Anti-Gun Congressman’s Guns Confiscated In Wake Of Indictment
By Tim Inwood
It came to my attention on June 12 that Congressman William Jefferson, Democrat of Louisiana, had his gun collection confiscated by the authorities in the wake of being indicted on June 8th.
Jefferson was indicted for his role in a corruption scandal involving Nigerian officials. The FBI found $90,000 in marked bills hidden in his freezer during a search of his home. The indictment was expected and there has been quite a bit of talk about this case in the media for over a year. Quite frankly, without waiting for the trial, I will admit I personally think he is as guilty as sin. The indictment and loss of his personal gun
collection could not have happened to a more deserving fellow.
Jefferson has been in Congress since 1991, and has been an ardent foe of gun owners since taking office. It is rather mind boggling that he votes the way he does, yet says he is a sportsman. He told US District Judge T.S. Ellis III that he has been an avid hunter since the age of 10. His NRA rating is nearly identical to that of Senator Charles Schumer of New York, who is obsessive on gun control. Yet despite my admission that I think he is guilty, the confiscation of his guns without a conviction is something that concerns me greatly.
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What bothers me is the fact that we now take rights
from people without due process. This goes beyond
guns, but firearms are what I will focus on today. I
don’t think anyone’s guns should be confiscated
without a felony conviction. Even someone like
Congressman William Jefferson.
For the past decade the United States has operated
under a law that I think is terrible. We have begun
confiscating firearms, and denying people the purchase of firearms without them having a criminal conviction. Back in late 1996 Congress passed the Lautenberg Amendment. This was a law pushed by Democrat Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey. This law said that if you had merely been arrested on a violent misdemeanor, been accused of making a threat or only having a restraining order “with cause” placed on you, you could not have a gun. Even a charge of disorderly conduct against a member of your household, without an
assault charge, can disqualify you from firearm
ownership now! So be careful in how you argue with your spouse.
During the debate to make this law, it was duly pointed out by the NRA and GOA that passage of this bill into law would mean many a military veteran, who would be considered heroes from service in past wars, would be affected by this. It was noted that anyone who had ever been in a foreign bar when a fight broke out, and the military police arrived, would have been processed. It was explained that scores of police officers would also be affected by this proposal and their right to own a gun, or even continue to serve as a police officer would end as a result of its passage. Some restraining orders issued with “a finding”, especially in divorce cases, would lead to weapons
disqualification. If you get a divorce, hope your
spouse is not spiteful. The Emerson Case dealt with such a divorce.
The Lautenberg Amendment passed, and it became law in March 1997. As expected, this stupid and, in my view, unconstitutional “ex post facto” law disarmed citizens who should not have been disbarred the use of firearms. An ex post facto law criminalizes behavior that was performed prior to the passage of the new law. It also increases penalties for a crime after the date of the criminal action. This is in direct contradiction to the United States Constitution and it bothers me to no end that “Lautenberg” came to be the law of the land.
The predicted problems did indeed come to pass with many a hero of WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and the Gulf War were all impacted by this awful law. Hundreds of police officers did in fact have to step down from their service in the “Thin blue line”. The Lautenberg Amendment was a huge mistake that should have never been passed into law.
One example of someone endangered by this law is a friend who was a year behind me in grade school. We were close friends when we were children as she lived across the street. She now lives in Guernsey County, Ohio with her children. Sadly her personal life is a bit of a mess. We talk from time to time and the stories frequently revolve around her many problems with her abusive ex. She is very worried for the safety of her children. I suggested she buy a gun for
protection. She told me should would, but this fellow falsely claimed she “sprayed him in the face with hair spray”, and because of this she is not Brady eligible and would not pass the NICS check. I was stunned. Hairspray apparently is a weapon now… I asked if she was arrested. She said no and that it never actually happened. He just made it up. Sadly, the Courts of Guernsey County are doing a lousy job of controlling this dangerous man. He stalks this poor woman and even hides in fields across from her house, watching her at night. He is unpredictable and she is defenseless, all
thanks to Frank Lautenberg and the accursed law that bears his name. The Senator should be ashamed. But the abashed anti-gun zealot that he is, I am sure he is proud of his abomination. I would hate to tally up the number of people who have died at the hands of criminals because they were unable to buy a gun because of his law.
So, without arrest or trial my childhood friend is
denied her right to self-defense from her crazy ex.
All because he filed a false complaint against her… It is a stunning miscarriage of justice. She is denied
her ability to protect herself and her children due to
a malicious lie. That makes me ill. Without due
process or a trial, her rights are taken. Nauseating.
I suspect some of you also know an upstanding citizen who is not eligible to own a gun now due to this ill begotten law. I doubt the current Congress, with its Democrat majority, will be interested in repealing this statute. However with Congress now working on a new bill to revamp the NICS check to deal with mental health issues, I think we need to demand “Lautenberg” be repealed as part of the deal. I truly hope a new court case will come that will overturn it. Sadly, the first time it faced scrutiny in the US Supreme Court it survived. I hope the new court with the addition of Justice Alito and Chief Justice Roberts will have a shot at it. Until then, I intend to rail against this law and to complain to Congress. Even though I doubt they will do anything about it, my old friend’s life is at stake. I will not sit by silently while this disgusting travesty remains in place.
I hope you will all join me in this effort by calling your Senators and Representatives. Perhaps together we can right this horrid injustice.
Tim Inwood is the current Legislative Liaison and Past President of the Clinton County Farmers and Sportsmen Association, an Endowment Member of the NRA, Life Member of OGCA, and a volunteer for Buckeye Firearms Association.