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For seven long years the U.S. Congress debated and voted on provisions in the Brady Bill before it was finally passed in November 1993. During that long debate, the proponents vowed that all they wanted was to prevent criminals from purchasing handguns, not impact on law-abiding gun purchasers. Yet, the ink was not even dry from President Clinton’s pen when Congressman Chuck Schumer and Handgun Control, Inc. President Sarah Brady proclaimed the National Rifle Association had been right and the passage of the Brady Bill was really
the nose of the camel under the gun control tent. In fact, they smiled and predicted that the passage of this bill was “only the beginning” for more prohibitory gun legislation.
They were right. Ten months later on Sept. 13, 1994, President Clinton signed the Crime Bill that included a ban on the manufacture of certain types of rifles and magazines with a capability of holding more than 10 rounds. Then on Election Day 1994, the Republicans took control of both Houses of Congress.
Now, the Brady Bill waiting period debate is back. The most vocal gun prohibitionists are now criticizing the law they heralded as the foolproof solution to stopping criminals from getting and using guns. HCI has said that the National Instant Check System (NICS) is flawed and supports reinstating a waiting period. President Clinton in his December 5 radio address called for “Congress to make the Brady Law even tougher and more effective.” by reinstitution of the waiting period. It is evident that Clinton and his allies are not really interested in stopping criminals; their primary objective is to make purchasing firearms so onerous that law-abiding Americans just give up.
Their strategy is simple. Do it one step at a time. Agree to a temporary five-day waiting period as they did in 1993. When the temporary period expires in five years and becomes a permanent instant check system, tell the public we need a permanent waiting period. It’s akin to the straw on the back of the camel … at some time that last piece of straw kills the camel.
The cost in terms of taxpayer funds or people’s livelihood doesn’t matter; the objective is to reduce the number of gun owners by shrinking the supply. The cost to the taxpayer of NICS has already been $250 million, and Congress voted another $42 million to fund the operation of the FBI computerized system for the next year.
And what did the American taxpayer get for almost a third of a billion
dollars. On the first day of the system, federally licensed firearms dealers listened to busy signal after busy signal, were stranded on hold interminably, or had an automated message greet them with, “We’re sorry. All circuits are busy now. Please try your call again later.” Finally, in the afternoon the system crashed and then the phones just kept ringing. A federal computer system that had been touted to complete the routine check in less than three minutes was taking 10 minutes or more, when someone was lucky enough to get through.
>From North Carolina to Colorado buyers were exasperated and many
dealers reported losing sales as a result of the new federal system. According to Richard Cote, at a gun shop in Michigan, “All we get is a busy signal, which puts us out of business.”
Yet, the Clinton spin machine keeps putting out statistics to make NICS
appear to be effective. The FBI may not be able to keep its phones and computers humming, but its PR department is busy generating numbers. According to the FBI, 951 gun sales were stopped during the first week. Interestingly only 75 percent of all background checks were cleared “instantly,” which left more than 3,500 law-abiding buyers who were forced to wait before they could buy their gun. In today’s dollars that’s what a quarter of a billion tax dollars buys — a system working at 75 percent efficiency.
However, these figures are not nationwide, because in 16 states the state
authorities perform the check and in 11 others, the FBI only conducts the
check on rifle and shotgun buyers. Gun purchasers in those instant check
states reported no wait and no hassle to get their purchase cleared. Those
purchasers, also, did not have records kept by the FBI of their transactions.
Five years ago President Clinton signed a law that prohibited the federal
government from keeping a list of gun purchasers. That law was the Brady
Law. On Nov. 30 Attorney General Janet Reno and the FBI not only began implementing one part of the law, they began violating the record retention
prohibition of that law. Therefore, on Nov. 30 the NRA filed a lawsuit in federal court to block the FBI from keeping a computerized list of law-abiding purchasers. Wayne LaPierre, NRA’s CEO explained, “Janet Reno
has turned Congress’ intent to keep records of convicted felons into an Orwellian nightmare of keeping tabs on perfectly law-abiding Americans.”
When Janet Reno was asked about the NRA lawsuit, she denied that the 6-month record keeping was a registration system. She explained that the
records were just a list of “current buyers.” Janet Reno appears to have
been taking lessons in semantics from her boss. Her explanation that the
FBI needed the time to run internal audits begs the question of why the FBI
is now breaking the law.
Today in Bill Clinton’s America, everyone except the government and its
agents are held to a strict interpretation of law. After all, if lying to a
grand jury is not perjury, why should keeping lists of current buyers be
considered a registration system? The gun prohibitionists have proven time
and again, they will fabricate any story to promote their agenda. It’s truly frightening when the Justice Department willfully breaks the laws it
should be upholding to promote a political agenda.