June 22, 2012
Word on the blogosphere has it that the MAP-21 transportation bill allows the federal government to revoke the Second Amendment of citizens accused of not paying taxes.
S. 1813 or MAP-21 (short for Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century) was sponsored by California Democrat Barbara Boxer and passed in the Senate earlier this year. It is described as a “bill to reauthorize Federal-aid highway safety construction programs, and for other purposes.”
Critics argue that “hidden legislative jargon” in the bill gives the IRS the authority to grab anybody’s passport who is accused of owing $50,000 or more in delinquent taxes.
“According to the text of the bill, if the IRS Secretary is informed by the Commissioner that an individual owes $50,000 or more, the Secretary is authorized to have the head of the State Department revoke the individual’s passport. In other words, get audited and have your passport revoked now, fight for your due process later,”Helen Whalen Cohen wrote in April, a month after the bill cleared the hurdles and became law. Specifically, the tax provisions of the bill are a direct violation of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution.
A post on the Franklin County Va. Patriots blog reports that gun rights activists are also concerned the government will use additional legalese in the bill to deny the Second Amendment to gun owners also behind taxes the IRS claims they owe.
According to the blog, activists are worried about pages 1320-1324 in the MAP-21 bill:
This subsection is entitled, “Firearms.” While the wording is in obscure legalese, it seems to be saying that the person designated as “the Secretary” is given broad powers over permits and the revocation of permits. And this power is described under the section that specifically deals with firearms.
Lawyers may debate whether or not the wording of the bill gives the IRS the power to suspend gun rights. But government watchdogs have become alarmed over the tendency of legislation to be written in such a manner as to create broad leeway for interpretation, meaning that nebulous wording often leads to an interpretation of the law that confirms the suspicions of many citizens that the federal government is relentlessly engaged in power grabs aimed at limiting the Constitutional rights of Americans.
The New American covered the prospect of the IRS imposing firearm restrictions on Americans accused of owing the government money. “The broad language found within this provision has raised concerns among those who believe the Secretary could use the interpretive powers defined here to revoke permits to transport guns and ammunition in all realms of transportation,” Raven Clabough wrote on April 25.
Language in the bill is, at best, ambiguous, as the Franklin County Va. Patriots blog notes, but considering numerous efforts by the federal government to roll back not only the Second Amendment but entire sections of the Bill of Rights, we cannot dismiss the rising tide of concern about yet another sneak attack on the right to possess firearms as merely a paranoid conspiracy theory.
Additional resources on IRS tax passport restriction