Back door gun registration in Florida


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gunsmith
February 12, 2004, 11:17 PM
http://www.palmbeachpost.com/opinion/content/auto/epaper/editions/thursday/opinion_04a2db6a763250b20094.html
But at least some Republicans have not sold out to the r.i.n.o's!
Guns don't kill; records do?

By Jac Wilder VerSteeg, Palm Beach Post Editorial Writer
Thursday, February 12, 2004



Florida lawmakers, prominent among them Rep. Carl Domino, R-Jupiter, are promoting legislation that would make it harder for police to solve violent gun crimes. Perhaps Rep. Domino and the others are operating from benign ignorance.

Basically, Florida Senate Bill 1152 and House Bill 0155 would keep police from compiling records of pawned guns. The bills taking away that useful law-enforcement tool are framed in the paranoid prose often employed by National Rifle Association lobbyists: "The Legislature finds and declares that... a list, record, or registry of legally owned firearms or law-abiding firearm owners is not a law-enforcement tool and can become an instrument for profiling, harassing, or abusing law-abiding citizens based on their choice to own a firearm and exercise their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms."

Who knew that keeping track of pawned guns was such a threat to hard-won liberty? Most people understand that pawnshop records help police to track down stolen guns and guns used in crimes. Cops use pawn records to find stolen cameras, watches and necklaces. Guns are no different, and law-abiding gun owners have every reason to hope that police in Florida can continue to use pawn records to solve gun crimes.

Somehow, lawmakers such as Rep. Domino have taken it into their heads that keeping pawn records of guns might be unconstitutional. In a Jan. 29 letter to Delray Beach Police Chief Joseph L. Schroeder, chairman of the Palm Beach County Law Enforcement Planning Council, Rep. Domino writes: "Thank you for your letter dated January 13, 2004, expressing concern with HB 155.... The debate, of course, is whether the Constitution which guarantees the right to bear arms is violated by allowing governments to compile databases of individuals who legally own guns.... As a law-enforcement officer, I know you have many challenges, but I have sworn to uphold the Constitution and must make sure that individual liberties are not taken away."

Rep. Domino's concerns about constitutionality appear to be unfounded. The Palm Beach County Criminal Justice Commission asked the Firearms Law Center about the proposed Florida laws (for information about the center, see www.firearmslawcenter.org). Laura Cutilletta, senior staff attorney for the center, sent a lengthy response that included this plain conclusion: Federal courts uphold all kinds of firearms restrictions "and the Second Amendment is completely irrelevant to laws requiring firearm record-keeping."

The same memo addressed concerns that keeping records of pawned guns might violate Florida's constitution. The Florida Supreme Court "established that 'the right to keep and bear arms is not an absolute right, but is one which is subject to the right of the people through their legislature to enact valid police regulations to promote the health, morals, safety and general welfare of the people.' "

The law center's memo says that, "undoubtedly using firearm-related records to investigate crime is a valid exercise of police power to promote the general welfare of the people."

The National Rifle Association wishes that federal courts would decide that record-keeping and other forms of gun control are unconstitutional. With enough Bush appointees, they might. But as of now, Rep. Domino and the others can't hide behind constitutional precedents. If they cave to the NRA, it's pandering for political reasons.

How else to explain the Legislature's performance on another NRA-backed bill? This one, which Rep. Domino has supported, would ban lawsuits to force gun ranges to clean up the lead from bullets, which over time accumulate in amounts large enough to pollute lakes and streams. Such lawsuits, you see, are "back-door gun control." Sheesh.

Palm Beach County Commissioner Warren Newell can't understand the attack on pawn records. Neither can his fellow commissioners, who, along with the law-enforcement planning council, oppose restrictions on pawn records. Commissioner Newell notes that it's the small things, such as a surveillance camera that captures Carlie Brucia's abduction, that help police catch criminals.

Commissioner Newell puts pawn records in that category. They've been used to solve crimes, and no one has abused such lists to "harass" gun owners. What would we say to victims, he asked, "if we could have kept records to solve the crime but didn't?" Rep. Domino and his fellow legislators need to think about that question before voting on those gun bills when the session starts.

jac_versteeg@pbpost.com

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Mulliga
February 12, 2004, 11:26 PM
I have some special experience here; I'm from Palm Beach Kounty (Lake Worth), and I've read articles from the columnist before.

They misquote the Florida Constitution.

The right of the people to keep and bear arms in defense of themselves and of the lawful authority of the state shall not be infringed, except that the manner of bearing arms may be regulated by law

Somewhat vague in terms of protecting gun owners IMHO. But my guess is this pawn shop records thing isn't such a huge deal. Florida is one of the best places to live if you're into guns - good peaceable journey laws, concealed carry reciprocity with most states, no real state bans, etc. Even automatic knives are still legal for LEOs and military. Letting the cops use pawn shop records is a small compromise that I personally think actually might do some good.

Standing Wolf
February 12, 2004, 11:33 PM
...the paranoid prose often employed by National Rifle Association lobbyists...

Not quite 50% witty.

F4GIB
February 12, 2004, 11:41 PM
So they asked "the Firearms Law Center about the proposed Florida laws."

The Center is a "project" of one of California's extremist anti-gun groups. They'd have done just as well to request an opinion by Sarah Brady.

joab
February 12, 2004, 11:51 PM
Even automatic knives are still legal for LEOs and military.
Actually auto knives are legal for ordinary citizens again as of Jul1 2003. Although I think you have to have a CCW to carry one

gunsmith
February 12, 2004, 11:55 PM
To the reporter thanking him for reminding me to ask my sister in Jupiter to vote for Domino!:D

Hkmp5sd
February 12, 2004, 11:57 PM
What exactly are they arguing about? A pawn shop that handles guns has to have a FFL. That means the guns are logged in his bound book when they arrive and when they leave.

gunsmith
February 12, 2004, 11:58 PM
"and the Second Amendment is completely irrelevant to laws requiring firearm record-keeping."

TheOtherOne
February 13, 2004, 09:33 AM
Actually auto knives are legal for ordinary citizens again as of Jul1 2003.I probably don't know exactly what an auto knife is, but if it's one that automatically unfolds (a switchblade) then those are not legal on a federal level. Unless you are a cop or are missing an arm, it's against federal law to have a switchblade.

Hkmp5sd
February 13, 2004, 01:38 PM
No, it is against federal law to transport automatic knives in interstate commerce. To get around this, they are shipped across state lines disassembled, in kit form and are assembled at the endpoint. Their legality is based on state and local laws. In Florida, everything is legal with the exeption of knives that physically shoot the blade across the room using a spring.

feedthehogs
February 13, 2004, 05:44 PM
The palm beach post is not even worthy of using in the bottom of a bird cage. Will make bird sick.

The editors and writers are so biased to the left, its a three day trip just to get to them.

When I ran for office I was interviewed by the post in their office by a panel of pathetic individuals who knew I was running on a pro gun stance and less government.
When the article came out and I read it, I thought I must have been somewhere else at the time because the things they quoted me on were never said by me and they cut and pasted other things to make up what they wanted to portray me as.

I really didn't expect anything else, but was hoping for some little evidence of truth in reporting.

Mulliga
February 13, 2004, 11:32 PM
You need a concealed carry permit to carry an automatic knife?...:uhoh:...

Hkmp5sd
February 13, 2004, 11:48 PM
an automatic knife?...
Yep.

gunsmith
February 14, 2004, 12:17 AM
I have a feeling I wrote the only letter he got on the article.
He was not very happy with me:D

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