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Hold the phone

Regarding the Senate bill that supposedly banned confiscation of guns in an emergency, the NRA writes:

Senator David Vitter’s amendment to prohibit the use of funds appropriated under the Homeland Security appropriations bill (H.R. 5441) for the confiscation of lawfully possessed firearms during an emergency or major disaster passed the United States Senate with broad bi-partisan support, the final vote margin was 84-16.

So, it doesn’t ban said confiscation. It just bans the use of funds for confiscation. Not much of a victory.

I haven’t found the latest text of the bill (doesn’t seem to be up on Thomas yet) so if anyone has found it, please confirm.

9 Responses to “Hold the phone”

  1. matt dimeo Says:

    Banning funding is still a big deal. I think it basically means no federal agent could participate, since the constitution requires that no money be spent except by act of congress.

    No money shall be drawn from the treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law

    I don’t know what effect this would have on state police, etc., though.

  2. Xrlq Says:

    Probably none. For the federal government to dictate what the states can do on their own dime would be a constitutional Hail Mary.

  3. Lyle Says:

    Why invoke the Constitution? I don’t get it. If you’re going to recognize the Constitution, then the confiscation of weapons from peaceable citizens is already illegal and anyone who tries to do it is a federal felon. To contemplate making laws that do not take that into account is nothing short of insane.

    These clowns in Congress are not our friends.

  4. Standard Mischief Says:

    http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/C?r109:./temp/~r109yVZ4uQ

  5. Standard Mischief Says:

    http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/C?r109:./temp/~r109yVZ4uQ

    That’s probably not a permalink. Text follows:

    SA 4615. Mr. VITTER (for himself, Mr. Inhofe, Mr. Enzi, Mr. Thune, Mr. Burns, Mr. Brownback, Mr. Martinez, Mr. Domenici, Mr. Gregg and Mr. Byrd) proposed an amendment to the bill H.R. 5441, making appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2007, and for other purposes; as follows:

    On page 127, between lines 2 and 3, insert the following:

    SEC. 540. PROHIBITION ON CONFISCATION OF FIREARMS.

    None of the funds appropriated by this Act may be used to temporarily or permanently seize any firearm during an emergency or major disaster (as those terms are defined in section 102 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5122)) if the possession of such firearm is not prohibited under Federal or State law, other than for forfeiture in compliance with Federal or State law or as evidence in a criminal investigation.

    By my count, that’s 78 words. Again, I note that when our congress-critters want to protect rights via legislation, and they wish to do so transparently, they can manage to pull it off with a minimum of legalese “terms of art” BS.

    I must add also that this is the kind of stuff I’ve been demanding since we got a pro-RKBA majority back in the Clinton error. Namely, stick a small, clearly worded bit of a law onto a “must pass” appropriations bill and roll back the gun control clock one baby step at a time. Fucking took them long enough.

    Of course, this does not remove laws, but it adds protections to the RKBA, so that’s pretty good.

  6. Standard Mischief Says:

    Oh and I found that link by going to the page you provided:

    http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=109&session=2&vote=00202

    following the “S.Amdt. 4615” link:

    http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d109:SP4615:

    and then clicking on “TEXT OF AMENDMENT AS SUBMITTED: CR S7437”:

    http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/R?r109:FLD001:S57437

    clinking on “Printer Friendly Display”:

    http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/C?r109:./temp/~r109S0BXKe

    and then searching the page for the word “VITTER”, to identify the specific amendment.

    See? This “eternal vigilance” stuff is easy!

  7. Standard Mischief Says:

    You know, they could simply reword this amendment so that it prohibits any police agency that gets any money at all from the federal government (which should be every single one of ’em) from confiscating lawfully owned arms during an emergency.

    I mean, it’s not like our congress-critters don’t do the same exact same standard mischief to the several states to prevent them from letting 18 year olds drink, to impose requirements on institutes of higher learning, or to require hospitals to accept people having a medical emergency regardless of whether or not they can pay their bill.

    It’s also has been used in the past to impose a national 55 mph speed limit on everybody. Y’all remember that one, right?

  8. beerslurpy Says:

    You know, they could simply reword this amendment so that it prohibits any police agency that gets any money at all from the federal government (which should be every single one of ‘em) from confiscating lawfully owned arms during an emergency.

    Frankly, I am shocked that wasnt the actual text that got passed.

    Then again, in practice, it may simply end up that unless a given agency sequesters all of their federal funds and separates them from their locally acquired funds, they will have an enormously difficult time avoiding this.

    HOWEVER, I must ask why violating this act isnt a criminal offense.

    So congress has taken 2 substantial devaitions from their modus operandi:
    1) not actually dictating terms to agencies that receive money from them. The control here is far more indirect, at least on its face. This is very out of character for congress, especially when they feel they are on solid constitutional ground.
    2) there are no criminal penalties for people who violate this law. Congress criminalizes hundreds of thousands of other forms of activity it doesnt approve of, why not this? Oh right, because Congress doesnt want to put teeth in a law that might end up biting its own henchmen.

    In practice I suspect that this law will be seen as stripping qualified immunity from LEAs that receive federal funding and violate the terms of this law. In case you havent been keeping up with news, that is probably ALL LE Agencies in the US. The penalties will be assessed in terms of civil damages, etc. LEOs will have to balance the harm to themselves from disobeying the next Chief Compass and the harm from the lawsuits that will follow obeying.

  9. SayUncle » Gun confiscation bill Says:

    […] Nylarthotep notes the house voted Tuesday to prevent law enforcement officers from confiscating legally owned guns during a national disaster or emergency. The senate approved a similar measure a while back. It seems to me to be similar to the senate version in that it bans funding for confiscations. I’m still searching for the vote record. It’s apparently not as quickly updated as the Senate website. […]