Παρασκευή, 5 Απριλίου 2013

ACLU: Unhappy with Background Checks in Potential Reid Gun Control Bill


The ACLU talks some sense about gun control, civil liberties,
and privacy, as
reported by Daily Caller
:




As Senate Democrats struggle to build support for new gun
control legislation, the American Civil Liberties Union now says
it’s among those who have “serious concerns” about the
bill....


In an exclusive interview with The Daily Caller, a top lobbyist
for the ACLU announced that the group thinks Reid’s current gun
bill could threaten both privacy rights and civil liberties.


The inclusion of universal background checks — the poll-tested
lynchpin of most Democratic proposals — “raises two significant
concerns,” the ACLU’s Chris Calabrese told TheDC Wednesday.



While not against background checks in all cases, Calabrese
says:



“However, we also believe those checks have to be conducted in a
way that protects privacy and civil liberties. So, in that regard,
we think the current legislation, the current proposal on
universal background checks raises two significant concerns,” he
went on.


“The first is that it treats the records for private purchases
very differently than purchases made through licensed sellers.
Under existing law, most information regarding an
approved purchase is destroyed within 24 hours when a licensed
seller does a [National Instant Criminal Background Check System]
check now,” Calabrese said, “and almost all of it is destroyed
within 90 days.”


Calabrese wouldn’t characterize the current legislation’s
record-keeping provision as a “national gun registry” — which the
White House has denied pursuing — but he did say that such a
registry could be “a second step.”



He notes that government databases sometimes stretch in use
beyond their original intent.



Calabrese says that [Nevada Democratic Senate leader Harry]
Reid’s legislation fails to include...“privacy best practices.”


“Contrast this with what the existing [Reid] legislation says,
which is simply that a record has to be kept of a private
transfer,” Calabrese highlighted, “and it doesn’t have any of the
protections that we have in current law
for existing licensees.”


“We think that that kind of record-keeping requirement could
result in keeping long-term detailed records of purchases and
creation of a new government database.”


“And they come to use databases for all sorts of
different purposes,” Calabrese said. “For example, the
National Counterterrorism Center recently gave itself the
authority to collect all kinds of existing federal databases
and performed terrorism related searches regarding those databases.
They essentially exempted themselves from a lot of existing Privacy
Act protections.”....


Reid’s legislation is hauntingly vague about who would
physically keep information about American gun purchases, but it’s
crystal clear that records will be kept.



While I'd rather the ACLU consistently take on gun laws head-on
as restrictions on an explicit constitutional civil liberty, it's
nice to see they care.

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