Jews For The Preservation of Firearms Ownership, Inc.
P.O. Box 270143
Hartford, WI 53027
Phone (800) 869-1884
Fax (425) 451-3959
May 15, 1998
COMMENTS TO BATF REGARDING "INSTANT CHECK"
Please post this far and wide, being carefull to keep this entire e-mail intact.
We encourage every JPFO activist to write a letter to the BATF with a format as the one written below, yet, using your own words. Please do not simply copy it word for word, and send it to the BATF. As much as possible, let it be in your own words. You must act quickly. The comment period is only until May 20, 1998.
May 16, 1998
Cheif Regulations Division
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
P.O. Box 50221
Washington, D.C. 20091-0221
Re: Comment on Notice No. 857 (proposed regulations to implement the "instant check" provisions of the "Brady Act").
Dear Sir or Madam:
Our organization strongly opposes the highly-intrusive regulations which BATF is proposing to implement the "Brady Act." It astounds us that an executive department of government, sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States, should be so eagerly advancing the cause of nationally registering peaceful American firearms owners.
We realize that BATF officially will deny that the proposed regulations will implement a national registry of firearms owners as part of the national "instant check" system. The proposed regulations, however, will seek social security numbers and detailed personal information from registrants. We also know that the Justice Department, which will process the "instant checks," is not prevented from maintaining a national registry. And we know that all of the "instant check" data will reside in federal computer databases.
With national "instant check" comes national records, and that means a de facto national registry. Promises by a federal agency to protect privacy, or to never misuse information about firearms owners, are fairly worthless after the Waco massacre and the Ruby Ridge incident. In both of those cases, innocent people were killed by federal agents who were supposedly enforcing federal "gun control" laws. Those federal agents operated with federal information gathered through federal channels.
With these proposed regulations, however, BATF does not even promise any privacy for the firearms registration records. Instead, BATF proposes to leave privacy protection and data security regulations for the Department of Justice to devise.
It is an undisputed fact that the overwhelming majority of firearms owners are not violent criminals or firearms abusers. The proposed de facto national registration plan therefore is largely irrelevant to crime detection or prevention. The plan must have some other purpose.
The effects of the national "instant check" system are:
(1) to register nationally as many firearms owners as possible without their knowing assent,
(2) to accustom Americans to federal government intrusion into their minute daily affairs,
(3) to stigmatize firearms as dangers to society requiring federal control,
(4) to stigmatize firearms owners as criminal suspects needing federal monitoring and control,
(5) to serve as an intermediate step toward total federal control of firearms ownership, and
(6) to pave the way for future firearms confiscation and/or future persecution of firearms owners.
The national "instant check" regulations proposed by the BATF eerily follow the path of Nazi Germany. In his scholarly account of how the Nazi German government accomplished the Holocaust, Richard Lawrence Miller identified the five step process of genocide:
(1) identification of targeted persons as public menaces (and registering them),
(2) ostracism of the targeted persons,
(3) confiscation of the property of the targeted persons,
(4) geographical concentration of the targeted persons, and
(5) annihilation of the targeted persons. See Miller, Nazi Justiz: Law of the Holocaust (1995), p. 3.
Viewed under Miller's analysis, the BATF regulations effectively produce the results of at least three of these steps:
(1) The "instant check" system identifies firearms owners as a public menace (else they would not need to be tracked by federal law enforcement), and records the federal identification number, personal description and whereabouts of each owner. The Nazis employed comparable methods to identify and track Jews. (Nazi Justiz, pp. 24, 74, 192 n. 328.)
(2) The "instant check" stigmatizes firearms owners as a dangerous class of person, legally different from other citizens. The implicit message is that firearms owners, as persons who require national tracking, should be viewed with suspicion. Nazi government propaganda and rule-making against Jews, long before the concentration camp period, caused "Aryan" Germans to disassociate themselves from anything "Jewish," which resulted in ostracism of Jews from German society. (Nazi Justiz, pp. 43, 54-55, 69, 71-72.) The anti-firearms prejudice of federal registration laws likewise causes psychological and peer-group pressure which subtly threatens current and prospective firearms owners with ostracism.
(3) Registration of firearms and their owners in New York City made it possible to later confiscate those weapons. (See James Bovard, Lost Rights: The Destruction of American Liberty (1994), pp. 216-224.) The Nazis were able to easily confiscate the property of Jews because a law required Jews to register their personal property with the government. (Nazi Justiz, pp. 100-104.) The "instant check" database likewise will make it possible for federal agents to confiscate firearms.
Nothing in the text of the Constitution or the Bill of Rights empowers Congress or BATF to regulate firearms. The Second Amendment by its own language prohibits the federal government from infringing on the people's right to keep and bear arms. (See, e.g., U.S. Senate, "The Right to Keep and Bear Arms," Report of the Subcommittee on the Constitution of the Committee on the Judiciary (1982), p. 12). Accordingly, BATF should carry out its Constitutional duty to refrain from implementing any federal "gun control" laws.
But even if BATF does promulgate regulations under the "Brady" law, BATF should do so in a way that maximally protects the rights of private citizens. The proposed regulations run the opposite direction; they seem to be as intrusive as possible, maximizing federal power as much as possible, setting up springboards for further expansion of federal power. It is no wonder that BATF is viewed with so much hostility and suspicion by so many peaceful American citizens.
Our organization stands resolutely against the implementation of broader regulations under the "Brady" law. We urge BATF to distance itself from its tyrannical precursors in history, and to maximize freedom, protect the people's right to keep and bear arms, and restrain the growth of federal power.
Very truly yours,
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