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SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY NEEDS TO GO


By Larry Pratt

December 8, 2006 
NewsWithViews.com

Most people in the 21st century look back on earlier times and wonder how folks could ever have believed in the divine right of kings (other than the king himself).

Well, we better wipe that condescending smile off our faces, because we are no better today right here in the good old U.S. of A.

The divine right of kings carried with it the notion that whatever the king did was OK, because the king was the law. Another way of saying the same thing is the king was considered to be above the law.

Today we have renamed this very mistaken view as the doctrine of sovereign immunity. The sovereign is immune from suffering any consequences of his acts. Sometimes the sovereign (government) graciously allows himself to be sued in specific, limited cases. But for the most part, there is no accountability for government officials who lie, cheat and steal and even on occasion, for those who commit murder. Remember Ruby Ridge, where an FBI sniper shot in cold blood a woman holding a baby?

Bob Arwady runs the Ammo Dump, a gun store in Houston, Texas. His first exposure to the abuses of sovereign immunity came from a knock on the door from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. After operating his new shooting range for police and public shooters for four months, the Commission shut him down with the threat of fining shooters $5,000 for each bullet they put in the dirt berms used as bullet traps. They claimed that they had a water sample that proved that those bullets were leaching lead in dangerous quantities into the stream behind his range and polluting water downstream.

It turns out that the signed affidavit by the Environmental Quality officer stating that he had taken the water sample was a lie. Arwady never got to use his expert toxicology witness who would have argued that metallic bullets never, ever leach. It is not soluble. Only lead salts (such as those found in lead paints) are dangerous.

Arwady's expert testimony was used last year in California to stop a new EPA attack on lead shotgun pellets.

But the lying government "scientist" never lost a day's pay, let alone served time in jail for perjury. Perhaps it is a bit much to expect a prosecutor to press charges against a perjurer he knew, or had reason to know, was lying through his teeth.

Soon after, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) brought criminal charges against Arwady. They filed nine charges claiming that he was illegally selling guns, thus serving as a source of guns used in crimes. Three witnesses were used at the trial to show that Arwady knowingly sold guns illegally (not keeping a record of the customers who bought them) and that he knowingly sold them to felons.

One of the witnesses against Arwady was a retired cop who had stolen guns from Arwady while working for him and then sold them illegally. He testified in exchange for a lesser sentence. Another witness was a gunsmith who had bought guns from Arwady even though he was a felon. Arwady dealt with him before background checks were federally mandated, when people simply asserted that they were not felons. The gunsmith also testified in exchange for the promise of a lesser sentence.

The third witness against Arwady was the parole officer who at one time had supervised the gunsmith. The BATFE (and perhaps state and county officials) pressured him to testify that he had called Arwady several times warning him that the smith was a felon. It turned out that was a flat-out lie. The parole officer had not supervised the gunsmith for a full five years before the smith began to buy guns from Arwady.

A motion by Arwady's attorney to charge the parole officer for perjury was denied by the judge. After all, a lot of BATFE agents, local cops and state and federal prosecutors might have been implicated in the lie.

At least the jury acquitted Arwady of all charges.

Now Arwady is facing the loss of his federal license to do business based on a case the BATFE has developed using information from their criminal case against Arwady. They do not even blush that this is strictly and precisely forbidden by federal law (18 U.S. C. 923 (f)

I thought it was curious that after months of deliberating, BATFE announced the day after the November 7 elections transferred control of Congress to the Democrats that the agency was going to pull Arwady's license.

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So far, Bob Arwady's direct expenses (not counting loss of business) in defending himself against a string of lying, lawbreakers with badges exceeds half a million dollars. Gun Owners Foundation will be helping Arwady with his legal expenses.

Tax-deductible donations can be made to the Foundation so it can help Bob Arwady. Donations may be made on line at Gunowners.com/donate.htm or by calling (703) 321-8585.

2006 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  

E-Mail: ldpratt@gunowners.org

Either Pratt or another GOA spokesman is available for press interviews.


 

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The divine right of kings carried with it the notion that whatever the king did was OK, because the king was the law. Another way of saying the same thing is the king was considered to be above the law.