Jews For The Preservation of Firearms Ownership, Inc.
P.O. Box 270143
Hartford, WI 53027
Phone (800) 869-1884
Fax (425) 451-3959
May 19, 2005
"THE DISINTERESTED DISPOSITION TO PUNISH":
AND THE DESTRUCTION OF FREEDOM
On April 13, Rep. Phil Gingrey of Georgia introduced H.R. 1603, "The Fairness in Firearm Testing Act,"
(http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d109:h.r.01603:) into the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill was immediately referred to the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by Rep. James Sensenbrenner.
Five weeks later, there the bill sits. Not a single other member of Congress has signed on as co-sponsor. No action has been taken.
Self-proclaimed "Second Amendment supporter" Sensenbrenner is keeping H.R. 1603 bottled up in committee.
HOW COULD ANYBODY OPPOSE SIMPLE FAIRNESS?
As you may recall from an earlier JPFO alert (http://www.jpfo.org/alert20050418.htm) this bill requires the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives to video-record all tests it conducts on firearms and to supply unedited copies of the recordings to owners of those firearms and to defendants in any cases involving those firearms.
This bill does one thing only: It demands that the federal government provide truthful, verifiable evidence in legal cases.
The bill is not "pro-gun." It's merely pro-honesty.
Anyone who spent even a few minutes watching the footage in "BATFE Fails the Test" (http://www.jpfo.org/batfevideo.htm) knows that the BATFE is a dishonest, incompetent organization that must be forced to stop "testilying" against innocent gun owners.
But James Sensenbrenner won't watch "BATFE Fails the Test." We know, because we sent him a copy. His only response was an insulting letter praising the BATFE for "combat[ting] violent crime and terrorism" and "protect[ing] Americans' constitutional rights." (http://www.jpfo.org/images/sensenbrenner.jpg).
Mr. Sensenbrenner apparently wants the BATFE to go on abusing gun owners. Why?
Before we answer that question, there's more to tell. At first, the disgusting information below seems unrelated to Sensenbrenner's support of the BATFE. But it's all part of a larger picture.
IS AN INMATE RUNNING THE ASYLUM?
While opposing gun owners' rights, Mr. Sensenbrenner has been very busy promoting his own agenda. And to say his agenda is frightening would be a vast understatement.
You probably already know about his Real ID Act, which became law last week. Among other things, the act puts control of our state drivers licenses (and our personal data) into the hands of the Department of Homeland Security, effectively creating a national ID card and an internal passport. (http://www.jpfo.org/alert20050511.htm) When Real ID is implemented, the federal government will control your ability to travel, buy a firearm, open a bank account, purchase liquor, and more.
Unfortunately, Mr. Sensenbrenner isn't stopping there.
He now wants to turn you into a federal criminal for doing ... NOTHING AT ALL.
He has introduced H.R. 1528, "Defending America's Most Vulnerable: Safe Access to Drug Treatment and Child Protection Act of 2005." (http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d109:h.r.01528:)
H.R. 1528 contains two sections that ought to chill the blood of freedom-loving Americans -- gun owners, in particular.
SNITCH OR GO PRISON -- AND LOSE YOUR GUN RIGHTS?
The first creepy section would turn us all into snitches -- or else. Here's the text:
"SEC. 425. (a) It shall be unlawful for any person who witnesses or learns of a violation of sections 416(b)(2), 417, 418, 419, 420, 424, or 426 to fail to report the offense to law enforcement officials within 24 hours of witnessing or learning of the violation and thereafter provide full assistance in the investigation, apprehension, and prosecution of the person violating paragraph (a).
"(b) Any person who violates subsection (a) of this section shall be sentenced to not less than two years or more than 10 years. If the person who witnesses or learns of the violation is the parent or guardian, or otherwise responsible for the care or supervision of the person under the age of 18 or the incompetent person, such person shall be sentenced to not less than three years or more than 20 years."
The violations cited in the first paragraph all concern "drug trafficking." But they could include such minor matters as a neighbor couple buying a baggie of cannabis for a Saturday evening's recreation. Or your son giving a joint to a young friend.
Yes, turn in your friends and relatives. Testify against them in court. Even (possibly) be forced to wear a wire while having conversations with them -- or go to federal prison for up to 20 years.
But what if the violators in question really are violent drug traffickers? Well, then the law gives you no time to think about your actions, or to prepare to protect your family. The law requires you to report anything you know before a full day is out -- even if your report might result in you being beaten or killed by gangsters.
And think about this: Will the government decide you're a felon because you don't turn in your neighbor, your daughter, your son, your wife, or your husband?
Once Mr. Sensenbrenner and his friends brand you a felon, what happens to your right to own firearms?
THAT'S NOT THE ONLY BAD NEWS FOR GUN OWNERS
The second ver worrisome provision is "SEC. 8. ASSURING PROGRESSIVE ENHANCEMENTS FOR PERSONS POSSESSING OR USING FIREARMS."
This section reads, in part:
"... the Sentencing Commission shall amend the sentencing guidelines, policy statements, and official commentary issued under section 994 of title 28, United States Code, so as to ensure--
"(1) that the specific offender characteristics under section 2D1.1(b) provide for increases to the base offense level of--
"(A) 8 levels if a firearm was possessed in or near the presence of a person under the age of 18 ...
"(B) 6 levels if the defendant discharged a firearm or 8 or more firearms were possessed ...
"(C) 4 levels if the defendant brandished or otherwise used a dangerous weapon (including a firearm) or possessed a firearm described in section 921(a), (6), (8), or (30) of title 18 United States Code ...
"(D) 3 levels if 2 or more firearms were possessed ..."
Please keep in mind that when federal law talks about "possessing" or "using" a firearm, this is meant in the broadest possible sense.
Having an unloaded gun locked in a trunk in another room is "possessing" a firearm. Carrying a firearm in the glove compartment of your car while committing a non-violent crime in a nearby building is "using" a firearm -- as many real-world court cases have demonstrated.
JPFO is not a lobbying organization. We are strictly an educational group. We take no official stand on any piece of legislation and we do not urge members or supporters to take any particular actions on pending legislation.
But we do recognize tyrannical madness when we spot it. And we're seeing it in James Sensenbrenner's compulsive desire to control everyone in the country, and his desire to punish everyone he can't control.
We cannot stress enough that *THESE ARE THE ATTITUDES THAT DOMINATE POLICE STATES*.
In _The State vs. the People_ (http://www.jpfo.org/tsvtp.htm) we wrote about an attitude that prevailed in Nazi Germany during Hitler's rise to power -- an attitude prevalent in Congress today. A Danish sociologist of Hitler's day called this attitude "the disinterested disposition to punish."
It's what we might call "being tough on crime."
But it's not merely being stern with violent criminals who aggressively harm others through rape, murder, assault, or armed robbery. It's the desire to inflict ever-harsher punishments on strangers for a vast variety of offenses that may not harm anyone, or that harm only the parties committing the crime (thus the word "disinterested," implying that we embrace the idea of inflicting punishment on people whose actions haven't affected us).
Mr. Sensenbrenner is showing us a classic case of that police-state propensity.
If your brother buys a baggie of cannabis while his old Boy Scout .22 rifle rests in a nearby closet, and if you don't immediately turn him in to the cops and fully cooperate in his prosecution -- you're both headed for harsh prison sentences. That is, you are if Mr. Sensenbrenner, "friend of the gun owner," has his way.
And if your brother has a child ... or if he owns multiple guns ... well, then thanks to the firearm "enhancements" in Section 8, you can kiss him goodbye for a long, long time.
This bill does everything it can to break up families and turn friends against each other. Again, that's what police states do; they ensure that everyone's first loyalty is to the tyrant, not their own family and friends.
Fortunately, H.R. 1528 has so far not gone much farther than H.R. 1603. It has no co-sponsors. However, it is starting its move through the committee and sub-committee process.
Unfortunately, regardless of the eventual fate of H.R. 1528, this bill and the Real ID Act represent the current state of American law and justice.
That is, they represent the utter destruction of American law and justice.
So how does this all tie in with Mr. Sensenbrenner's inaction on fair firearms testing? Why does Sensenbrenner praise the BATFE while stalling a commonsense bill that might halt serious BATFE abuses?
Of course, we can't get inside the congressman's mind (and frankly, wouldn't want to), but the BATFE is the perfect ally for someone who wants to build a police state.
Given the choice between erring on the side of decency and fairness and erring on the side of the "disinterested disposition to punish," the BATFE comes down on the side of crushing, barbaric, arbitrary punishment every time. And the BATFE would help enforce Mr. Sensenbrenner's new laws.
Sensenbrenner knows he can get away with antagonizing and abusing gun owners -- most of whom will never even learn about his horrible laws until it's too late. But he's not about to antagonize one of his best allies in the effort to build a police state on the ground where the free land of America once stood.
He _needs_ the BATFE to do his tyrannical will. And he needs the agency to be as nasty as possible. It's that simple. And that scary.
BUT WHAT CAN WE DO?
When possible, The Liberty Crew likes to suggest courses of action. It's no good merely to wring our hands and cry as our "representatives" steal freedom from under our noses.
Tyrannical law-making has become so rampant, however, that fighting government injustice on government's own terms is like battling the mythical hydra: You lop off one evil law, and two more grow in its place. Conventional solutions won't work.
As we've said before, we need to restore a Bill of Rights culture in this country. So the first thing to do is keep up the slow, patient labor of educating your neighbors and friends. (http://www.jpfo.org/bohica.htm)
One thing we must do is show people that laws and law-making have become the problem, not the solution.
To help everyone understand that crucial point, we have a new tool. Go here: http://www.rebelfirerock.com/home.html. Listen to the song "Justice Day." Download it. Print out the lyrics (http://www.rebelfirerock.com/lyrics.html). Share them. Encourage others to listen -- and get the message.
There's a novel that goes along with those lyrics: _RebelFire: Out of the Gray Zone_. Of course we'd be glad if you bought a copy for yourself or for your teenage relatives or friends. But even if you don't want to do that, use the medium -- th music -- to convey the message: The real criminals are the ones who crush us under their terrible laws.
The Liberty Crew
JPFO mirror site located at www.jpfo.net. Updated simultaneously with our main site.
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