NRA-ILA GRASSROOTS ALERT: Vol. 21, No. 22 05/30/2014
On May 29, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) released a staff report, The Department of Justice's "Operation Choke Point": Illegally Choking Off Legitimate Businesses? The report concludes that the true goal of the operation is to "choke out" certain industries, including legal businesses like sellers of firearms and ammunition, which the current administration considers politically objectionable.
The report follows the Department of Justice's (DOJ's) launch last year of Operation Choke Point, a wide-ranging investigation into banks and payment processors (the middlemen between banks and merchants in financial transactions). DOJ claimed the operation was aimed at combating mass-market consumer fraud by shutting down access to the banking and payment systems that are necessary for fraudulent businesses to operate. The justification was an alleged higher "risk profile" for consumer fraud or potentially illegal activities associated with some merchants or activities identified by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).
U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA-5), chair of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, has introduced what he is calling "the Promoting Healthy Minds for Safer Communities Act of 2014." In truth, the bill is largely composed of gun control measures that mirror and supplement acts being pursued in the states by the likes of Michael Bloomberg and his "Everytown" gun control cabal.
After a nod to more general mental health reform in its first two Titles, the bill gets down to gun control in Title III. There, it explicitly authorizes the Centers for Disease Control to study "gun violence," a code phrase for smearing the concept of firearm ownership generally. It also undermines protections placed in Obamacare to prevent physicians from inappropriately collecting information about lawful firearm ownership. Some opponents of these protections claimed they were unnecessary, asserting that the healthcare legislation had nothing to do with firearms. Yet Thompson's bill would authorize doctors to question "a patient about the ownership, possession, use, or storage of a firearm or ammunition in the home of such patient," whatever the patient's need for treatment.
Here at NRA, we are big fans of responsible behavior … legal mandates, not so much. We think the Founders of this country were right to trust its people with the freedom to make their own choices. We also think they were wise to build checks into our constitutional system so that one view could not easily dominate the others and so that officials could be held accountable for their decisions.
As gun owners, whether or not our decisions are dictated by the law, we are still accountable for them. And we owe it to each other to act as checks on bad behavior before the legal system steps in and does it for us. If we exercise poor judgment, our decisions will have consequences. These consequences could be simple and transitory, such as watching a trophy buck bound away into the woods after a missed shot from an improperly sighted rifle. They could also be lasting and consequential, such as turning an undecided voter into an antigun voter because of causing that person fear or offense. In ways small and large, we are all in this together, and we all have a role to play in preserving our cherished freedoms for ourselves and future generations.
This week Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel continued his crusade against the city's lawful gun owners by putting forth legislation severely regulating gun stores within the city. Foiled by the courts in an earlier attempt to ban gun sales outright in the Second City, the mayor's new proposal is an attempt to circumvent the court's ruling and institute a de facto ban on sales.
On January 6, Judge Edmond E. Chang of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois ruled that Chicago's total ban on firearms dealers was unconstitutional. In his opinion, Chang noted that the Second Amendment right "must also include the right to acquire a firearm." Chang went on to add, "Chicago's ordinance goes too far in outright banning legal buyers and legal dealers from engaging in lawful acquisitions and lawful sales of firearms, and at the same time the evidence does not support that the complete ban sufficiently furthers the purposes that the ordinance tries to serve."
We reported earlier this month on the U.S. House Appropriations Committee approving the FY15 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill. The bill then moved on to the floor of the U.S. House where, on Thursday, May 29, it was passed by a vote of 321-87. The bill contains a number of pro-gun general provisions, including:
Sec. 215--Prohibits Gun Walking Operations--and stops the Obama Administration from transferring firearms to any individual that is a known or suspected agent of a drug cartel as part of a law enforcement operation.
Sec. 517--Firearms Export to Canada—Bans the Obama Administration from requiring an export license for small firearms parts, valued at less than $500, for export to Canada. This continues the rational policy that has been in place for decades that recognizes the many common interests in the shooting sports and hunting communities of the U.S. and Canada.
The "Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2013" (H.R. 2959)--introduced in the U.S. House by Reps. Richard Nugent (R-Fla.) and Jim Matheson (D-Utah)--would allow any person who is not prohibited from possessing or receiving a firearm under federal law and who has a valid concealed firearm permit, to carry a concealed handgun in any state that issues its own residents permits to carry concealed firearms. Persons carrying a handgun in another state pursuant to H.R. 2959 would be subject to the laws of that state with respect to where concealed firearms may be carried. Similar legislation to H.R. 2959 passed the House in 2011 by an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 272-154.
With freedom hanging in the balance, this year's elections will almost assuredly be the most important in your voting lifetime! You've no doubt heard that said before, but with the stakes enormously high, the importance of this year's elections simply cannot be overstated.
In the coming days and weeks, the NRA Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF) will continue to announce endorsements and candidate ratings in hundreds of federal and state primary races. You need to be fully informed in order to make a sound decision. For up-to-the-minute information on NRA-PVF candidate grades and endorsements, and to see what you can do to help elect pro-Second Amendment candidates, please visit the NRA-PVF website: www.NRAPVF.org.
NRA Family InSights offers some guidance about how to select the gun safe that's right for your home and family.
Update on the Obama Administration's Proposed Ban on the Domestic Sale of Ivory and Importation of Elephant Trophies
In recent Grassroots Alerts, we addressed the Obama administration's proposal to ban the trade and sale of legally owned ivory within the United States (click here to see the initial alert). The NRA supports efforts to stop poaching and the illegal trade of ivory, but this proposed ban on legally owned ivory sold domestically will have no impact on poaching of elephants and the illegal ivory trade. On the contrary, this ban will only affect honest law-abiding Americans by making their possessions valueless. Please see this New York Times article highlighting the broad spectrum of people who will be harmed by the ban.
It has been estimated that well-placed campaign signs can account for four percentage points on Election Day. Think back to the 2000 presidential election, where 537 votes in Florida separated George W. Bush from Al Gore, and four percentage points seems like a landslide! While you are focused on the November 4 election, some gun owners may not be aware of what's at stake for the future of the Second Amendment on Election Day.
FLORIDA: Alert! A Cut Dog Barks
LOUISIANA: Gearing Up for 2014 Elections
MASSACHUSETTS: House Speaker Introduces Sweeping Gun Control Legislation
MONTANA: Gearing Up for 2014 Elections
NORTH CAROLINA: Gearing Up for 2014 Elections
WASHINGTON: Gearing Up for 2014 Elections
Saturday, May 31, 2014
at May 31, 2014