House of Representatives passes Bill, enables restriction of 2nd Amendment right

Without fanfare, and well below the radar of almost everyone, the House of Representatives has just enabled New York State (and any other State contributing to the NICS database) to violate HIPAA laws and revoke gun permits without justification or cause. It sounds too crazy to be true, and most would think that defenders of the 2nd Amendment would prevent such a violation of rights to occur, but that is not the case.

2nd Amendment
We first learned of this from Gun Owners of America. In a post on their website they highlight HR 4660 and specifically H Amd 704. It is the Amendment that is critical to gun owners across the nation and especially in New York State. H Amd 704 will provide $19.5 million to States to update the National Instant Criminal Background Check system.

Let’s pause for a few details.

HR 4660 is a boring and relatively bland appropriations Bill that will fund various agencies of the Government. It was passed 5/30/14, in a vote of 321-87 (NY-22 Rep. Richard Hanna voted to pass this Bill). This Bill, like most, contained Amendments to it – in this case 84 of them.

H Amd 704 authorized spending $19.5 million to encourage States to voluntarily add names of citizens to the National Instant Criminal Background Check system (NICS).

What is NICS?

NICS is a database that is used at the point of sale of a firearm. Anyone on this list will be denied the ability to own a firearm. In addition, those on the database with a firearms permit can have that permit revoked and the firearm confiscated. The list is meant for those:

  • Convicted or under indictment of a crime punishable by 1 year imprisonment
  • A fugitive
  • Has been adjudicated as a mental defective or committed to a mental institution
  • Is subject to a court order that restrains the person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner or child of such intimate partner

    There are other conditions that could cause a person to be added to this list, but for the purpose of this article we will stop here. The 3rd item is the one that matter to those in NYS, as per the NY Safe Act. According to Jim Tresmond of Tresmond Law Firm, on the Tom Bauerle Show – WBEN 930AM, citizens are having their firearm permits revoked,

    “That is a fact. We are representing a client right now, who is been impacted by this onerous activity of the Government.” – Jim Tresmond

    How is this happening?

    Apparently, New York State is searching medical records of firearm permit holders – in violation of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) and the 4th Amendment – without cause, and isolating those receiving psychiatric care and (at least) anti-anxiety medication. These individuals, a full tally of which is currently unknown, are thus having their firearm license revoked and firearms confiscated. All without any incident, violation of law, or other factor involved. All under the power of the NY Safe Act.

    So what does this have to do with HR 4460 and H Amd 704? This is how it all ties together.

    Since 2007, Congress has paid States that voluntarily add people to the NICS database. The reasoning is, as sponsor Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) states,

    “Our states need more resources to get all their information into the NICS system,” Thompson said. “If we give them these resources, we can stop dangerous people from getting guns. And we can save lives.”

    It should be noted that the NICS has never been proven to have prevented a single mass shooting ever. There is large debate if the database can ever prevent a mass shooting, no matter how many are placed upon it. Which says nothing of the debate about the impact the NICS has on criminal possession and use of firearms.

    But, back to the point at hand. The NICS database has been limited by the need for funding, which H Amd 704 will increase. New York State is using the NICS, and the NY Safe Act, to revoke licenses and restrict the 2nd Amendment rights of Americans, without cause and in violation of HIPAA law. NYS will now be able to increase the number of people that it will violate the rights of if HR 4660 becomes law – which is likely.

    As for the defenders of the 2nd Amendment? Like say the NRA or members of Congress like Rep. Richard Hanna, who has proudly promoted his NRA rating in his bid to be re-elected?

    Well in regard to the NRA and H Amd 704, the NRA had no position as of 5/29/14.

    Rep. Richard Hanna
    Rep. Richard Hanna and 13 Republicans, as well as 11 Democrats, had no position either way. They neither voted for nor against H Amd 704, and its potential to restrict the 2nd Amendment rights of Americans. 142 Republicans and 3 Democrats voted against the funding and imposition on the 2nd Amendment. Thus H Amd 704 passed and is part of HR 4660.

    That left another chance for Rep. Richard Hanna, and other “defenders” of the 2nd Amendment to prevent States like New York from violating the rights of Americans. All they had to do is vote NAY on HR 4660. If nothing else it would serve to prove they are reading the Bills they are voting on. It would show they are standing by the very convictions some, like Rep. Hanna, are asking voters to re-elect them for.

    Rep. Hanna and 203 Republicans, 117 Democrats as well, voted to pass HR 4660 – and H Amd 704 with it – on 5/30/14.

    So to conclude, very quietly, the House of Representatives has just taken a step to enable New York State to increase the number of American citizens – without criminal actions or incidents – that it will restrict the 2nd Amendment rights of. Passage of HR 4660 is likely in the Senate, and removal of H Amd 704 unlikely. Thus Congress is poised to help violate the rights of Americans across the nation potentially, and very realistically in New York State.

    Does this sound like what you elected your member of Congress for? Is this the defending of the 2nd Amendment you were told about on the campaign trail? Does this reflect your views and that of your neighbors/co-workers/friends?

    You can do nothing, now that you know. You could re-elect the various members of Congress that either didn’t read the Bill or just don’t think the public is smart enough to understand what is happening.

    OR, you can vote for an accountable and credible voice of the people in the primaries and mid-term elections this year. You can write a letter to your member of Congress, expressing that you are paying attention to what they are – or are not – doing in your name. You can join an organization of like minded people.

    You can do any of the above, if you want. But if you do nothing, especially in New York, especially if Rep. Richard Hanna is your Congressman, then don’t be surprised if tomorrow there is a knock at your door and the Government is there ready to take away your rights.

  • About the Author

    Michael Vass
    Born in 1968, a political commentator for over a decade. Has traveled the U.S. and lived in Moscow and Tsblisi, A former stockbroker and 2014 Congressional candidate. Passionate about politics with emphasis on 1st and 2nd Amendments.

    27 Comments on "House of Representatives passes Bill, enables restriction of 2nd Amendment right"

    1. James Crane | June 1, 2014 at 7:26 am |

      hanna is a RINO!!

    2. Due to many recent events related to mental instability and deaths of innocent americans. What would you think is the most prudent step to follow? Shall we wave a magic wand and hope that eveyone turns in a weapon before shooting someone else? I am all for gun rights, but at what level are we going to say enough is enough. We are supposed to be intelligent beings… Aren’t we? So if we are so bright, then when will we stand up and say enough innocent killings. How many lives do we have to loose, how many inventors, Einsteins, Poets, or dare we say it, Leaders, do we have to loose from our futures?

      It’s about time that someone stands for Common sense and intelligence. And not for gun sales, and all the goodies that go with it.

      When will mankind stop the lunacy, and use the grey matter between his ears for more then a space keeper. We make movies and shows about an enlightened future society, but we’ll be damned to try to start early. No one says you have to wait until the year 3000 to be enlighten. Get rid of the politics, and religious aspects of these topics, and use the intelligence you have to make the nation and the world a better place.

    3. Ken,

      First, thank you for your comment.

      As for your concern, you misunderstand and assume things not said. No where in the article is there a statement made that says the NICS is inherently bad, nor that there should not be restrictions on those that may pose a danger to society.

      At the same time, there is nothing existing that shows the NICS has ever prevents a mass shooting, and a great deal of evidence that criminals and those who are mentally unstable are able to access firearms (and other weapons or tools used as weapons) without a license or prior possession of a firearm. So let us not delude ourselves into believing that a federal list will suddenly provide safety. The fact is that neither the NY Safe Act, nor all the provisions of the 23 Executive Orders enacted by President Obama, have made anyone safer. That reality sadly has been proven.

      That said, I agree that we need to do something. A focus on the actual root causes of these mass murders might help. Significant penalties (like jail time and/or the death sentence may help as well) is another step in a better direction. Perhaps even having the major news media tone down the de facto glamorizing and instant celebrity these horrific event cause is yet another thing that can be done. But I never claim to be smart enough to know the full answer by myself.

      Also, creating laws that only affect law-abiding citizens does nothing towards resolving the core factors of the problem, nor even the short-term problems. All it does is leave the law abiding citizenry defenseless. No criminal or mentally unstable person has ever been stopped by a gun-free zone, but sadly there have been some people who have been harmed because in following the law they were unable to defend themselves.

      But to the point of the article, no one is served by ANY State that abuses it’s power and restricts the freedoms of the public for the mere purpose of placating the political agendas of a small portion of people. Federal funds (which totals in the tens of millions – the $19.5 million in the amendment is additional funding not the total) will allow more of such abuse in New York State (I can only speak of the State I live in, others need to check the laws of their State and what authorities are doing there), under the “validation” of the NY Safe Act. This is wrong.

      The fact that Rep. Richard Hanna, who is actively seeking re-election in part on his NRA rating, ignored the vote with full knowledge of the ramifications of the NY Safe Act is inexcusable. The fact he further voted for the overall Bill, with this Amendment attached only further adds salt to the wound. Those in other States can decide for themselves how they feel about their Representatives actions on the amendment and the overall Bill.

      Ultimately the point is that we need to address the real problem, without further empowering a Government that is actively abusing its power and overreaching under the shield of a delusion of safety that is never going to be the result of the action. Common sense say fix the problem, not hide it and create a separate problem.

      But I thank you for your attention Ken. Hopefully, as this gains more attention, our politicians will take actions that will really provide some safety while protecting our freedoms. To that end, please contact your Representative and make them aware of your concerns and any solutions you might suggest. The more we pay attention the better things will be, but we gain nothing if we allow our politicians to try and slip things past us without comment.


      Michael Vasquez

    4. Ronald Burcham | June 1, 2014 at 8:31 pm |

      The Republicans are liars. Boehner is a traitor and should be impeached. Making it through the House will practically guarantee it will make it to the desk of the liar in chief in the White House.

      Incrementalism to a progressive is two steps forward and one step back.

    5. Ronald,

      Thank you for your comment.

      I understand your anger about how our elected officials are carrying out their duties. I share, in part, that anger. Which is why I ran from April 2013 – April 2014 for Congress. It’s why I endorsed Claudia Tenney for the NY 22nd Congressional District, over Rep. Hanna who failed to serve the people in this issue (and others in my opinion).

      I would advise you to do the same thing. If you feel that your elected politicians are failing you, run against them. Or support a better candidate. Make people aware of what they are failing to do. Suggest better legislation. It’s not a perfect answer, but it can make a difference.

      Most of all vote what you believe. Our votes can make a difference, but only if we cast them.


      Michael Vasquez

    6. Even though this was passed by the house, it’s still not law. If any state violates HIPPA, it will set them up for a massive lawsuit that will probably be as big as Heller. NYS will probably do just that and with any luck the unSAFE act will get tossed.

    7. Ken, Ive worked in the medical field my whole life, its important to realize that there is a big difference between “mentally unstable” and someone that is simply taking anti-anxiety medication or someone that has ever seen a doctor for a mental issue before.

      it’s also important to remember that everything related to mass attacks is already illegal, yet the madmen weren’t stopped. For example, Sandy Hook happened with stolen weapons.

      So this new law is another one that punishes the law abiding citizens and does nothing to stop criminals from carrying out attacks.

      Gun control: the illusion of action.

    8. Ken w. You are correct we are supposed to be intelligent beings. I would think that any intelligent being would understand that the gun is just a vehicle for a mentally disturbed person to use as a tool of destruction. So if they didn’t have access to that and started using slingshots or pressure cookers or vehicles should the government ban those also? How many people are killed by drunk drivers every day? Should we ban the cars that are being used? I am not willing to loose my rights in order for you to feel a sense of false safety.

    9. Spending 19 million for something that still will not do any good…. and never has

      We could spend that money to place armed guards in so called gun free zones and actually have a chance at stopping these madmen

    10. Adam,

      Actually the $19.5 million is additional funding. The total is approx $78 million – though I agree that the use in this case is poor.

    11. It’s not HIPPA it’s HIPAA changes the credibility of your journalism if you know your acronyms!!!

    12. TO EDITOR: corrections, NICS and HIPAA are spelled incorrectly in some places here.

    13. @Ken W , Doing something for the sake of doing something is the most ignorant thing anyone can do.

    14. Ken W,

      Can you direct me to your posts about banning cars and knives?

      If it doesn’t exist, your comments are truly pointless.

    15. Adam R thanks for weighing in. Your statements are correct, that having been prescribed certain medications for some past condition is NOT necessarily a disqualifying event, or should not be. What appears to be happening in New York is a serious abuse of illegal informatin gathering and processing under colour of law, and using that colour of law to seriously violate individual rights guaranteed under our laws.. the right to arms, to being secure in our persons, houses, papers, effects, and of due process (confronging testimony against us, providing testimony on our own behalf). WHERE are the legal forces to prohibit NYS from this intrusion? WHY are they getting a pass in their clear and egregious violation of clear Federal law (HIPPA)? And how is it hhat state officaials are able to elevate themselves to the positin of medical experts and make adverse judgements against residents of their state?

      And some people wonder why we are so adamantly opposed to things like registration, owner lists or permits, and such. The more individual owners they have on their lists, the more enabled they are to come and take away our personal property, the ownership of which is protected under the supreme law of this land. If New Yorksrs continue to accept and allow their government to so abuse them, they, and odds are great, the rest of us, are doomed to total gun confiscation… exepting, of course, for the armed gumming goonsquads, and criminals. But I rather expect there will be a LOT more members of that latter class as this mostrosity continues.As of the morning of 19th APril 1775, every patriot colonist was guilty of felony treason, and unlawful possession of arms, per King George Three…. and we know how that played out for him. May it be so again if New York does not turn round this monster and send it back to from whence it came. Permanently.

    16. I apologize, we will correct this shortly.

    17. Fast typing and bad review. It happens and proves we are just human here too.

    18. The two cents from my soapbox says that there were precursors ignored by those who are paid to pay attention and ACT…All the mass shooters back to the 90’s all had a history of child animal abuse.
      My strong suggestion is pour the wasted money from the non-working programs in place, and funnel that into the primary schools for systems to deal with identifying these different and curable behaviors and turn this around…

    19. You have no more rights than the ones you’re willing to enforce. Sooner or later, New Yorkers will enforce the Constitution and put a permanent end to their lawlessness.

    20. This is unbelievable and I , for one, don’t believe one word of it. It’s a sham!!!!

    21. Cornice,

      We are sorry to inform you that the information is accurate. We provided direct links to every source available, just so you can check it yourself and draw your own conclusions. Your shock is understandable though. Such are the actions of some of our politicians, and our Government, when they think no one is watching. But now that you know, will you just ignore it, blindly vote without reviewing those up for re-election, or take action (including with your vote)? That choice is yours.

    22. Okay, How much was in the big bag of $$$ that the traitors were paid? WHAT is it that they don’t understand about the Constitutional LAW that says clearly that the 2ND. AMENDMENT SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED?

    23. linda sturdivant | June 5, 2014 at 11:54 am |

      the government is slowly taking control of the people,but no-one seems to notice or cares…but about guns,mental,medication..I think everybody is on some sort of medicine.Everybody that wants to has the RIGHT to own a gun.And always when a person kills another they plea “mentally ill”..Guns don’t kill people..Drugs don’t kill people..PEOPLE KILL PEOPLE…I think it is sad that the politicians that the people voted for will not represent them..If i understand this right;they did not even read it..We need people who are not afraid stand up,,say something./sorry!

    24. Michael,

      I read the text of the bill and I did not see where HIPPA laws and privacy protections were to be violated. I saw language for additional funding for the NICS and for states to get that data into it but NOTHING regarding HIPPA privacy laws.

      Please clarify where this language is written.

    25. Bruce,

      I never said the increase in funding was directly involved with the violations of HIPPA. In fact I said the NY State is violating HIPPA via NY Safe Act, and the increased funding from H Amd 704 enables increased violation. I was clear on this in the writing.

    26. The state of CA has been doing this for at least the last year or two. If a gun owner even sees a therapist (lets say, to cope with the loss of a loved one, or something), even once, or is prescribed even sleeping pills, they receive a visit from a special task force intent on taking their guns, even if the gun owner’s spouse is the one receiving the treatment. They don’t have warrants, but rather rely on intimidation to get in the house. Then they conduct an open-ended search. And if you are cooperative and hand over your guns, they arrest you. HOORAY FOR FREEDOM!

    27. Try as you like, but you will never get the guns out of peoples hands. The second amendment give us a right to bear arm

    Thank you for lending your voice. We appreciate hearing what you have to say.

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