Data Quality Act and The AWB debate


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RealGun
August 16, 2004, 08:53 AM
It seems that there is a recent law that would prohibit regulation based upon statistics that are not accurate to acceptable guidelines. I read it as possibly being a basis for challenge of any citing of statistics or unfounded Congressional statements regarding the measurable extent to which "assault weapons" are used in crime.
I am not suggesting that this be a main argument against the AWB, but it could dismiss a persistent argument that tries to appeal to emotion, disguised as quasi common sense.

I understand that even if there were significant incidence of the use of scary looking rifles in crime that it would still not make weapons bans constitutional by all interpretations. But those who want to hide behind a facade of fighting crime need to be exposed when misusing statements designed to scare people into supporting a gun grabbing initiative.

The following is excerpted from an article on Findlaw

Data Quality Act (http://tinyurl.com/5ufwm)

II. Purpose of the Data Quality Act

Congress enacted the DQA primarily in response to increased use of the internet, which gives agencies the ability to communicate information easily and quickly to a large audience. Under the DQA, federal agencies must ensure that the information it disseminates meets certain quality standards. Congress' intent was to prevent the harm that can occur when government websites, which are easily and often accessed by the public, disseminate inaccurate information. See Guidelines for Ensuring and Maximizing the Quality, Objectivity, Utility, and Integrity of Information Disseminated by Federal Agencies; Republication, 67 F.R. 8452, 8452 (Feb. 22, 2002).[1]

III. To Whom it Applies

The DQA applies to all federal agencies that are subject to the PRA. See 67 F.R. at 8453. The PRA defines "agency" as "any executive department, military department, Government corporation, Government controlled corporation, or other establishment in the executive branch of the Government (including the executive office of the President), or any independent regulatory agency . . ." 44 U.S.C. ยง 3502. The term "agency" does not include the General Accounting Office, Federal Election Commission, the D.C. government or the territories and possessions of the U.S. or their subdivisions, nor does it include "Government-owned contractor-operated facilities, including laboratories engaged in national defense research and production activities." Id.

IV. Primary Directives of the Data Quality Act

On February 22, 2002, the OMB's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) published the final version of its Guidelines for Ensuring and Maximizing the Quality, Objectivity, Utility, and Integrity of Information Disseminated by Federal Agencies (Guidelines). See 67 F.R. 8452. As provided in the DQA, the Guidelines mandate that each federal agency:


By October 1, 2002, issue its own information quality guidelines ensuring and maximizing the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of information that it disseminates;


Establish administrative mechanisms to allow affected persons to seek and obtain correction of information maintained or disseminated by the agency that does not comply with OMB or agency guidelines;


Report periodically to OMB the number and nature of complaints received by the agency regarding the accuracy of its information and how such complaints were resolved.

Id. at 8458.

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Sam Adams
August 16, 2004, 02:30 PM
I understand that you merely wish to use the DQA as another arrow in the quiver, but arguing a gun case on a legal technicality like that is, IMHO, only asking for us to lose in the long run.

There have been several challenges to state AWB-like statutes with a "vagueness" argument, i.e. that the statute was vague because it didn't specifically define the guns to be banned. OK, fine, so maybe (not always) a court would strike down the law. However, that's an invitation to the state (or federal, as the case may be) legislature to come up with a very well written and harsh law. It also gives the courts a pass at ruling on the issue of the RKBA, which I think is a mistake. I want courts to rule on the issue, since the weight of actual case law (going back to the early 1800's) on the federal level is against all of the gun control measures that are currently law. Sooner or later, the issue will get in front of the SCOTUS, and it will be forced to rule on the substance. I want that to happen, because either way we win...we obviously win if the SC rules that the RKBA is individual in nature; conversely, we win if the case goes against us because that will set off alarm bells in 80 million households that the fed.gov and the state governments are out of control.

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