Senate bill seizes guns

Senate bill seizes guns

By Joe Baker

By Joe Baker

Senior Editor

The Illinois State Rifle Association has issued an advisory and warning to firearms owners in the state. It concerns SB 1438, passed last week by the U.S. Senate. The bill is called the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2002.

The association said this bill should be of grave concern to hunters and sport shooters.

Section 1062 of this measure gives the Secretary of Defense the authority to require “demilitarization” of “significant military equipment” that once was owned by the Department of Defense.

That provision covers all firearms, such as the Garand M-1 rifle, the M-1 Carbine, and Model 1911, as well as all Civilian Marksmanship Program rifles, (even sport-modified surplus bolt-action Springfield rifles); firearms parts, such as barrels, bolts, triggers, firing pins, sights and other items; ammunition and ammunition components; and accessories such as cleaning rods, oilers, and even cleaning brushes.

The bill allows for disabling of these items to be carried out either by the owner or by a third party, with the owner or the DOD paying the cost.

If the DOD determines it should perform demilitarization, it may also determine that the cost of returning the demilled item is too great and simply keep it. The owner would be reimbursed only for the scrap value.

This bill also requires private citizens to determine whether an item they own is subject to this process and, if they fail to comply, they would face criminal charges. There is no obligation on the DOD’s part to notify citizens that items they may have owned for years or that have been in their families for generations, are subject to demilitarization.

U.S. military surplus has been regularly and legally bought, sold and traded for many, many years. It is likely millions of law-abiding Americans will be affected and could, unknowingly, become criminals overnight without having done anything or ever having been informed of this requirement.

The rifle association said the DOD already has the authority and obligation to demilitarize any item it sells as surplus, so there is no legitimate reason to seek new authority to seize and destroy lawfully sold and lawfully owned items that are the property of private citizens.

The association urges gun owners to contact their U.S. senators at (202) 224-3121 and U.S. representatives at (202) 225-3121 and urge them to strike Section 1062 from this bill, Senate Bill 1438.

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