http://www.gunowners.org/a091707.htm Monday, September 17, 2007 You may recall that in recent years, GOA has enlisted your aid in fighting so-called "gang" legislation, which typically includes attempts to apply federal RICO anti-racketeering statutes to minor gun infractions -- thus harassing and prosecuting otherwise law-abiding gun owners as though they were Mafia bosses. Well, Feinstein's S. 456 is the latest vehicle for such underhandedness. At issue is section 215 of the bill. In essence, your family, gun shop employees, or even church bowling league would be considered an organized "gang" and subjected to draconian prison sentences if you did any of a number of things, such as: * having a gun (loaded OR unloaded) in your glovebox as you -- inevitably -- drive within 1,000 feet of a school, even if you didn't know the school was there; * selling a gun out of your store while being entrapped in a Bloomberg-style "sting" operation; * teaching your son to shoot without giving him a written letter of permission (which must be on his actual person), even if you are standing right behind him at the range the whole time; or, * simply being one the 83,000 veterans whose names were illegally added to the Brady system by President Clinton (or, presumably, one of the thousands more who will be on the list if the current Veterans Disarmament bill passes), if you continued to possess a firearm. Now, there's a lot of legal verbiage in S. 456, which is quite large as bills go. Feinstein and her anti-gun cronies will counter that the situations listed above aren't enough -- you also have to commit a crime of violence while engaging in them. Oh yeah? Consider how many people defending themselves from carjackers or their businesses from hold-ups are indicted by anti-gun prosecutors merely for exercising their right to self-defense. And what judge is going to say that the "gun crimes" in those instances aren't crimes of violence? Further, any anti-gun prosecutor could simply state that family members or gun shop employees are "co-conspirators" or are "aiding and abetting" actual criminals using guns. And of course, we have had plenty of warning of what happens when prosecutorial powers are enormously expanded. Take the original RICO Act itself, for example. We were told that it was needed to shut down the Mafia -- a tool to be used in the fight against organized crime. But in the years since its passage, the RICO Act has become the overzealous prosecutor's version of going nuclear... wrapping everything up in one big package of conspiracy charges and twenty years to life prison terms. It just isn't right that you, your spouse, and your two teenage boys could be treated like the Gambino family just because you brandished your firearm to scare away a carjacker... without firing a shot! And prison terms of 10, 20, or even all of your remaining years aren't right in such instances, either! In short, section 215 of S. 456 is unacceptable. It must be deleted, period. To our knowledge, the entire Second Amendment community -- spearheaded by GOA and the NRA -- is adamantly opposed to Feinstein's scheme. It should be noted that there is lots of talk on Capitol Hill about how to "handle" the problems of S. 456 with a minimum of fuss. The most likely scenario is that there would only be two amendments allowed -- one Republican and one Democratic. Once that is done, the Senate would immediately proceed to a vote on the bill... which may or may not be a recorded vote. Gun owners should bear in mind that, regardless of which politician is saying otherwise, there is NO GUARANTEE that the Republican amendment would even attempt to totally strike section 215. The amendment might not help matters that much, and might not pass anyway. So this attempt to placate gun owners with a "roll of the dice" amendment vote is nothing more than the usual smoke-and-mirrors designed to give politicians cover from the wrath of a known activist constituency. GOA doesn't believe in gambling with your rights. Our position is firm and unalterable: section 215 must go away, now. The time to kill a snake is before it strikes. And this snake could strike at any time; a vote on final passage could occur as early as this week. So here's what you can do to help kill the snake. Any individual senator can place a "hold" on a particular piece of legislation until his or her concerns are addressed; if the Leadership ignores those objections, it becomes extremely difficult to move the legislation forward. The "hold" is a legislative tactic that we have used to great advantage in the past. We need at least one Senator to take that step and place a hold on S. 456.