Originally Published: July 26, 2001 8 p.m.
The proposed so-called McCain-Lieberman gun show bill is supposed to block criminals' access to weapons.
I strongly support concerns about gun violence. No law-abiding gun owner 8would say differently. We all want a common peace.
Most Americans understand the need for liberty in our society and that we must balance liberty with public safety. This gun show bill is not about reducing crime; it is about completely shutting down gun shows, registering all attendants at these events and making personal transactions in firearms between individuals completely illegal.
Alan Korwin's examination of the S. 890, The McCain-Lieberman bill, shows this bill will result in:
• Unprecedented federal control over gun shows nationwide. Perfectly legal gun shows become strictly outlawed without prior federal approval. The government must license and register each show;
• Centralized federal licensing and registration of every gun-show promoter in the nation;
• Centralized federal registration of every vendor – including non-gun vendors – at any gun show in the country.
A gun show vendor who wants to sell his books would have to pre-register and prove who he is, or face arrest. The law would treat a private individual looking to sell a single gun as a vendor who would have to register even if he didn't sell the gun.
• Centralized federal registration of every person who attends a gun show in America, regardless of whether they buy anything. You won't get in without registering.
• Centralized collection of "any other information" on gun show attendees, as only the Secretary of the Treasury may determine.
• Imprisonment for attending a gun show and failing to give any information the Secretary of the Treasury 's regulations require.
• Imprisonment of any gun show promoter who fails to register a single vendor.
• Imprisonment of gun show promoters who cannot prove they notified every person attending a gun show of the new rules, and obtained from attendees any information the Secretary of the Treasury mandates.
• Centralized collection of "any other information" the Secretary of the Treasury decides, by regulation, is necessary.
• Submission by gun show promoters of vendor registration logs a) 30 days before any gun show, and b) submission of updated vendor registration logs 72 hours before any gun show, and c) additional submission of vendor registration logs within five days of the close of any gun show, under penalty of arrest and imprisonment.
• Identification of vendors only by use of federally approved photo ID that may include use of a Social Security number, electronically encoded data, or such "biometric identifiers" such as fingerprint, voice print, retina scan, or iris scan.
• Creation of a new license (in addition to a gun show-promoter license), similar to Federal Firearms Licenses, for individuals who want access to the NICS national background check system to facilitate gun-show sales for private citizens;
• The proposed bill also puts pressure on state governments to open at least 95 percent of their law enforcement records for the past 30 years to the federal government. It makes available unlimited money for the states to comply with these federal goals; requires annual federal review of states' compliance; increases penalties (as long as 10 years in prison) for record-keeping violations; grants states permission to make even more restrictive requirements without being out of compliance with these new federal laws (and by implication, puts states that resist these rules in federal trouble); provides hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars for more law enforcement under numerous programs.
• Enlargement of the federal bureaucracy and appropriation from taxpayers of "such funds as are necessary" to license, register and monitor an estimated 10 million non-criminals who attend the thousands of gun shows annually in America; and
• Finally, the McCain-Lieberman bill will make an honest private citizen a criminal for transferring a gun to another honest private citizen, without first registering the transfer with, and getting permission from, the federal government (represented by the FBI at its data complex in Clarksburg, W.Va.).
You can find Mr. Korwin's complete work on this bill at www.bloomfieldpress.com.
Ladies and gentlemen of Yavapai County, I urge you to consider the larger ramifications of the proposed legislation.
Consider that it is already a crime to convey a firearm to someone who is not eligible to own one. Consider that all vendors at gun shows already must report transactions between themselves and individuals. Finally, consider this new legislation in the perspective of the past 30 years. Will this legislation do anything to reduce crime, or will it erode the rights of the individual and his or her relation to the government?
(Software salesman Bob Shimizu operates his small business from Prescott. He has been an apprentice instructor at Gunsite in Paulden and currently serves the community as president of Sundog Shooters Association, which hosts safe recreational shooting matches at its range in the Granite Dells.)