Friday, July 1, 2011

Feinstein's No Guns For Gulag Survivors Act of 2011

If one goes by the press release sent out the esteemed senior Senator from California, then any person convicted of a felony overseas for a crime that would also be a felony in the United States would not be eligible to own a firearm.

Opposition to an authoritarian state and agitating for democratic reforms is probably considered treason in countries like Cuba, the former Soviet Union, and others of their ilk. Treason is most definitely a crime in United States courts. So by Senator Feinsten's reasoning, if you were convicted of treason and sent to the gulag for opposing a Communist state (and somehow survived), you were convicted of a felony in a foreign court thus are ineligible to own a firearm if you make it here as a political refugee.

I'm sure she and her fellow travelers would object to this example but unless she carves out an exception for political crimes then it would apply. Of course, what you have to do to be convicted of treason in the United States is not the same as what it would take in Cuba.
Feinstein: Prevent Foreign Felons From Obtaining Firearms

“Cannot continue to give foreign-convicted murderers, rapists and terrorists the right to buy firearms in the United States”

Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today introduced legislation to close a loophole in current law to ensure that individuals convicted of foreign felonies and crimes—including domestic violence—cannot possess firearms in the United States.

Under current federal law, people who are convicted in the United States of violent felonies like rape, murder and terrorism are prohibited from possessing firearms. However, the law does not currently prohibit criminals convicted of these same violent crimes in foreign courts from possessing guns.

“America cannot continue to give foreign-convicted murderers, rapists and even terrorists the right to buy firearms in the United States,” said Senator Feinstein. “It makes no sense to have a law that forbids convicted Americans from possessing a firearm, but leaves the door wide open for foreign convicts to possess a firearm in our country. We must close this loophole before it is exploited by terrorists, drug gangs, and other dangerous criminals who threaten our communities.”

The No Firearms for Foreign Felons Act of 2011 would make it clear that if someone was convicted in a foreign court of an offense that would have disqualified them from possessing a gun in the United States, then they will be similarly disqualified from gun possession under American law.

This loophole for foreign convicts is the result of a 2005 U.S. Supreme Court decision in the case of Small v. United States. In that case, the Court analyzed the 1968 Gun Control Act, which states that anyone who has been convicted of a felony “in any court” cannot possess firearms. The Court concluded the phrase only applied to American courts, despite the fact the Gun Control Act had routinely been applied to foreign felonies since 1968, the year it took effect.
As it is, many criminal offenses committed overseas including the ones that Sen. Feinstein specifies in her press release are a bar from even entering the United States legally. You cannot be given a visa for a whole host of reasons including having engaged in any terrorist activity, having been convicted of prostitution, and, of course, murder and rape. And that is just for visitors. Immigration requires an even higher bar to jump over.

Since this is the case, why introduce a bill that applies to virtually no one who is here legally? Could it be that Senator Feinstein is trying get more publicity for one of her pet causes, i.e, gun control? The multitudes of illegal aliens in her home state of California are already precluded from purchasing a firearm. In case she doesn't realize it, that is one of the questions on the ATF Form 4473.

Sebastian at Snowflakes in Hell has more on Feinstein and "the foreign felon loophole hobby horse".

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