarks that could please conservatives, Bellinger said that the Bush Administration would NOT pursue ratification of the Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), a radical pro-abortion feminist measure. He said that “…we have not been persuaded that the binding international obligations contained in that treaty would add anything to the measures we take domestically.”

Considering that Bush is pushing UNCLOS–and dozens of other treaties–and that he sided with Mexico against his own country and his own state in the Avena case, the failure to push ratification of CEDAW may not be hailed as much of a victory by conservatives. Indeed, Bellinger seemed to be arguing that CEDAW was not necessary because U.S. domestic law was already as radical as the U.N. treaty and that the administration was perfectly happy with that state of affairs.

Bellinger closed his speech by saying, “The principles that The Hague symbolizes are ours too, and our common future rests on them.”

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