By Wayne LaPierre, Executive Vice President
As stunning revelations from the deepening scandals at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) continue to draw headlines, it is clear that the targeting of groups for their belief in the sanctity of the U.S. Constitution could easily spread to Americans who cherish the Second Amendment.
Lost in much of the media coverage of IRS bullying tactics against “tea party” and “patriot” groups is the substance and breadth of the intrusion of federal IRS agents, marked by demands for highly detailed and private information.
Mind you, these targeted groups, approaching 300 in number, had applied for tax-exempt status—the same corporate designation governing the National Rifle Association—so that they could better exercise their First Amendment rights to assemble, speak out and educate.
As the president of the Waco (Texas) Tea Party told Politico, “They were asking for a U-Haul truck’s worth of information.” These demands for impossible documentation included names and addresses of donors and volunteers, copies of all web pages, a list of books members were reading, their specific subjects of prayer, copies of minutes of meetings, newsletters and resumes of board members including political affiliation, copies of speeches and meeting flyers. Whether or not the IRS was satisfied remained at the sole discretion of bureaucrats. Not one of the targeted groups got its exemption.
And applicants were warned that their replies to questions were subject to federal prosecution for perjury.
All of this has one purpose: to intimidate and silence specific voices in the political spectrum.
And this gets us to the Second Amendment, to the efforts by the likes of billionaire New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, his cabal of machine politicians, and the likes of anti-gun U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer and Dianne Feinstein.
Imagine if the biggest step in their confiscation scheme—“universal gun owner licensing and registration”—were a reality. Acquisition, transfer or continued ownership of firearms could depend on the whim of federal bureaucrats—just like the IRS operation—in analyzing questionnaires that gun owners would be required by law to answer.
This “what if” scenario closely tracks the way the IRS wields bureaucratic power to scuttle the First Amendment rights of targeted “conservative” Americans—most of whom are our people, fighters for Second Amendment freedom.
Topmost on pages and pages of questions you would be required to answer to own a gun would be a long list detailing your personal history including “the purpose for owning firearms subject to this form.”
“Do you belong to the NRA or a similar organization? How long? What standing?
“Do members of your immediate family approve of this purchase?
“Do you belong to a gun club or shooting club? If so, list the club’s officers.
“Have you ever written Congress opposing ‘commonsense gun safety’? If so, provide copies of all correspondence and emails.
“Do you believe the Second Amendment protects a guaranteed right?
“List all other firearms you own, making sure to include serial number, make and model of each and how these firearms are stored in your home.”
So, you take the forms home, fill them out, take them back to the firearm licensing officer and you are told that you will be notified of the results sometime in the future.
If federal “czars” decide your answers are not sufficient, they will ask for clarification, or decide your answers are not truthful and opt to prosecute you for perjury.
There is no set deadline for the government to act, so you wait for approval that may never come.
This scenario exactly mirrors what the IRS is subjectively doing to Americans seeking tax-exempt protection under the law. It could happen to us if we fail to stand and fight.
Lest any of your skeptical acquaintances think this intrusiveness is far-fetched, tell them about the inquisition of gun owners in Canada with its registration and licensing schemes demanding permanent photo-files sworn to by a person the government calls a “photo guarantor.”
Try this question from the Canadian firearm license applications: “During the past two (2) years have you experienced divorce, a separation, a breakdown of a significant relationship, job loss or bankruptcy?”
For starters, Canadian gun control bureaucrats require two references—citizens who know the prospective gun owner—who must swear that, “I know of no reason why, in the interest of safety of the applicant or any other person, the applicant should not be given a license to possess and acquire a firearm.” The government requires personal information on those references as well.
Canadian bureaucrats also require personal details about one’s “conjugal partner,” including “spouses and common law partners and all other persons with whom you live. …”
Why? So the government can seek their permission for you to acquire a gun. If you don’t get their approval, “the chief Firearms Officer has a duty to notify them of your application. …”
On the form, that threat is followed with a warning for your conjugal associates: “IF YOU HAVE SAFETY CONCERNS ABOUT THIS APPLICATION, PLEASE CALL 1 (800) XXX-XXXX.”
But there’s more—a demand for “INFORMATION ABOUT (A) FORMER CONJUGAL PARTNER.”
So, if you break up with a girlfriend or boyfriend, or are separated or divorced, that person has a “veto” on your acquiring a firearm. It is mind-boggling. But in Canada it is reality.
Given the intensity of the IRS political inquisition against Americans wishing to organize to exercise their First Amendment rights, there can be little doubt that this is where the gun-ban crowd would take us as gun owners. The Canadian gun-owner licensing and registration systems provide roadmaps to the future unless we continue to stand and fight in the U.S. Congress and straight through the crucial 2014 elections to preserve freedom.