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The Hill's Hidden Crime Agenda

Anti Gun Politicians Attack Entire Bill of Rights

Throw a monkey wrench into the anti gun politician’s calculations. The anti gun politicians even want electronic surveillance. Point out to your Congressmen you want ALL your rights. Keep up the pressure. Defeat the anti gun provisions to the Juvenile Justice Bill. You are advised to call your congressperson at the following toll-free numbers.

US Capitol Switchboard



For e-mail addresses of Congressman & Senators contact

For legislative updates contact and go to "Scripts from the Firearms Coalition Legislative Update Line"


The Hill's Hidden Crime Agenda by Dave Kopel

Dave Kopel is an adjunct professor at New York University Law School and an associate policy analyst at the Cato Institute.

As the House is poised to vote on a major crime bill, the media can be expected once again to focus only on the bill's gun control provisions. Unfortunately, by ignoring the other provisions, a wide variety of dangerous measures may sneak past public scrutiny.

That is just what happened with the recently passed Senate "juvenile crime bill," S. 254. The bill is laden with provisions to expand forfeiture, increase wiretapping without warrant, promote drug testing and immunize police who commit violent crimes from criminal punishment. When senators are presented with a 648-page-long bill, few bother to read it. Thus, many senators who voted for S. 254 may have been unaware that the bill contains a sweeping new forfeiture provision that allows U.S. attorneys to base forfeiture on violations of state law – even misdemeanors.

Currently, there is a special federal forfeiture statute that applies to the transfer of military information to a foreign government and any federal crime in which a person is physically harmed, such as rape or assault. It states that if a convicted criminal makes money from selling their story of the crime, any profits from the sale may be forfeited.

S. 254 significantly expands that statute to include any felony, including state felonies, and any state misdemeanor involving physical harm. Instead of just applying to profits from the sale of a criminal's story, the statute as revised by S. 254 would allow forfeiture of any enhanced value, in any property owned by the criminal, that resulted from the crime. But the measure ignores the constitutional fact that forfeitures for state law violations ought to be determined by state legislatures and carried out by state and local prosecutors, not by the federal government.

Also buried deep within S. 254 is language that for the first time allows the police to intercept the content of electronic communications -- the contents of pager messages -- without a warrant. Those messages can reveal information about a person's travel schedule, private life and current location. The bill's "cloned pager" language is the latest expansion of wiretap authority to be buried in a large, complex bill where the public, which is generally skeptical about wiretapping, is not likely to notice. "Public safety" seems to demand that the public be protected from any opportunity to debate whether the federal government needs more power to peek in on the public without a search warrant.

Another section of S. 254 includes provisions to encourage suspicionless drug testing for students -- even though Littleton murderers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, whose rampage was the pretext for rushing the legislation through Congress, were both "drug free" according to their autopsies.

Although they ignored the wiretap and drug testing provisions of S. 254, the media did glance at the bill's body armor provisions, but the media didn't report the provision's details, which turn a reasonable concept into a very unreasonable law.

S. 254 requires at least a two-sentencing-level increase for any crime in which the defendant uses body armor. Such an increase can add as much as 36 months to a defendant's sentence. There is no requirement that the defendant's "use" be in conjunction with a violent crime or for any type of offensive purpose. The enhancement would apply to a liquor store owner who cheats on his taxes while wearing body armor for protection from robbers.

Reflecting a view of law enforcement that would have horrified the framers of the Constitution, the bill grants a special exemption from the body armor sentencing enhancement. The exemption applies only to law enforcement officers who while "acting under color of the authority" of law enforcement, "violate the civil rights of a person." In other words, police officers who wear body armor while robbing drug dealers, prostitutes and gambling operations are immune from the sentencing enhancement. So are police officers who rape, rob or murder while on the job.

So if the police arrest a gun store owner for improper paperwork and the owner is wearing body armor at the time of his arrest, he may spend an additional three years in prison. But if the arresting officers, who are also wearing body armor, rape the arrestee with a toilet plunger, they are specifically exempt from additional punishment.

If representatives don't even know what is in a bill they're voting for, they are not really representatives. If Congress is serious about "law and order," it ought to take the time to read the laws it is considering before calling a final vote.



Hastert Wants A Deal by Neal Knox

July 3 update -- Happy Independence Day everybody.

Speaker Hastert and Trent Lott said a week or so ago that they would appoint conferees on the Juvenile Justice bills before the July 4 recess. They didn't.

The Speaker now says it will be after the recess, and is pushing for a compromise on the gun show bill, and acceptance of the rest of the gun package the House and Senate have passed.

A Judiciary Committee member told me yesterday that no conferees may ever be appointed.

Sen. Bob Smith, who is an announced candidate for President but isn't on the public radar screen, may have prevented Lott from appointing Senate conferees for he's put a "hold" on the appointment. A "hold" is a Senatorial courtesy that leaders may honor for quite a while, but not forever -- unless they agree with what the "Hold-er" is trying to do.

Speaker Hastert says its critical to Republicans to "pass some common-sense gun legislation" or "our friends on the other side of the aisle are going to shoot it at us a bullet at a time."

Some political building of the gun issue occurred this week when leading anti-gunners were wringing their hands over the failure to reach an agreement before the recess. I don't think anyone, including the agitators, thought there would be any kind of agreement before this week-long recess.

Mr. Hastert told the Washington Post that since pro-gun Democrats and Republicans want 24 hours as the maximum for an "instant check" at gun shows and the anti-gunners want up to 72 hours, "the solution is obvious.... There's a 48-hour difference."

As the speaker knows, the difference is much greater than that, for the Senate-passed bill requires up to three business days, which could mean a week -- long after the show vendors had packed up their gear and gone home.

Other sticking points are the Senate bill's licensing and paperwork required of show operators, including whether a vendor includes an individual with a single gun brought into a show to trade. And still, what constitutes a gun show? Most of Congress and NRA have agreed to background checks at gun shows, so that's not the issue.

I still think there will be an agreement on all the gun provisions except the critical details of the gun show background check.

However, in all the arguing over gun provisions, most have not noticed the extensive broadening of Federal powers in the underlying Juvenile Justice bill.

As prominent scholar Dave Kopel noted in an article posted on the Web a few days ago, "The bill is laden with provisions to expand forfeiture, increase wiretapping without warrant, promote drug testing and immunize police who commit violent crimes from criminal punishment."

Where are the Liberals now that we need them?

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