In The News
Kimberly Willingham (202) 225-3035
January 27, 2009 The Palestine Herald
WASHINGTON, DC - By WAYNE STEWART
Legislation was introduced to the U.S. House recently many believe will put the Second Amendment at risk.
Blair Holt’s Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act of 2009 was introduced to the House on Jan. 6 by Bobby Rush, D-Chicago. Under the bill gun dealers and owners would be required to obtain a federal license and to register all qualifying firearms (handguns and rifles with external clips) with the government.
For many gun owners this act will only lead to one thing — confiscation.
“This is the first step toward confiscation,” said gun owner Joe Bryant. “They already have enough records to keep track of them. This just adds another layer to it.”
Currently the bill sits in the House Committee on the Judiciary pending review. East Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert, R-Marshall, serves on the committee and said gun ownership is not the main business of the government.
“The federal government should not be the primary regulator of firearms,” Gohmert said. “The sale of some weapons could be regulated by the federal government if an interstate connection is proven, but H.R. 45 simply declares that all firearm commerce is interstate by nature and therefore the federal government can regulate it.”
One aspect of the proposed bill most upsetting to Bryant is the retroactive nature of the resolution, that would give current firearm owners two years to get licensed and report their firearms to the government.
“There are a couple of people up in Washington pushing this stupid thing,” Bryant said. “People need to contact their Representatives and Senators and tell them they don’t want this.”
One of the problems, as Gohmert sees it, if the bill passed, it would make it harder for people to go out and buy a gun for personal reasons.
“The bill would make it much more difficult to obtain a firearm for self defense by implementing an entire new system of tedious federal regulation and directing states on how to regulate,” Gohmert continued. “This bill would violate the Supreme Court’s District of Columbia v. Heller decision from 2008, which declared that the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution protects an individual’s right to possess a firearm for private use.”
One portion of the proposed bill would allow for the Attorney General, acting as the nation’s top law enforcement officer, to, “enter any place where firearms or firearm products are manufactured, stored or held for distribution in commerce and inspect those areas where the products are manufactured, stored or held.”
Such an allowance is another breach of the Constitution, according to Gohmert.
“This would absolutely violate the Fourth Amendment if it permits searches that are not pursuant to a valid warrant or based on probable cause that evidence of a crime can be found,” Gohmert said, adding that, “Congress cannot circumvent the Constitution by simply declaring that law enforcement can search businesses whenever they want because firearms are there.”
The bill was originally introduced in 2007, but failed to make it out of committee, Gohmert said it may well happen again, but he said there are no guarantees.
“When this bill was introduced last Congress, it was not reviewed by the Democrat-led Judiciary Committee, but I cannot predict how it will play out with the new Congress and Administration in place,” Gohmert said. “I certainly hope this bill does not pass, much less come up for a vote during this Congress.”
There are gun rights supporters from both political parties Gohmert noted, but he said concerned gun owners should contact their elected officials and let them know how important they believe the issue to be.
“Including myself, there are many members from both sides of the aisle in both houses that are concerned about the right to keep and bear arms, and it is important that they stand up and make heard the voices of Americans on this critical issue,” Gohmert said. “That means our citizens must be in contact with their Representatives and Senators, urging them to oppose this bill and protect their Second Amendment rights so that their leaders will be able to echo their concerns in Washington.”