Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Transcripts from Tyrants #6: Steven F. McLaughlin - On Collection of Gun Owner Data

This is my sixth entry in my ongoing attempt to document the shenanigans that occurred in New York in the "emergency" passage of their guns laws meant from prevent another Newtown.

This was all passed with the most thoughtful and reasoned of "debate".  Well, reasoned from the side of people like the Honorable Steven F. McLaughlin below.

Video #6: Honorable Steven F. McLaughlin on Collecting Gun Owner Data

Begin Transcript

Steven F. McLaughlin: Uh, let me ask you a question about Federal law.  In the ObamaCare legislation, there is a provision in there, it is Senate amendment 3276 section 2716 part C.  Some people say it was put in there as a, uh, to quiet down the NRA but nevertheless, it is in there.  And it says that the government cannot collect quote "Any information relating to the lawful ownership or possession of a firearm or ammunition".  So by enacting this law, are we not then violating what is now Federal law?

Joe Lentol: I don't know.  I think that relates to health care.  I don't think it has anything to do with this.

Steven F. McLaughlin: Absolutely relates to gun control legislation because it says you cannot collect any information.  Nothing to do with health care.  Nothing.  So...

Joe Lentol: You say that it outlaws our total licensing scheme if you wanted to, uh, (unintelligible)

Steven F. McLaughlin:  No I can't say that because the law, this amendment is very specific in what it says.  It says that the government cannot collect any information relating to the lawful ownership or possession of a firearm or ammunition.  It's very clear.  So I'm just...

Joe Lentol:  It is clear.  It is clear that the Federal government doesn't choose to do that but it doesn't say anything about the states.

Steven F. McLaughlin:  Well I'm just saying.  So it's o.., you're saying to me, I didn't go to law school, but you're saying to me it's ok that New York state wilfully violate Federal law.  Wilfully violate ObamaCare.  Cause that's what's were doing.

Joe Lentol: I'm in favor of state's rights.

Steven F. McLaughlin:  Doesn't answer the question, Joe.  But, you're so, there's no legal, there's no legal answer to that just that you're in favor of state's rights?  So, that's, that's ok with you, that we're ignoring that aspect of ObamaCare?

Joe Lentol: We're not ignoring it. It's just they haven't, uh, they haven't prevented us from taking that kind of action

Steven F. McLaughlin:  Well I suspect they will when that situation does arise.

Joe Lentol:   There's nothing in the Constitution that allows the state to take different action that the Federal government.  They've not, they've not prevented us from doing that by taking that power away from us.

Steven F. McLaughlin:  Absolutely correct.  We are allowed to take different action.  I don't believe we're allowed to violate Federal law.  But we'll see.  Uh...

End Transcript

While I admire Mr. McLaughlin's attempt here to inform the NY assembly that their continued attempts at registration of guns and gun owners may violate Federal law, I believe his is incorrect.  Based on my understanding, Mr. Lentol is correct that the law in ObamaCare relates to prohibiting medical professions from asking about or compiling records on gun ownership.  And from all indications, it was put in there at the behest of the NRA due to publicized attempts by doctors to ask children about their parent's gun ownership or refuse patients if they refused to answer.

That being said, I find Mr. Lentol's respect for state's rights to be a weak argument.  "State's rights" is often invoked to allow a state a path to interpret and violate the Constitution as they see fit when the Federal view is one they disagree with.  Fascinatingly, most states that have strong abortion rights also tend towards strong gun control.  It's almost like they want to kill on both ends of the life spectrum. 

It's unfortunate that there's been no attempts to hold state's feet to the fire on 18 USC 926(a):

No such rule or regulation prescribed after the date of the enactment of the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act may require that records required to be maintained under this chapter or any portion of the contents of such records, be recorded at or transferred to a facility owned, managed, or controlled by the United States or any State or any political subdivision thereof, nor that any system of registration of firearms, firearms owners, or firearms transactions or dispositions be established. Nothing in this section expands or restricts the Secretary’s authority to inquire into the disposition of any firearm in the course of a criminal investigation.

Emphasis mine. 

I would argue that any and all licensing or registration schemes are illegal as Federal law is binding on the States.  Too bad no one has saw fit to press that argument forward. 

After all, we don't require you to get a license before an abortion, go through a background check before you publish online or pay a fee to vote.  All were found to be violations of the Constitution.  I hope in time such schemes in New York and other states will fall for the same reasons.

Tomorrow I will get to the final set of videos for Mr. McLaughlin.  That puts this halfway complete. 

Thank you for reading!


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