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By Alan Korwin

The issue is no longer "if" or "whether" the federal government will register gun owners nationally. It is their announced plans, and the system is nearly completed. They'll tell you on the phone, they'll mail you the brochure, you can read about it on their website (not any website, their website). These are the highlights:

The name and full ID of every retail gun buyer in the country will be recorded by the FBI, starting Nov. 30. Social security numbers will be semi-optional until Oct. 1, 2000, when they become mandatory. A tax of up to $16 will apply to every purchase, unless your state's police cooperate with the FBI (in which case the tax is waived); 19 such states are "playing" as of this date. The FBI may lower its tax, working in concert with membership groups, if they think it will aid acceptance of registration. The official public comment period has ended.

FBI agents (who have effectively eliminated BATF from this business) claim they have to do all this for security purposes. For audit purposes. They claim they have to under the Brady law. They claim it's just an instant check. None of these claims are supported. Gun owners will be kept online for at least two years, and records will be stored permanently. The 2-year revolving online registry will include between eight and fourteen million people -- all the most current gun owners. Multiple permanent and quasi-permanent backups are planned. Testing starts with Oregon and Nevada in June, if the interface specs are on time.

Compare these phrases: Instant check. Ongoing long-term storage. See? They're not the same. Congress enacted an instant check. Ongoing long-term storage is the FBI's idea. Congress has not repealed the McClure-Volkmer act, which unequivocally prohibits recording this information in a government facility. The FBI is simply ignoring it. Claiming it doesn't apply. The only glitch -- a minor one, apparently -- is the intent of Congress: instant check, record nothing. I know, I know, you can argue the validity of the instant check itself, but at least it's a law. The rogue actions of the bureaucracies here are against the law. Prohibited by law.

We don't need another law -- this is already illegal -- just enforce the law against the government -- or forget the whole notion of "the rule of law."

Proposed legislation to require short time frames merely has the horrendous effect of breaching the protection of McClure-Volkmer, which now blanketly prohibits any recordation whatsoever.

Saving instant-check data is the opposite of the Brady law. Brady says if the sale goes through the records shall be destroyed. Only a corrupt reading of the phrase destroy all records ends up meaning save all records and do whatever you want with them for as long as you deem proper. If there's any question about Brady, check McClure-Volkmer, the law Charles Schumer tries to repeal every year.

OK, so we've lost. Our own government plans to collect the name and address of every innocent person who gets a gun after Nov. 30th. How did we get into this mess anyway? Registration used to be the most feared and staunchly resisted facet of government power grabs. Why haven't we heard about this? The implications of that question are too chilling to verbalize.

I'll have more for you shortly.

(c) Alan Korwin 1998.

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13 June, 1998