Thursday, August 02, 2007

Hey, NC...incrementally, Big Brother is coming. The slope is indeed slippery.

I can see the path upon which our nation is headed. There are two different things in the news that indicate our path. First is North Carolina House Bill 1287, which was being strongly backed by the North Carolina Sheriffs' Association. Allegedly, they are now taking a "neutral" position on the bill, since there have been changes to the bill that would weaken the discretionary powers of the local sheriff. Of course their association will not come out and endorse anything that will take away their own power.

On a side note, our own Johnston County Sheriff, Steve Bizzell is now the president of that association. From WMPM's news page from July 30th:
Sheriff Steve Bizzell Elected NCSA President - The North Carolina Sheriffs' Association held its 85th Annual Training Conference this week in Sunset Beach , with other Sheriffs and law enforcement personnel from across the State. Sheriff Steve Bizzell of Johnston County was elected President of the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association for the upcoming 2007-2008 year. Sheriff Bizzell said, "Our Annual Training Conference allows North Carolina 's Sheriffs to discuss their experiences and learn from each other, as well as bring ourselves up-to-date on important law enforcement developments. My staff and I will use this knowledge to further serve and protect Johnston County's citizens." Bizzell told the audience, "Sheriffs in every county of North Carolina are facing tremendous challenges in carrying out their responsibilities for law enforcement and the safety of our citizens; maintenance and operation of local jails; recruiting, training and maintaining talented personnel; working with domestic situations, child abuse cases, serving civil papers, tracking sex offenders in the state, issuing weapons permits, court security, and many other areas." Also in attendance were Lieutenant Governor Beverly Perdue; State Auditor Leslie Merritt; Secretary of the NC Department of Crime Control and Public Safety, Bryan Beatty; and Chairwoman of the Governor’s Crime Commission, Linda Hayes; as well as members of the North Carolina Supreme Court and Court of Appeals. The Association Headquarters is located in Raleigh.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. From Grass Roots North Carolina:
A little refresher on the basics of HB 1287:


* REGISTER anyone who is denied a pistol purchase permit by his sheriff into a DATABASE with the State Bureau of Investigation.

* Keep the denial in the SBI database for 8 YEARS.

* Require the denial to appear in all subsequent records checks.


Unlike concealed handgun permits, which are "sheriff shall issue," sheriffs have broad latitude in denying pistol purchase permits. Reasons for which sheriffs may deny permits under G.S. 14-404--beyond finding a criminal background-can include something as simple as having applied for more purchase permits than they decide you need, or even arbitrarily deciding you are not of "good moral character."


Although HB 1287 requires the SBI to expunge data after 8 years, the bill contains **NO PROTECTIONS ABOUT WHERE THE DATA MAY BE SENT.**
Translation: If you are denied a permit for not being of "good moral character," the denial could be sent to the FBI, BATFE, local law enforcement or others who have NO OBLIGATION TO EXPUNGE THE DATA...EVER!!!

Now, let's cross the pond, so to speak and see where ideas like this have led. From the article from the British site Times Online:
Police are seeking powers to take DNA samples from suspects on the streets and for non-imprisonable offences such as speeding and dropping litter.

The demand for a huge expansion of powers to take DNA comes as a government watchdog announced the first public inquiry into the national DNA database.
Is this where we want to head? Sure, registering those denied (at arbitrary discretion) does not equate to taking DNA samples from those who are merely stopped for speeding or littering, but it is the same direction. Those who are denied firearms purchase permits here in NC are not even law breakers. At least those in the UK that would be put into a database have committed some sort of infraction. Both are inappropriate. Both are freedom grabbing and an invasion of privacy. Taking DNA samples and building a database for speeding seems ridiculous. Then again, so does being put in a database that the FBI can access for being denied a pistol purchase permit by a county sheriff.

We are indeed on the proverbial slippery slope heading into the swift river that sweeps away liberty.

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