Sunday, February 12, 2006


Congressional Focus on Gun Rights

It is nice to see Congress looking into the progression of gun rights recently. Check out these snippets from the National Rifle Association, all of which piqued my interest:


On February 15, the U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security will hold an oversight hearing (the first of three BATFE-related hearings) to investigate apparent wrongdoing by BATFE at a Richmond, VA gun show last August.

In 2004-05, a troubling pattern emerged at a number of Richmond, VA-area gun shows, where hundreds of BATFE agents and state and local police staked out local shows. Immediately upon learning of these incidents, NRA began investigating and working to ensure congressional oversight hearings would be held to determine any wrongdoing and ensure BATFE was not overstepping its bounds or violating the law.

BATFE agents copied lawful gun purchase transaction records and provided this information to local police officers, who in turn conducted "residency checks." Federal law prohibits the release of this information except in the course of a bona fide criminal investigation. The information provided to local police prompted multiple instances of officers showing up at the homes of those who lawfully purchased firearms from licensed dealers. When the lawful purchasers were not at home, agents questioned family members (for example, inquiring of a wife if she knew her husband was at a gun show and/or had purchased a firearm) or their neighbors. In other cases, reports surfaced of lawful gun owners and holders of valid carry permits having their firearms confiscated.

Those interested in watching the hearing online may do so at The hearing is scheduled to begin at approximately 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 15.

U.S. Representative Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) recently introduced H.R. 4547-a national Right-to-Carry (RTC) reciprocity bill that would provide national reciprocity for state carry licensees. The bill would allow any person with a valid carry permit or license issued by a state to carry a concealed firearm in any other state if they meet certain criteria. The bill would not create a federal licensing system; it would simply require the states to recognize each other's carry permits, just as they recognize drivers' licenses.

For more information on the bill, please visit Please be sure to contact your U.S. Representative at (202) 225-3121, and urge him or her to cosponsor and support H.R. 4547!

On February 7, Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) introduced legislation to eliminate the requirement in the 1996 Welfare Reform Bill that requires hunters and fishermen to furnish their social security numbers when getting a license.

"Across America, hunting and fishing is an age old heritage that is passed on from one generation to the next. Our outdoor sportsmen should not be required to surrender sensitive information and risk being victims of identity theft to preserve this legacy. This is much needed reform and the NRA would like to thank Senator Santorum for leading this effort in the United States Senate," said NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox.

Senator Santorum's bill is a companion to H.R. 4144, introduced in the House by Representative Phil English, also of Pennsylvania. The House version of the bill has been referred to the Ways and Means Committee.

"This proposed law will help save 16 million hunters and another 34 million fishermen who buy licenses every year from falling victim to identity theft," continued Cox. "On behalf of NRA members across the country, I want to thank Senator Rick Santorum for his support of the hunters and fishermen and his work to preserve our country's strong outdoor traditions."


First, I will be watching the BATFE hearings because this is by no means an isolated incident. Second, while both of the pieces of legislation are warranted, I am certainly more interested in Rep. Stearns' attempt to create CCW reciprocity. It would be interesting to see if the GOP seriously considers Stearns' bill, as it could be a nice rallying cry during a period of particularly volatile mid-term elections.

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