Saturday, June 03, 2006

H.R. 1415: NICS Improvement Act of 2005

I've been looking at McCarthy's bill NICS Improvement Act of 2005. Gun Owners of America is standing against the bill. The primary argument is related to the context of what is considered "misdemeanors domestic violence." This is important in that the Lautenberg Gun Ban of 1996 has made it systemic that any offense that could be considered domestic violence will disqualify a person from owning a gun. They provide some very strange examples of what has been determined as disqualifying.
Because of the Lautenberg ban, people who have committed very minor offenses that include pushing, shoving or, in some cases, even yelling at a family member have discovered that they can no longer own a firearm for self-defense. Consider just some of the many examples:

* A Delaware member of GOA testified in Congress as to how the Lautenberg gun ban had disarmed him for life -- simply because he swatted his child with an open hand on the buttocks. At the time, this father was going through an ugly divorce, and so his estranged wife, with the encouragement of her mother, reported the man to the police for child abuse. After a nasty court battle, this father was forced to accept a domestic violence misdemeanors conviction. He has sold his firearms collection and is now disarmed for life by the Lautenberg gun ban, simply because he spanked his child.

* In Fairfax County, Virginia, a wife (Judy) was carted off to the police station for slightly tearing her husband's pocket -- even though her husband refused to press charges. The husband, Tom, states he had only called the police to get "documentation in a custody dispute." Nevertheless, Virginia's zero-tolerance law requires the police to press charges in such cases. For Judy to plea-bargain to a misdemeanor and pay a minimal fine means that she forfeits her Second Amendment rights forever because of the Lautenberg ban.

* The Lautenberg gun ban has even slapped sons and daughters with a lifetime gun ban, for nothing more than the slightest of infractions. The Washington Post Magazine reports that twenty-one year old Lora lost her temper and flung an empty water bottle and her car keys. Unfortunately for her, the car keys landed near her mother. For that, Lora was arrested, booked, and told she must not have any contact with her mom for three days, even though she was still living at home. Officer Mike Twomey, who assisted in the arrest, remarks that "in the old days, the proper response would have been to say, 'hey, ladies, cool it.' Now, arrest is the only option."

Let's not forget, that because of the Lautenberg domestic violence MISDEMEANOR gun ban, the "new days" means that if Lora pays a $25 fine -- just to get the issue "behind her" -- she loses her gun rights forever.
I've read the McCarthy Bill, and personally think that on it's own would be a good act. It would systematize the NICS database to place all information uniformly from all states into the database. The problem comes when the Lautenberg Gun Ban is used to interpret the information provided. I would think that repeal of the Lautenberg Gun Ban would be a better idea, but since I find no evidence of anyone working toward that end, I think this tactic could help.

There is also an issue with restraining orders on top of this. Since a restraining order doesn't require any actual facts of trial, the use of restraining orders have been used in ugly divorces as a retaliation device. Once that restraining order is in place, you have to turn in all your guns and you can't possess them again. Some states have been trying to change this, but have found resistance from the federal government.

It would be nice to find something that could piece together the piles of gun control regulations and place them contextually together to aid gun owners in understanding exactly how the gun laws can effect them.

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