By Larry PrattAugust 29, 2008
A June 8 murder of two young people in rural Waleetka has provided the excuse for the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) to behave as if the Bill of Rights is an impediment to be overcome in order to employ effective police procedures.
In their search for the killer, the OSBI sent a letter to some sixty owners of .40 caliber handguns (the same caliber as used by the murderer) in the community where the victims had lived. The letter "invited" the owners to bring the guns in for testing.
This letter raises disturbing questions.
The first question is -- what is the probable cause that would justify sending the letter to the selected handgun owners? If there were probable cause, why were no warrants obtained per the Fourth Amendment?
For the twenty or so owners who have not responded to the "invitation," will they be forced to testify against themselves (in violation of the Fifth Amendment) in some second phase of the investigation? If they do not comply with a warrantless "invitation," will the OSBI agents tell us that that now gives them probable cause? This sounds like a dragnet, not an investigation.
The second question is, where did the police get a registration list of Oklahoma gun owners? This violation of the Second Amendment should outrage every gun owner, indeed, every freedom-loving citizen of the state.
The third question is, why does OSBI think that a registered gun will lead them to the murderer? I will repeat now what I told the media during the Beltway Sniper murder spree in 2002. Cops will find the murderer's gun (if they ever find it) when they find the murderer.
How can cops in the gun-friendly state of Oklahoma be so clueless? A policewoman called in to a Philadelphia talk show I was doing years ago. She stated that in her 26 years on the force she had never arrested a criminal who had used a registered gun.
OSBI agents should be sent back to school. What they are doing to Oklahoma gun owners is not only constitutionally offensive, it is a waste of time. They have put themselves into the same ridiculous club whose membership includes Montgomery County, Maryland’s former police chief, Charles Moose.
Chief Moose led an investigation similar to that of the OSBI's. His officers got a registration list of Maryland suburban gun owners who had bought rifles that used the same caliber as the Muslims who were conducting their Beltway Sniper jihad. Moose was convinced that the murderer was a disgruntled white man (similar to one of the voters whom Obama complains bitterly that cling to their guns and Bibles) driving a white panel truck.
Well, I was right and Moose was wrong. When some truckers found the murderers, it turned out that they were two black converts to Islam who were asleep in their grey sedan. One of them was cradling the murder weapon.
Where did Chief Moose get his registration list? From the same place the OSBI got their registration list. Government agents can rummage through the names and addresses of gun owners in the name of fighting crime -- and they get this information from the records the federal government unconstitutionally requires firearms dealers to maintain.
Gun owners should be aware that historically, registration lists have never been used to solve crimes, but they have made dandy tools for disarming the subjects of a dictatorship. Think Cuba (under Fidel Castro), Uganda (under Idi Imin), Cambodia (under Pol Pot), China (under Mao Tse Dung), Germany (under Adolph Hitler) and Russia (under Vladimir Lenin).
Chief Moose and the OSBI have provided, and are providing, more proof (as if we needed it) that registration is not a crime fighting tool.
The 1968 Gun Control Act imposed the decentralized, but very real, national registration system that now records all gun owners who buy a gun from a dealer. That is why Gun Owners of America has always opposed the 1968 Gun Control Act and has asked Congress to dismantle this threat to freedom -- a scheme that is not even an effective crime-fighting tool.
Without an unconstitutional registration list at their disposal, OSBI would not have had this opportunity to trample on the Bill of Rights -- and embarrass themselves in public.
© 2008 Larry Pratt - All Rights Reserved
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Larry Pratt has been Executive Director of Gun Owners of America for 27 years. GOA is a national membership organization of 300,000 Americans dedicated to promoting their second amendment freedom to keep and bear arms.
He published a book, Armed People Victorious, in 1990 and was editor of a book, Safeguarding Liberty: The Constitution & Militias, 1995. His latest book, On the Firing Line: Essays in the Defense of Liberty was published in 2001.
The GOA web site is: gunowners.org. Pratt's weekly talk show Live Fire is archived there at: www.gunowners.org/radio.htm
Either Pratt or another GOA spokesman is available for press interviews.