Gun Owners of America Legislative Alert
-- Oppose McCarthy Gun Control Bill, H.R. 297
Gun Owners of America E-Mail Alert
8001 Forbes Place, Suite 102, Springfield, VA 22151
Phone: 703-321-8585 / FAX: 703-321-8408
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
The first major anti-gun bill of the new Congress has already been
introduced, and it could prove to be the most serious threat to the
Second Amendment we face under the new congressional leadership.
On the first full day of the new Congress, anti-gun Rep. Carolyn
McCarthy introduced H.R. 297, the most massive expansion of the Brady
law since it passed in 1993. This is a bill you helped kill last
year, but the new House leadership will be even more eager to pass it
than were their predecessors.
This bill provides, in the form of grants, about $1 billion to the
states to "provide the National Instant Criminal Background Check
System [NICS] with all records concerning persons who are prohibited
from possessing or receiving a firearm under subsection (g) or (n) of
section 922 of title 18, United States Code, regardless of the
elapsed time since the disqualifying event."
Covered under this bill are records pertaining to the Lautenberg
misdemeanor gun ban, lists of persons under indictment, mental health
records, records relevant to the identification of illegal aliens and
NICS is the system used by the FBI to conduct a background check
prior to a firearm sale by a federally licensed gun dealer. Most
people are aware that NICS records include a list of convicted
felons, but there are many other categories of persons who are
prohibited from possessing firearms for which computerized lists may
not be available. It is these categories that are targeted by this
For instance, the bill expands upon the unconstitutional Lautenberg
misdemeanor gun ban [922 (g)(9)]. This gun ban, passed as an
amendment to a 1996 omnibus spending bill and signed into law by
President Clinton, was originally introduced by leading anti-gun
Senators Frank Lautenberg, Dianne Feinstein, and Edward Kennedy.
Under the Lautenberg ban, people who have committed very minor
offenses that include pushing, shoving or, in some cases, merely
yelling at a family member can no longer own a firearm for
The Lautenberg gun ban should be repealed, not expanded.
The bill also seeks to computerize records of persons "under
indictment for a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term
exceeding one year." Such persons, though not even convicted of the
crime in question, are prohibited from possessing a firearm.
The gun grabbers are seeking to force the states to provide the
federal government all of these indictment records, updated
quarterly. Given the maxim among those in the legal profession that
prosecutors can get a grand jury to "indict a ham sandwich," this,
too, is a gun prohibition that should be repealed, not expanded.
Mental health records are also covered under the McCarthy bill.
This could have a significant impact on American servicemen,
especially those returning from combat situations and who seek some
type of psychiatric care. Often, veterans who have suffered from
post-traumatic stress disorder have been deemed as mentally
"incompetent" and are prohibited from owning guns under 18 U.S.C.
922(g)(4). Records of those instances certainly exist, and, in 1999,
the Department of Veterans Administration turned over 90,000 names of
veterans to the FBI for inclusion into the NICS background check
Mental health records can also have a future impact on young people,
as this country trends closer to mandatory mental health screening
for students. In a 2003 report by a subcommittee of the President's
New Freedom Commission on Mental Health, the author states that "The
problem of emotional disorders in children is large -- 20% of all
children are affected -- and it seems to be growing." It is unknown
how these people will be categorized in the future.
The fact that metal health 'experts,' a notoriously anti-gun
community, would have a say in who is allowed to possess a firearm
is, quite frankly, frightening. Many in the profession would just as
soon consider anyone who owns a gun as 'mentally incompetent.'
Another sobering thought is how computerized data are often
mishandled. Consider the disturbing news reports that 25 million
Social Security number records of veterans were hacked. The more that
our private data gets added into government computers, the more
likely we are to have our identity compromised.
Perhaps the provision that would lead to the greatest number of
'fishing expeditions' is that related to illegal aliens.
Federal law prohibits illegal aliens from owning guns. The bill
requires all relevant data related to who is in this country
illegally. But what records pertaining to illegal aliens from the
states would be relevant? Perhaps a better question would be, what
records are not relevant?
In order to identify illegal aliens, "relevant" records could allow
the FBI to demand state tax returns of all citizens, employment
records, library records (we've already seen how these have been
deemed relevant to terrorism investigations), DMV and hospital
records -- all in the name of making sure that you're not an
The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, is one of the most
virulent anti-gunners in the entire Congress. Of the 32 cosponsors
of the bill last year, 31 were GOA "F" rated, one was rated "D."
These representatives support the bill because it enhances their gun
control agenda, not because they are concerned about protecting your
Second Amendment rights.
Also among the bill's supporters are anti-Second Amendment groups
like the Brady Campaign and Americans for Gun Safety (AGS). In fact,
the McCarthy bill is taken point by point from a 2002 ASG "report"
entitled "How America's Faulty Background Check System Allows
Criminals to Get Guns."
This bill was first introduced in 2002 by Rep. McCarthy and Sen.
Chuck Schumer. It passed out of the House that year, and was only
defeated by a GOA-supported filibuster by former Sen. Bob Smith
(R-NH). Since the bill has already been around for several years,
look for Speaker Nancy Pelosi to put this bill on the fast track as a
way to thank Sarah Brady and her anti-gun cohorts.
The Brady law needs to be repealed, not expanded to allow anti-gun
administrations to find new ways to strip citizens of their Second
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 H.R. 297! We need all the help we can get.
You can visit the Gun Owners Legislative Action Center at
to send your Representative a
pre-written e-mail message. And, you can call your Representative
toll-free at 1-877-762-8762.
---- Pre-written letter to your Representative ----
Gun Owners of America has told me that anti-gun Rep. Carolyn McCarthy
is trying to expand the Brady Law via H.R. 297. Well, on behalf of
those millions of Americans who:
* have had their gun purchases held up by the Brady background check
system for no apparent reason;
* know of people who have been targets of stalkers or abusive
husbands -- and were killed (or simply forced to live in fear) while
some bureaucrat in West Virginia fumbled around with their lives;
* have tried to buy a gun when the NICS system was shut down
completely -- thereby blocking gun purchases nationally;
* are just curious why the Brady Instant Check -- which was billed as
"the gun control bill that would stop future calls for gun control"
-- almost immediately became a stepping stone for gun control bills
dealing with gun show background checks, private sale background
checks, and more personal information for the NICS registration
* are wondering why the FBI brags about the number of sales blocked
by the Brady check, but can produce no data showing that the Instant
check system has any relation to crime reduction;
* are struck by the fact that the anti-gun Clinton administration
tried to use the system -- without further legislation -- to impose
onerous fees and to retain records forever; and
* are wondering why the folks responsible for Waco and Ruby Ridge
should be put in charge of determining whether or not I can have a
I would ask you to oppose H.R. 297, the anti-gun legislation
sponsored by liberal Carolyn McCarthy. Thank you.