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Lautenberg Gun Control Bill Compared to Nazi Policies

by Diogenes Tuesday, May. 06, 2003 at 1:01 AM

The right of a Free People to Keep and Bear Arms is a danger only to Tyrants. Sic Temper Tyrannis.

Lautenberg Gun Control Bill Compared to Nazi Policies

By Jeff Johnson Congressional Bureau Chief

April 30, 2003

Capitol Hill ( - New Jersey's Democratic senators moved Wednesday to tie their long-standing gun control agenda to homeland security and terrorism fears. Second Amendment advocates compared the proposal to the actions of Adolf Hitler's regime in Nazi Germany.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) announced his plans Wednesday to introduce legislation he calls the "Homeland Security Gun Safety Act," along with fellow New Jersey Democrat Jon Corzine, Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.).

Lautenberg claimed the proposal would close "loopholes" in current gun laws "that allow terrorists to access weapons and explosives inside our borders.

"As our government confiscates toenail scissors at airports, secures power plants, and increases domestic surveillance," Lautenberg said, "we're ignoring the most obvious threat that's out there, and that is the ease in [sic] which terrorists can access weapons in virtually any town across the country."

Under Lautenberg's proposal, any time the Homeland Security Threat Level rises to "elevated" or higher, law enforcement authorities would not be required to complete mandatory background checks on firearms purchasers within the current three-business-day limit. Unlike current law, which mandates near-immediate destruction of records of background checks if the sale is approved, Lautenberg's proposal would allow authorities to maintain the registry of new gun owners "indefinitely."

The Homeland Security Threat Level has been at the "elevated" level - or higher - since it was created following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Supporters of Second Amendment protections for armed citizens warn that the proposal would allow law enforcement agencies to block all gun sales in their jurisdictions by simply refusing to complete background checks. They note that Lautenberg's plan to maintain a registry of gun owners sounds very familiar.

"These are the very laws that were used by the Nazis to register everybody's guns, to confiscate the Jews' guns and then to commit genocide," said Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America. "Why the senator would want to do something as horrible as that, I can't understand."

Germany's "Law on Firearms and Ammunition" required all firearms to be registered with the federal government. Although the law was passed in 1928, prior to the Nazis coming to power, Hitler's regime used the registration lists to confiscate firearms belonging to Jews and suspected "sympathizers."

The bill would also impose nearly a dozen new restrictions on federally licensed firearms dealers, already the most heavily regulated industry in the U.S. The legislation would:

* Allow unlimited, unannounced inspections of gun dealers by federal agents. Because of past abuses, federal authorities are currently limited to one unannounced inspection per year. Inspections by local authorities are not currently limited;

* Create a federal felony charge against a gun dealer if a lost or stolen gun is recovered by authorities before the loss or theft is discovered and reported;

* Revoke a gun dealer's license immediately upon conviction for any felony - even if the conviction is under review by a higher court or being appealed.

* Suspend a gun dealer's license if, before the dealer files a report, authorities discover a gun that has allegedly been "missing" from inventory; and

* Suspend a gun dealer's license immediately upon being charged with any crime. Under current law, gun dealers are allowed to keep their licenses until and unless the government can prove its charges against them in court.

Lautenberg claims the changes will also reduce criminal violence.

"This bill will not affect the vast majority of honest, law-abiding Americans who want to purchase guns," he said. "The bill focuses on preventing weapons from getting into the hands of terrorists and criminals."

But Pratt noted that regulating legal purchases of firearms by law-abiding citizens has no positive impact on crime.

"And we know that there's no way it ever will because the English have a gun ban on an island, and all they got for their trouble is more crime with guns," Pratt noted. "The senator is absolutely wrong. He's lost the argument."

Closer to home, Pratt's organization notes that the District of Columbia enacted one of the strictest gun control laws in the nation in 1976. Since that time, the murder rate has dropped by two percent nationwide, while D.C.'s murder rate has increased by 134 percent.

Gun control supporters blame easy access to firearms in Virginia for the crime in the nation's capital. But Pratt pointed out that Arlington County, Virginia - which is just across the Potomac River from Washington - had a murder rate of 2.1 per 100,000 in 1999, compared to a murder rate of 46.1 per 100,000 in the District of Columbia. Even including all of the Virginia suburbs outside Washington brings the Virginia murder rate up to only 6.1 per 100,000.

'Gun Availability Changed This Person into a Criminal'

Nonetheless, Lautenberg still believes that the source of the problem is the availability of guns, not the violent intentions of those who use them criminally.

"We've had so many experiences where a criminal act suddenly erupted in a moment of outrage with a perfectly well-behaving citizen," Lautenberg charged. "The fact is that the gun availability changed this person into a criminal."

Pratt wondered aloud if Lautenberg wasn't voicing subconscious concerns about himself.

"He may be the kind of person that would go nuts with a gun," Pratt charged, "but most sane people have control of themselves, unlike the senator who apparently has no self-control.

"Normal people have no problem carrying a gun, bearing insults, suffering someone cutting them off in traffic and going on," Pratt added, "never pulling their gun."

Research Disputes Lautenberg's Claim

According to research published in the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports between 1972 and 1995, firearms ownership increased by more than 100 percent, while the overall rate of both murders and murders committed with guns remained fairly constant.

In a 1996 study, researchers at the University of Chicago discovered that, contrary to Lautenberg's claim, the possession of guns by law-abiding citizens actually reduced violent crime.

John Lott and David Mustard found that states with laws allowing citizens to carry concealed firearms reduced murders by nearly nine percent, rapes by five percent, aggravated assaults by seven percent and robbery by three percent.

If states without concealed carry laws had adopted them in 1992, the pair estimated that approximately 1,570 murders, 4,177 rapes, 60,000 aggravated assaults and more than 11,000 robberies would have been avoided annually.

Pratt pointed to those statistics and again questioned the motives behind Lautenberg's latest gun control bill.

"He and everybody else who supports that kind of legislation are just absolutely wrong," Pratt concluded. "There is no empirical basis for gun control, and the only reason you could be advocating it is because you must have the same objectives that the Nazis had."

E-mail a news tip to Jeff Johnson.

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Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 5 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
Notice the Hegelian... Diogenes Tuesday, May. 06, 2003 at 1:10 AM
no, no...This just wont do! Sheepdog Tuesday, May. 06, 2003 at 1:37 AM
A former neighbor of mine... Diogenes Tuesday, May. 06, 2003 at 1:43 AM
Relight your lantern, Diogenes Sisyphus Tuesday, May. 06, 2003 at 5:00 PM
Fear of guns... Diogenes Tuesday, May. 06, 2003 at 5:50 PM

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