Forfeiture Endangers American Rights

Forfeiture Publications

NRA Fax Alert Reports Good News On the Hyde Bill

FEAR-List Bulletin posted by Arnold Gaunt & Brenda Grantland, 3/15/98

Great news!

The National Rifle Association announced in a Fax Alert yesterday that Representative Henry Hyde has abandoned HR 1965 -- the forfeiture expansion bill that we've been opposing -- and has returned to his original bill, HR 1835 -- the one we supported!

We were all appalled last summer, after the hearings on HR 1835, when Hyde let the Justice Department rewrite the bill, and turn it into an abomination which was renumbered HR 1965. Fortunately, DOJ's plan backfired. HR 1965 was so horrible that a number of national non-profit groups from across the political spectrum joined with us in actively opposing the bill. This was one of the rare occasions where the National Rifle Association and the ACLU both agreed on something -- and they called their members into action. Other Second Amendment groups, including Gun Owners of American, and some conservative groups finally took a stand against asset forfeiture expansion. The result of this rare coalition is that we defeated DOJ's bill! Now we've got to keep these groups working actively with us to promote HR 1835.

Please cross-post this message to other lists!

Brenda Grantland
F.E.A.R. Board Member


Subject: [Fwd: FAXALERT: 1st Amendment Not Out Of the Woods Yet]

Date: Sat, 14 Mar 1998 21:20:08 -0800
From: "Arnold J. Gaunt" <>
Organization: XMission

Please see NRA FAXALERT, below, for information on asset forfeiture bills HR 1835 and HR 1965. One thing that is not mentioned regarding HR 1965 is that it will allow foreign dictatorships to have their phony forfeiture judgments enforced by US courts.

I am pleased that this vital issue is finally receiving some long deserved attention. Legislators should be held accountable for their actions on forfeiture, especially "pro-gun" Police State Republicans (who tend to like forfeiture, no-knock warrants, warrantless searches without probable cause, and other forms of "Crime War" zealotry). We have several examples, unfortunately, in the Utah Legislature.


11250 Waples Mill Road * Fairfax, VA 22030
Vol. 5, No. 10 *Phone: 1-800-392-8683 *Fax: 703-267-3918 3/13/98


Just when we thought campaign finance "reform" was dead for the rest of this year, it has once again reared its ugly head in the United States House of Representatives. Attempts to attack your First Amendment rights were stopped on the Senate floor with a series of procedural votes at the end of February, but not having learned from the Senate, the U.S. House is now planning to bring
the issue to the floor during the week of March 23rd. The strategy isn't as clear as it was in the Senate due to the fact that there are several bills being considered, as well as the fact that there are factions in both parties who support different measures. The bottom line is any proposals being discussed presently would adversely impact your right to freedom of speech and political
involvement. It is vital that you contact your U.S. Representative and let him know that you oppose any attempt to limit your constitutional rights through so-called campaign finance reform.

Let them know that you cherish your right to be politically active, whether through volunteering your time, or choosing to contribute to candidates, political parties, or political organizations. You can contact your U.S. Representative by calling (202) 225-3121 and asking for his office. Time is of the essence, as debate on this issue is scheduled for next Monday!


After NRA voiced strong objections, U.S. House Judiciary Chairman Henry Hyde (R-Ill.) abandoned H.R. 1965, the abomination of a bill that would greatly expand the government's power to seize property, and went back to his original bill, H.R. 1835, which focused on critically-needed civil asset forfeiture reform. H.R. 1965 was written by the Clinton Justice Department and would have turned gun owners into "sitting ducks" for anti-gun prosecutors by allowing them to seize assets without even having to show probable cause that the seizure was lawful, and then allowing the government to fish around those same seized assets - through
"discovery" - in order to "justify" the seizure. In addition, this bill redefined the term "proceeds" so broadly that ALL of an individual's property would be subject to seizure if he was suspected of violating certain laws. Such a definition openly invites abuse. H.R. 1835, on the other hand, would stop the government from being able to unlawfully seize a gun shop's entire business and to subject a citizen to extreme costs to fight the largest law firm in the world - the United States Department of Justice. Act now to protect your freedom and your constitutional rights! Call your U.S. Representative and ask him to support H.R. 1835 - the real civil asset forfeiture reform bill that will protect the fundamental property rights of innocent gun owners and firearms businesses.


In our FAX Alert from Feb. 20 (Vol. 5, No. 7), we reported on an anti-gun attack on the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) by 23 U.S. Representatives. We also stated that NRA was working with pro-gun federal lawmakers to write a response to the letter sent by the anti-gunners to the Acting Secretary of the Army Robert M. Walker. The response letter was submitted earlier this week, at the initiation of U.S. Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), and was signed by 24 U.S. Senators and 60 U.S. Representatives, almost quadrupling the number of signatures on the original attack letter.

Citing the fact that rifles of any kind are rarely used in crimes, let alone U.S. origin surplus military firearms such as the M1 Carbine, and that "[t]he CMP has been operating independently and well within the boundaries of the law," the 84 federal lawmakers urged the Secretary not to interfere with the CMP. Also regarding the CMP, their Board has recently approved a change to one aspect of its purchasing policy. Previously, a qualified member of a CMP-affiliated club or state association could only purchase one M1 Garand in his lifetime. However, the CMP Board recently decided to change to a one-per-calendar-year policy. This is good news for collectors of these pieces of American firearms history, although it has not yet been determined when this change will go into affect. For more information on the CMP, please call the Grassroots Division at 1-800-392-8683 and request our Fact Sheet on this program. You can also visit the CMP website at for details on how you can participate in this program.


COLORADO: Earlier this week, HB 1170, NRA-supported range protection, was unanimously reported out of the Senate Local Government Committee. It now moves to the full Senate for consideration. Please call your State Senators at (303) 866-2316 and urge them to support HB 1170.

CONNECTICUT: In the wake of the tragic Lottery shootings, the State Legislature is searching for ways to prevent such tragedies from occurring in the future. Unfortunately, the anti-gunners in the Legislature are using this tragic event to promote schemes that diminish your rights, not enhance public safety. The provisions included in HB 5746 would have done nothing to prevent this tragic event or similar events. HB 5746 includes mandatory trigger locks on all guns sold (even private sales), a ban on small affordable handguns, mandatory fingerprint checks at the local & state levels prior to obtaining your certificate of eligibility or carry permit, handgun tracing, and the invasion of your private medical records just to own a firearm. You are a law-abiding citizen! Do not let your legislative representatives use this unfortunate event as a vehicle to impose these restrictions, invasions of privacy, and bans on your rights. Please call your Democrat Sens. at (800) 842-1420, your Republican Sens. at (800) 842-1421, your Democrat Reps. at (800) 842-1423 and Republican Reps. (800) 842-1902 and urge them to oppose HB 5746.

ILLINOIS: Tuesday, March 17, is primary election day. Please go to the polls and support those candidates that support our firearm freedoms. For candidate endorsements please contact NRA-ILA's Grassroots Division 1-800-392-8683.

MARYLAND: The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee will hold their gun day on Wednesday, March 18, at 1:00 p.m. in room 300 of the James Senate Office Bldg. If you wish to testify, you must sign up prior to the hearing time. As on the House side, the Senate Committee will consider some of the most restrictive bills we face this session, so it is critical that as many gun owners and sportsmen as possible attend and show our strong opposition. For a complete listing of gun bills call NRA-ILA's Grassroots Division at 1-800-392-8683.

RHODE ISLAND: As early as next week, the House Judiciary Committee is expected to debate and vote on several very restrictive gun control bills. These bills are being spearheaded by Representative Marsha Carpenter (D-18) and are backed by both Governor Almond (R) and the State Police. The package of anti-gun bills include among other things licensing and registration schemes, outlawing the private transfer of firearms, and creation of a new gun regulation enforcement bureaucracy under the State Police, complete with its very own "Gun Czar". Please call the members of the Committee at (401) 222-1478 and strongly urge them to oppose the entire anti-gun agenda in the House Judiciary Committee.

WASHINGTON: Three bills are awaiting Governor Locke's (D) signature. HB 1541, NRA-supported range protection legislation; HB 1408, which would allow Washington to recognize out-of-state carry permits; and HB 2969, which provides an exemption from sales tax on the purchase of a gun safe. Please contact Governor Locke at (360) 902-4111and politely urge him to sign these measures.

WISCONSIN: Good News! AJR 11, the proposed right to keep and bear arms amendment to the state constitution, received final approval by the full Senate yesterday on a 28-4 vote. Within the next few weeks the Legislature will decide whether the question will appear on the Sept. 8, 1998 primary election ballot or the Nov. 3, 1998 general election ballot. We'll keep you posted.


This information is provided as a service of the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action, Fairfax, VA.
This and other information on the Second Amendment and the NRA is available at: http://WWW.NRA.Org