Congress Set to Overturn Obama Gun Control Rule

Congress is poised to unravel one of the Obama administration’s midnight regulations that could prevent certain Social Security disability beneficiaries from buying guns.

The Social Security Administration finalized a rule just before Christmas 2016 in which it would send information of recipients of disability insurance and Supplemental Security Income to the Justice Department’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS.

This is triggered if the agency determines someone else is managing a recipient’s finances because the recipient isn’t mentally fit to manage their own affairs.

Rep. Ralph Abraham, R-La., helped advocate possible elimination of the gun control rule under the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to overturn regulations imposed in the last six months of an outgoing administration.

“This issue really can be boiled down to one point: No American should be denied their constitutional rights because someone else handles their finances,” Abraham told The Daily Signal in a statement.

“Allowing bureaucrats at the Social Security Administration to determine whether or not beneficiaries are fit to exercise their Second Amendment rights is a clear violation of due process, and I’m pleased the Congressional Review Act will give us the opportunity to right this wrong with passage of this joint resolution,” Abraham added.

Under the rule finalized on Dec. 19, the Social Security Administration would first have to determine if someone else is handling a beneficiary’s affairs. The rule states:

At the commencement of the adjudication process we will also notify individuals, both orally and in writing, of their possible federal prohibition on possessing or receiving firearms, the consequences of such prohibition, the criminal penalties for violating the Gun Control Act, and the availability of relief from the prohibition on the receipt or possession of firearms imposed by federal law.

Former President Barack Obama’s White House announced a package of executive actions in January 2016 that said:

The Social Security Administration has indicated that it will begin the rulemaking process to include information in the background check system about beneficiaries who are prohibited from possessing a firearm for mental health reasons.

The National Rifle Association credited Abraham, Rep. Sam Johnson, R-Texas, and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., for pushing the rule into the Congressional Review Act.

“Protecting Americans’ fundamental rights is a top priority for Whip Scalise, and that includes undoing this Obama-era power grab against our Second Amendment rights,” Scalise spokesman Chris Bond told The Daily Signal in an email. “After eight years of an Obama administration that showed disrespect for our constitution, this unified Republican government is going to take power away from unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats and work hard to restore Americans’ liberties.”

The regulation has the backing of gun control groups.

Elizabeth Avore, legal director for Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun control group created by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, argued in July, as part of the public comment period, the rule was needed to keep guns away from the mentally ill. Her comment said:

As is required for a finding to be prohibiting, [Social Security Administration] officials have determined in these cases that the person “lacks the mental capacity to contract or manage his own affairs,” and, under the proposed language, these incapacity findings will only be prohibiting if they are made due to mental illness. … The rule does not reach any beneficiaries who are assigned a representative payee due to physical incapability or for reasons other than legal or mental incompetence.

A spokeswoman for Everytown for Gun Safety had nothing to add to the matter when reached by The Daily Signal.

Johnson said he has been dedicated to defending the Constitution from his time in the military through Congress.

“Former President Obama’s last-ditch effort on gun control that would harm Social Security beneficiaries with disabilities is wrong,” Johnson told The Daily Signal in a statement. “I opposed it from the get-go, fought to stop it, and am encouraged by the support of the National Rifle Association, the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Rights Task Force, and the National Council on Disability on this issue. I look forward to overturning the rule soon.”

Denial of a constitutional right is not something that should ever be decided administratively, said Hans von Spakovsky, a senior fellow at The Heritage Foundation.

“No administrative process and no administrative law judge should be able to take away a constitutional right,” von Spakovsky said. “This should exclusively be a regular court of law to determine if someone is disabled enough to pose a hazard with a gun, not a federal bureaucrat.”

The National Rifle Association celebrated the congressional review as a victory.

“Congress’s decision to review the Obama administration’s backdoor gun grab is a significant step forward in protecting a fundamental constitutional right for law-abiding gun owners,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action, in a public statement. “The NRA has been fighting this unconstitutional government overreach since it was first discussed and we look forward to swift congressional action.” (For more from the author of “Congress Set to Overturn Obama Gun Control Rule” please click HERE)

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Gun Control Measure Divides California’s Politicians, Law Enforcement

A gun control measure on California’s ballot Nov. 8 is pitting sheriffs, police chiefs, and prosecutors against most of the state’s political establishment.

A state that already has some of the strictest limits on gun ownership in the nation is asking voters to impose regulations on ammunition sales and make it a crime not to report a stolen gun.

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, introduced the “Safety for All” measure, officially known as Proposition 63. Newsom said the law will “help save countless lives.”

“Since we announced Prop. 63, over 10 mass shootings have occurred, along with so many other deaths that never made the headlines,” Newsom wrote in an op-ed published in the Orange County Register, adding:

Ammunition is the most lethal part of a gun, yet there is no regulation surrounding its sale. Currently, under state law, you can sell ammunition anywhere: a hospital, day care center, restaurant, school, or church. Prop. 63 will change that by treating ammo the way we treat guns. It will require ammo purchasers to pass a background check and require sellers to obtain a business license and submit sales records to law enforcement.

Supporters of the gun measure include the state’s two U.S. senators, Democrats Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer. They also include California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, numerous mayors, and the state’s two largest newspapers, the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle, and the fourth-largest newspaper, The Sacramento Bee.

Among those lined up against them in opposition to the measure are the California Police Chiefs Association, California State Sheriffs’ Association, Association of Deputy District Attorneys for Los Angeles County, California Correctional Peace Officers Association, California Fish & Game Wardens Association, California Reserve Peace Officers Association, Western State Sheriffs’ Association, Law Enforcement Action Network, San Francisco Veteran Police Officers Association, and Law Enforcement Alliance of America.

“We see this as a continued erosion of what we believe are Second Amendment rights,” Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood, president of the California State Sheriffs’ Association, told The Daily Signal in a phone interview. “California has the strictest gun laws now and they have no impact on crime because senators aren’t going to follow the law.”

Youngblood said his own personal experience showed why these laws would be bad policy.

“I’ve been the victim of a gun theft, and I didn’t realize it for several days,” Youngblood said. “I would have been in violation.”

The measure would require a license to sell a box of ammunition and a background check to purchase one. It also would create a new database.

The proposal would allow authorities to confiscate magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, something Californians already are prohibited from buying, according to the Los Angeles Assistant District Attorneys Association, one of the law enforcement groups opposing the measure.

Six-time Olympic shooting medalist Kimberly Rhode is among the highest-profile opponents.

“Only bureaucrats would believe that criminals and terrorists would jump through these hoops to buy ammunition,” Rhode said in a written statement sent to members of the National Rifle Association, adding:

The enormous expense and time to enforce this proposition will fall on the taxpayers. Fact is, this proposal is nothing more than an anti-gun power grab: Newsom hasn’t gotten us to give up our guns, so he’s trying to take away our ammunition instead.

The measure seems likely to pass, as a California Counts poll of 959 voters in August found that 93 percent of Democrats and 60 percent of Republicans support the measure.

While California Gov. Jerry Brown hasn’t weighed in on the matter, in 2013 the Democrat vetoed a bill that would have mandated the reporting of stolen guns. Brown said at the time:

I am not convinced that criminalizing the failure to report a lost or stolen firearm would improve identification of gun traffickers or help law enforcement disarm people prohibited from possessing guns. I continue to believe that responsible people report the loss or theft of a firearm and irresponsible people do not.

It’s wrong to make a criminal out of someone who may not even realize his or her gun is stolen or missing, said John Malcolm, director of The Heritage Foundation’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies.

“This law could make criminals out of people who are morally blameless,” Malcolm told The Daily Signal. “These are special taxes and background checks on ammunition, just to make it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms. It’s an assault on the Second Amendment.”

Some opponents of the measure agree with a provision to make the stealing of a firearm from a misdemeanor to a felony.

However, the Association of Deputy District Attorneys for Los Angeles County pointed out that Newsom previously supported Proposition 47, which made it a misdemeanor to steal a gun valued at less than $950.

The measure would do nothing to deter crime, Michele Hanisee, the group’s president, said.

“For one thing, this initiative would do nothing to stop criminals from acquiring ammunition, guns, or large-capacity magazines. But it would make it prohibitively difficult for responsible gun owners to obtain ammunition for sport and home defense,” Hanisee said, adding:

As prosecutors, we would enthusiastically support any proposed law that promised to be a realistic tool against gun violence. But Prop. 63 is simply bad public policy. Its passage would have zero effect on criminals—other than to encourage them to commit more crimes. At the same time, it would criminalize the conduct of ordinary citizens.

(For more from the author of “Gun Control Measure Divides California’s Politicians, Law Enforcement” please click HERE)

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America Needs Gun Control – but Only for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton

“Do what I say, not as I do,” should be the motto of Democrats everywhere when it comes to gun control. President Obama and Democrats have been trying for years to strip the right to self-defense granted by the Second Amendment. But perhaps it’s Obama that needs to experience some gun control of his own.

A shocking story published by last weekend by New York Times Magazine, “How Many Guns Did the U.S. Lose Track of in Iraq and Afghanistan? Hundreds of Thousands,” highlights the negligent nature this president, and Democrats in general, have when it comes to showering the world with firearms — which all too often end up in the hands of enemy terrorists.

In other words, President Obama has simultaneously promoted a policy of “firearms for all” worldwide, while trying to impede the right to firearms here in America. The federal government does background checks on nearly every American that wishes to buy a firearm — and in general, the federal government has a decent idea of who owns guns and where they might be located. If it were up to Obama, however, that data/knowledge would be a certainty.

Abroad, the government’s policy is far different. President Obama (with the support of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton) blindly sent firearms throughout the world. The NYT writes,

“Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the United States has handed out a vast but persistently uncountable quantity of military firearms to its many battlefield partners in Afghanistan and Iraq. Today the Pentagon has only a partial idea of how many weapons it issued, much less where these weapons are. Meanwhile, the effectively bottomless abundance of black-market weapons from American sources is one reason Iraq will not recover from its post-invasion woes anytime soon.”

The hypocrisy by Obama, Clinton and Democrats is truly insane.

As the NYT explains, the research to determine the expansive nature of these arms transfers was conducted by Ian Overton, a BBC journalist and executive director of Action on Armed Violence, a charity in London. Overton spent years submitting multiple Freedom of Information Act requests to the Pentagon.

The information Overton received suggests that, at minimum, nearly 1.45 million firearms are roaming Afghanistan and Iraq, presumably with various security forces. Of that number, there are 978,000 assault rifles, 266,000 pistols and almost 112,000 machine guns. Still, Overton found the information provided by the Pentagon to be incomplete in some cases; in others, the information was classified or just simply missing. “It could be twice as much, as far as we know,” Overton states.

Remember: While certain assault rifles and pistols are legal in (some) states, machine guns are not. Therefore, we would argue, liberals should take a moment to ponder the data above. Imagine if Obama allowed 112,000 machine guns to (with the government’s assistance) litter the U.S. More so, ask yourself what you would say if a foreign government — an occupier of our country, no less — handed out machine guns certain to end up in the hands of thugs and/or enemies of the state?

Yet, that’s exactly what Obama and Clinton have allowed to materialize in the countries of Afghanistan and Iraq — and certainly elsewhere in the Middle East.

Really, this story is nothing new. In fact, according to the NYT, the Government Accountability Office brought this topic to light well before Obama was even president. The report suggested that at least 110,000 AK-47’s and 80,000 pistols were missing in Iraq. Effectively, there were more missing weapons than there were American servicemen and women in Iraq at any given time.

The public should be outraged. In fact, provided that nearly 4,500 American soldiers have died, and more than 30,000 have been injured in Iraq and Afghanistan, the true debate over gun control must begin with the president — not the American people.

Maybe Hillary Clinton’s gun control policy has some merit. The Democratic presidential nominee has campaigned on the need for laws to make gun manufacturers and sellers responsible for the chain of custody on firearms. Perhaps that idea should, and must, be applied equally to the commander in chief, too?

It seems that, based on Clinton’s rhetoric and blame, if gun manufacturers should be culpable, then so too should our nation’s leaders that have allowed hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of guns to possibly fall into the hands of those who engage in genocide, encourage global instability, and threaten the freedom of millions of innocent people around the world.

One can only ponder how many guns have fallen into the hands of brutal terrorists, or are being used to carry out atrocities by groups like ISIS. When a few deranged terrorists commit terrible acts of violence at home, the president seems all too interested to challenge our constitutional rights. Yet, when Pres. Obama allows for American firearms to commit grand atrocities overseas, it’s merely a statistic that encourages new wars.

It’s time for America to discuss gun control. But instead of focusing on law-abiding Americans, it’s time to focus on gun control for our reckless leaders. (For more from the author of “America Needs Gun Control – but Only for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton” please click HERE)

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Obama Claimed It’s Easier in Some Neighborhoods to Get a Gun Than a Book. Here Are the Facts.

President Barack Obama said it is easier in some neighborhoods to get a gun than a book. Is that true? The fact checkers weighed in and we have their verdict: it’s false. Here’s why: To buy a gun in most states, you need to be 18 and pass a background check. To get a book, all you need is a library card. And when it comes to price, there is no evidence that books are more expensive than guns. So why does Obama keep making this false claim?

(For more from the author of “Obama Claimed It’s Easier in Some Neighborhoods to Get a Gun Than a Book. Here Are the Facts.” please click HERE)

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University of Texas Professors Sue Over Concealed Guns Allowed in Their Classrooms

Three professors are fighting a Texas law that allows students to carry concealed handguns in their college classrooms.

Senate Bill 11, allowing concealed handgun license holders 21 and older (or 18 if active military) to carry in campus buildings, was signed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, in June 2015. The law went into effect Aug. 1 this year.

Lawyers for Jennifer Lynn Glass, Lisa Moore, and Mia Carter, all professors at the University of Texas at Austin, made their case to a federal judge last week.

The professors requested a preliminary injunction to block the new campus carry law and had filed suit on July 6 against the attorney general of Texas, Ken Paxton; the president of the University of Texas at Austin, Gregory Fenves; and members of the University of Texas Board of Regents.

U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel made no ruling during the court hearing after lawyers for the professors and for the university struggled to agree on the university’s rules and policies on concealed weapons, the Austin American-Statesman reported. Instead, Yeakel requested more information to clarify university concealed weapon policies.

“Compelling professors at a public university to allow, without any limitation or restriction, students to carry concealed guns in their classrooms chills their First Amendment rights to academic freedom,” the lawsuit says.

Paxton, the Republican Texas attorney general, called the professors’ lawsuit “frivolous.”

“There is no legal justification to deny licensed, law-abiding citizens on campus the same measure of personal protection they are entitled to elsewhere in Texas,” Paxton said in statement.

Paxton filed a response with the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas Austin Division on Aug. 1 in opposition to the University of Texas professors’ request for preliminary injunction.

The professors “have no right under the First Amendment to violate the Second Amendment rights of students,” Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal. “And it is insulting to law-abiding gun owners—categorizing them as crazies who will kill someone over a debate in a classroom.”

A 1995 Texas law allows concealed handguns to be carried in public, including on the grounds of public college campuses, but previously excluded campus buildings, the Statesman reported.

Under the new law, public institutions of higher education cannot “generally” prohibit license holders from carrying concealed weapons, but are allowed to establish “rules, regulations, or other provisions” restricting guns from places like labs with dangerous chemicals and regarding the storage of handguns in residential dorm facilities.

Private colleges can opt out of the law. So far, almost all private institutions of higher education have decided to opt out, The Dallas Morning News reports.

Moore, one of the plaintiffs, who teaches English and gender studies, told NPR that “it’s impossible to do our jobs with this policy in place.” She continued:

We all teach subject matter that is quite sensitive, and we all use very participatory, you know, pedagogically sound methods of trying to teach students how to state their views on controversial subjects, challenge one another and stand up for what they believe in.

“I am genuinely not equipped to keep students safe from a firearm in my classroom,” Moore added.

Allison Peregory, a 21-year-old University of Texas pre-law student, plans to get a state-issued concealed weapon license and carry on her campus, The Dallas Morning News reported.

“It’s important for people to have their right to self-defense be protected,” Peregory said, according to the Morning News.

Aug. 1 marked the 50th anniversary of a mass shooting that took place at the University of Texas at Austin.

“It is quite ironic; they [the professors] are apparently unaware that private citizens, including students, helped police in 1966 stop Charles Whitman, the University of Texas Tower sniper, when they grabbed their guns and started firing at the sniper in the tower,” Heritage’s von Spakovsky said. “One of those Texans, Allen Crum, even climbed to the top of the tower with a rifle to assist the policeman who eventually killed Whitman.”

Brian Bensimon, Students for Concealed Carry’s director for the state of Texas, told The Daily Signal that the professors’ lawsuit is “perplexing.”

“Concealed carry is allowed in our state capitol,” Bensimon said. “There’s plenty of open debate and lively discourse there.”

Students for Concealed Carry is trying to block a University of Texas rule that allows professors to ban concealed weapons from their individual office space. The group filed a complaint with Paxton on Aug. 4.

“Gun control advocates think that gun bans will make people safer,” John R. Lott, a columnist for and author of “The War on Guns,” wrote in an op-ed. “But banning guns only ensures that law-abiding good citizens are disarmed, not the killers. Instead of bans improving safety, these bans attract killers and make it easier for them to commit crimes.”

Eight states—Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin—have provisions allowing concealed weapons to be carried by students on public higher education campuses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Eighteen states ban carrying concealed weapons on college campuses. (For more from the author of “University of Texas Professors Sue Over Concealed Guns Allowed in Their Classrooms” please click HERE)

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Democrats Lie Through Their Teeth About Gun Crime at the DNC

As Democrat after Democrat took the convention stage Wednesday night to deliver a sermon on gun violence, they kept repeating an age old lie about gun crime that was debunked recently by these pesky little things called … facts.

A new report published by the University of Pittsburgh “confirms what gun rights advocates have said for a long time,” the Washington Post reports. Namely, that lawful gun owners are not responsible for the large, large majority of gun crimes and therefore new gun control measures would only serve to burden those lawful gun owners.

According to Christopher Ingraham of The Washington Post:

[Researchers] found that in approximately 8 out of 10 cases, the perpetrator was not a lawful gun owner but rather in illegal possession of a weapon that belonged to someone else.

More than 30 percent of the guns that ended up at crime scenes had been stolen, according to Fabio’s research. But more than 40 percent of those stolen guns weren’t reported by the owners as stolen until after police contacted them when the gun was used in a crime.

More so, based on past research, the vast majority of gun dealers do not have any guns used for criminal activity. In fact, says Ingraham, only “1 percent of dealers accounted for nearly 6 in 10 crime gun traces” in a 2000 study.

Here’s the bottom line: Gun owners and gun dealers are NOT the problem. New gun control legislation taking guns out of the hands of good guys will only serve to make America less safe. (For more from the author of “Democrats Lie Through Their Teeth About Gun Crime at the DNC” please click HERE)

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Gun Seller: Secretive Justice Department Program Forcing Banks to Gather Illegal Information About Firearms Sales

A firearms dealer in North Carolina said his bank asked him to reveal “ridiculous and somewhat illegal” information about his business and its customers after the June 12 terrorist attack in Orlando, Florida, and he believes a secretive Justice Department program is to blame.

Luke Lichterman, owner of Hunting and Defense in Tryon, North Carolina, said his bank told him he couldn’t use its services without completing an “addendum” supplying details about his business.

“It all comes back to the Obama administration and Operation Choke Point, the ‘undesirable businesses’ thing,” Lichterman told The Daily Signal. “Something like that from the government has ripples that keep radiating. It’s not something that you can turn on and turn off.”

Lichterman believes that the timing of the request from his bank was no accident, given that gun control once again became a hot issue after the attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando.

The Justice Department launched Operation Choke Point in 2013 to fight fraud. The agency made it more difficult for “high risk” industries to gain access to the banking system, as a way to drive fraudulent industries out of business.

However, critics argue the Obama administration also used Operation Choke Point to intentionally make business more difficult for firearms sellers by categorizing them alongside illegal and fraudulent industries.

In February, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to end Operation Choke Point. In April, Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Mike Lee, R-Utah, introduced a similar measure in the Senate, where it has since stalled.

In the meantime, small business owners from across the country such as the 75-year-old Lichterman continue to complain about the lasting effects of Operation Choke Point.

The Bank’s Original Problem

As The Daily Signal previously reported, Lichterman and his wife had maintained personal accounts at HomeTrust Bank in Asheville, North Carolina, since 2012. But this spring, when Lichterman approached the bank for access to an automated clearinghouse payment service for Hunting and Defense, which operates under the legal name Muttburger Marketing LLC, the bank refused his request.

An automated clearinghouse payment service makes it easier—and cheaper—for business owners to transfer and send money online, allowing them to complete transactions electronically. Without it, Lichterman would be forced to front processing fees at 4.5 percent of every transaction that would eat away at his already slim profits.

In early June, after Lichterman fought back and went public with his story—accusing the bank of participating in Operation Choke Point tactics by discriminating against him because he sells guns—HomeTrust Bank reversed its policy and offered Lichterman an account.

But on June 14, two days after an Islamist-inspired terrorist shot and killed 49 people and wounded 53 others in an attack at an Orlando nightclub, the bank again reversed its policy and told Lichterman he couldn’t use their services without completing an “addendum” demanding more information about his business.

The Daily Signal sought comment about this request from HomeTrust Bank via phone and email, but it did not respond.

The New Demands

Among other demands, the addendum, which Lichterman provided to The Daily Signal, asks Lichterman to “submit a complete list of all firearms and ammunitions vendors and customers” that he conducts business with. In part, it reads:

After the first/initial submission subsequent lists are to include all relevant parties since the date of last report. Each list is to specify personal and business names and associated FFL [federal firearms license] numbers and should indicate whether the individual/entity is new or repeat. The list must identify all firearms and ammunitions transaction entities regardless of whether HomeTrust Treasury Management ACH [automated clearinghouse] origination services are used for the transaction.

The list is due no later than the fifth day of the first month in each quarter.

The new agreement also requires:

A “complete list of all firearms and ammunitions vendors and customers” that Lichterman did business with.

A “detailed written document explaining how the business is operated, including procedures in place to screen customers” to ensure compliance with federal regulations, rules, and laws.

A current copy of the applicable federal firearms license(s).

The end of the agreement enables HomeTrust Bank to request more information:

“[HomeTrust Bank] may request additional information (such as, but not limited to, personal or business financial statements, tax returns, etc.) for the purpose of evaluating your request to obtain or maintain [accounts].”

The Daily Signal publishes the agreement in full at the end of this report.

Christopher Zealand, senior research lawyer for the National Rifle Association’s lobbying arm, described the agreement as highly unusual.

“It’s one thing for a bank to require evidence that a business is operating legally (for example, by requesting copies of relevant licenses, etc.),” Zealand said in an email to The Daily Signal. “It’s quite another for the bank to insist that a federally licensed firearms dealer divulge identifying information about every customer who purchases, or has purchased, a firearm or ammunition.”

The implications, he said, are even more concerning:

Not only is [the information request] logistically problematic, it is an egregious violation of privacy. And to the degree federal banking regulators would have access to these lists, it could also create a workaround to existing laws meant to prevent federal registries of firearm owners.

The Reason

It is unclear whether the demands originate from HomeTrust Bank employees, or the bank’s federal regulators.

HomeTrust Bank is regulated by the Federal Reserve, which would not comment on Lichterman’s specific case or answer broader questions about the requirements and guidelines the agency sets for gun sellers to ensure safe transactions.

Dillon McConnell, a public affairs specialist at the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which regulates the firearms industry, wrote in an email to The Daily Signal that the bank’s addendum for Lichterman appears to originate from a “private institution.”

McConnell added that while the the Federal Privacy Act prohibits his agency from releasing information about federally licensed firearms dealers, gun sellers are not prohibited from disclosing such information. Aside from applicable state and local laws, private institutions are free to request the information.

If the demands originate with HomeTrust Bank, however, it isn’t clear why the bank requires such information from a customer.

Lichterman said he believes the answer is Operation Choke Point, and the program’s continued effects:

[Under] Operation Choke Point, Obama didn’t write a memo and send it to the bank and say ‘Hey, shut this guy off because he might sell a gun that someday might be used by somebody,’ completely ignoring the fact that it might be used to defend against one of these guys. The thing is, they keep going after the wrong target. In airports, they’re looking for the bomb, they’re not looking for the bombers. They go after the gun, they don’t go after the gunman. If they want to get guns off the street, first get the criminals off the street. They can attack the guys by attacking the people who do business in guns.

Zealand, the lawyer with the NRA, said he agrees.

“The fallout of Operation Choke Point continues,” he said. (For more from the author of “Gun Seller Says His Bank Demands ‘Ridiculous’ Information. He Blames Operation Choke Point.” please click HERE)

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As Congress Returns, Democrats and Republicans Clash Over Gun Control

House Republican leaders are planning to hold a vote this week on legislation intended to bar some suspected terrorism suspects from buying guns.

The bill, whose language is backed by the National Rifle Association, is part of an “anti-terrorism” legislative package the House is considering in response to the terrorist attack June 12 at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

While Republicans have been reluctant to pursue any legislation that can be construed as gun control, backers of this proposal insist it achieves the delicate balance of preventing those suspected of having terrorist ties from buying weapons—while preserving their right to due process.

“I have not met a single member of Congress who is in favor of terrorists being able to buy guns or explosives,” said Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., one of the sponsors of the gun measure.

“Unfortunately, Democrats have tried to make it out to be an issue where just one political party is in favor of terrorists not being able to purchase guns or explosives, and that’s absurd,” Zeldin told The Daily Signal in a phone interview on Friday.

“This isn’t a debate over whether terrorists should be able to purchase guns or explosives,” he added. “This a debate over whether there should be due process for Americans.”

After the Orlando massacre, House Democrats staged a sit-in of more than 24 hours demanding action on gun control.

Still, based on early reaction, it appears Democrats won’t support the Republican-backed proposal because of concerns that the “probable cause” standard required by the bill is too difficult to achieve.

Senate Democrats have already blocked the same legislation.

“Republicans are again putting the NRA ahead of their responsibility to keep the American people safe,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said of the Republican proposal in a statement.

One gun-rights group, Gun Owners of America, described the GOP’s move as a “cave-in.”

The Republican measure, which is based on the language of Zeldin’s Protect America Act, would permit the Department of Justice to deny a gun purchase to someone who is being investigated as a known or suspected terrorist, or has been investigated in the last five years.

Law enforcement, however, would have to obtain a court order to prevent a terrorist suspect from buying a gun, and the government would have three business days to prove it has enough evidence of terrorist activity to block the sale.

If the government does successfully prove the suspect “will commit an act of terrorism,” the sale is blocked. If it doesn’t, the government has to pay the legal costs of the suspect, and the sale can go through.

The suspect is also granted an automatic right to a hearing, and to an attorney.

Democrats believe the three-day window is too short to prove probable cause, arguing the legislation will have little functional impact.

Zeldin counters that the government should have to face a high standard of proof considering the government’s terrorist watch lists are controversial. Individuals do not have to be charged with a crime to be placed on the lists, and many don’t know they are on them.

“The Department of Justice already knows who these individuals are and already has evidence collected, so the burden should be on the government to demonstrate probable cause that an individual is a terrorist instead of making an American demonstrate that they’re not a terrorist,” Zeldin said. “That’s the way it has always been in our country and the way it should be.”

Democrats prefer a bill first introduced in the Senate that would bar guns from being sold to suspected terrorists who are on the FBI’s “no-fly” and “selectee” lists.

The House has its own companion version of that bipartisan bill. Under those bills, someone on the no-fly and selectee lists who is blocked from buying a gun can appeal that decision. A court has 14 days to decide on the appeal.

The NRA opposes those bills.

Democrats are framing Republican leadership’s decision to bypass a vote on that bill in favor of Zeldin’s legislation as the GOP bowing to the NRA. Zeldin tried to downplay the NRA’s support of his proposal.

“This isn’t the NRA bill,” Zeldin said. “Members of Congress wrote this bill, not the NRA. I don’t think members should make their determination as to whether or not to vote for or against the bill based on any outside groups support or opposition. It should simply be based on the merit of the proposal and the reality it keeps us safe.” (For more from the author of “As Congress Returns, Democrats and Republicans Clash Over Gun Control” please click HERE)

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IT AIN’T ABOUT GUNS: Democrats Super-Excited About Killing off Your Due Process Rights

The latest efforts to enact gun-control by Democrats in congress are either strictly symbolic, since they would not have stopped the San Bernadino or the Orlando Islamic extremists, or a Trojan horse to abolish the 2nd Amendment. Their proposal is to deny 2nd Amendment rights to anyone on the Transportation Safety Administration’s (TSA) “no-fly list.”

The murderers in San Bernadino and Orlando were not on the no-fly list, so even if such a law were in place, those acts of domestic terrorism would not have been prevented. So from that standpoint, such legislation would be mostly symbolic, and solve little to nothing.

It is much more likely, however, that the legislation is a Trojan horse to literally abolish 2nd Amendment rights of all, or more likely, select citizens.

The no-fly list is created by bureaucrats of the Executive Branch, and is so secretive that people don’t even know their names are on it until they attempt to board a flight. We have no idea exactly how many people are on the no-fly list, but an FBI factsheet uncovered by PolitiFact in 2013 indicated there were 47,000 names on the list at that time.

Not only do citizens not know if they’ve been added to the list, they have no way of preventing themselves from being added, since the government maintains it in secrecy, and has provided no clear criteria or rationale for names being added to it. As Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU Nation Security Project has said, “The government puts people on the no-fly list using vague and overbroad standards, and it is wrongly blacklisting innocents without giving them a fair process to correct government error.”

The ACLU has filed suit against the government over their seemingly arbitrary and spurious addition of names. As Shamsi explains, “Our no-fly list lawsuit seeks to establish a meaningful opportunity for our clients to challenge their placement on the list, which is error-prone and has had a devastating impact on their lives.”
And since the list is maintained by the Executive branch, and in secrecy, the potential for abuse is massive. Just look at how the IRS, which is also administered by the Executive branch, has politically targeted purported enemies of the Obama administration, and conservative political activist groups. Such abuse has tyranny and fascism written all over it!

Especially in light of what the Obama administration did just after it came to power in 2009. In an Agency Assessment from Obama’s Department of Homeland Security, titled “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment,” the “enemies of the state” were clearly identified, and it was entirely based on ideology.

According to the, communiqué the issues qualifying citizens for “enemies of the state” status include opposition to gun control, government infringement on civil liberties, abortion, hate crime legislation, anti-illegal immigration, and opposition to same-sex marriage. In a footnote, the document states, “[Rightwing extremism] may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.” In other words, everyone who is not a left-wing radical was identified officially an enemy to the Obama Administration and accused of being a potential domestic terrorist! By their own admission, however, they had no evidence of potential threats, so the assessment was nothing but a political hatchet-job against those who don’t agree with them.

After passage of the Democrat’s bill denying 2nd Amendment rights to those on the no-fly list, all that would need to be done by an unscrupulous and tyrannical president, is put all citizens with political leanings identified by the 2009 Agency Assessment on the no-fly list. From the Democrat’s perspective, problem solved. But for the nation, nothing solved, since leftists perpetrate most mass killings.

Once on the no-fly list, it’s nearly impossible to get off of it. The ACLU has declared, “The government denies watchlisted individuals any meaningful way to correct errors and clear their names.” Eleven term congressman John Lewis (D-GA), has been trying to get his name off of the list for five years.

There is no process by which a citizen can be prevented from being added to the no-fly list, or the FBI’s Terrorist Watch List. Which means, if a citizen were added to one of them, they would be deprived of their constitutional rights without due process, which is guaranteed by the 5th and 14th Amendments. This would be just one step away from the government denying 1st Amendment (freedom of speech, etc.) rights by placement on a government watch list, or “no speak” list, again denying due process, and violating rights assured by our most foundational document. This would be tyrannical and fascistic, and as antithetical to American values as one could get!

This argument was brilliantly illustrated in a House Government Oversight Committee hearing exchange between chairman Trey Gowdy and DHS Deputy Director Kelli Burriesci in December. That two minute video should be watched by every American, and can be seen at

And while we’re on this subject, why is it that the ire of the anti-gun left is invariably targeted against the National Rifle Association? Founded in 1871, the NRA is the oldest continuously operating civil rights organization in the country. Their objectives are protecting our 2nd Amendment rights and teaching responsible and proper gun use. Blaming them for abuse of those rights is like blaming the ACLU for 1st Amendment abuses, like hate speech! Can’t get much more illogical and inane than that!

Gun control is a key issue for the left, since it can be so easily fomented emotionally. But it does nothing to address the underlying social and cultural issues which are the cause of violence and domestic terrorism. And using vague government controlled lists as the basis to deny fundamental rights is a violation of our constitutional rights, which define what it means to be an American citizen. (For more from the author of “IT AIN’T ABOUT GUNS: Democrats Super-Excited About Killing off Your Due Process Rights” please click HERE)

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This State Becomes the First to Require All Gun Owners Be Entered Into Federal Database

Hawaii became the first state in the nation to enact legislation requiring gun owners to be entered into an FBI database.

The measure, signed into law on Friday by Democratic Gov. David Ige, will automatically notify police if an island resident is arrested anywhere in the country through what is known as the “Rap Back” system.

Fox News reports that the database is already in place in the FBI and used to keep track of people in “positions of trust” such as schoolteachers or bus drivers. Hawaii becomes the first state to use the system to keep track of all gun owners.

Critics says that gun owners should not have to be entered into a database simply for exercising their constitutional right to bear arms.

The National Rifle Association and the Hawaii Rifle Association opposed the legislation.

“This is an extremely dangerous bill. Exercising a constitutional right is not inherently suspicious,” Amy Hunter of the National Rifle Association said in May. “Hawaii will now be treating firearms as suspect and subject to constant monitoring.”

“I don’t like the idea of us being entered into a database. It basically tells us that they know where the guns are, they can go grab them” Jerry Ilo, a firearm and hunting instructor for the state, told the Associated Press last month. “We get the feeling that Big Brother is watching us.”

The law was one of three gun control measures Ige signed on Friday. State law now also bars those convicted of stalking or sexual assault from gun ownership and gives the police the authority to seize firearms from any deemed disqualified due to mental illness.

State Sen. Will Espero, the Democrat who introduced the FBI database registration requirement for gun owners, hopes it will be a model for other states. (For more from the author of “This State Becomes the First to Require All Gun Owners Be Entered Into Federal Database” please click HERE)

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