ARMED AND DANGEROUS : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ARMED AND DANGEROUS Police group blasts Reno Accused of violating Brady law, maintaining firearms records


By Jon E. Dougherty ) 2000

A national law enforcement group is accusing Attorney General Janet Reno of violating the "Brady Law," which requires background checks on every person seeking to purchase a handgun and mandates a five-day waiting period before the sale is approved. Reno is "violating key provisions of federal law" with actions that "impose tremendous potential liability on federal law enforcement officers," according to the Law Enforcement Alliance of America. Furthermore, LEAA said, Reno's actions increase that liability "by establishing illegal dossier-making practices against law-abiding gun owners, and invading the privacy of Americans." Attorney General Janet Reno

The suit, originally filed in 1998, received a hearing in the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of appeals on Friday, but LEAA spokesman Carl Mica told WorldNetDaily no decision had come yet. The group anticipates court action within 60 days.

The alliance is the nation's largest nonprofit coalition of law enforcement professionals, crime victims and citizens, with a membership of about 65,000 members and supporters.

Specifically, the organization is alleging that the FBI is illegally keeping records on firearms transactions generated by the National Instant Check System (NICS), according to LEAA Executive Director James J. Fotis, prompting his organization to join "a lawsuit to stop this blatant violation of federal law."

According to Fotis, LEAA decided to join the suit, in part, because of its belief that the Department of Justice is forcing law enforcement agents to violate federal law pertaining to the proper implementation and use of data collected by the Bureau's NICS system.

The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act stipulates in Section 103(i) that "No department, agency, officer, or employee of the United States may ... use the system established under this section to establish any system for the registration of firearms, firearm owners, or firearm transactions or dispositions, except with respect to persons, prohibited by section 922 (g) or (n) of title 18."

"Obviously, Janet Reno is in clear violation of the law by storing data on lawful gun buyers, and she is forcing law enforcement agents to be her pawns, thereby also breaking the law," Fotis told WorldNetDaily.

Claiming "no one is above the law," Fotis said Reno's motivations for allegedly keeping gun registration information was "purely political," referring to the administration's staunch pro-gun control stance.

"The aim of this lawsuit is to protect our members -- and the interests of all law enforcement -- from the unlawful activity brought on by Reno's defiance of federal law," Fotis said.

The NICS system, which is administered by the Bureau in offices located in Clarksburg, West Virginia, is used by firearms dealers and others to obtain real-time criminal history information about prospective gun buyers. However, some gun-rights organizations have complained about how often the system goes "down" -- or offline -- sometimes for hours, which prevents dealers from selling firearms and may cause them to lose money.

Paul Bresson, an FBI spokesman, told WorldNetDaily that while the FBI retains NICS records "very briefly," the purpose is benign and all records are eventually expunged from the system.

"We keep records on file for about 60 or 90 days," Bresson said, "for auditing purposes, and to make sure there are no abuses of the system." The reason, he said, is because local gun dealers will sometimes submit bogus firearm sales requests to see whether or not a friend or relative has criminal information on file with the agency.

Mica said he had "not heard" whether or not the FBI's 60 to 90 day figure was accurate, but added, "Clearly, they are holding the records and just as clearly that is against the law."

Keeping files on hand to avoid misuse of the system "is appropriate," Bresson countered, because submitting false requests to NICS "is an inappropriate, if not illegal, use of the system." He added that the FBI had shortened the length of time the agency had previously kept records "from about six months down to two or three months."

Of the LEAA suit, Bresson said the issue of illegal database registries has "come up before."

Indeed, said Fotis, "Congress has voted on this issue two times" before, but "Reno is (still) trying to thwart congressional action and circumvent the law.

"LEAA's lawsuit will help protect federal law enforcement agents who are vulnerable to liability if they are compelled to carry out Attorney General Reno's illegal mandates," the director said.

Mica told WorldNetDaily that Congress specifically passed the Brady Law forbidding federal agencies from collecting firearms registration records.

"That's one of the points of this suit," he said, "to prevent agencies from doing that. The law is pretty straightforward and clear, despite their intentions."


Jon E. Dougherty is a staff reporter for WorldNetDaily.

-- me (, March 23, 2000

Moderation questions? read the FAQ