Friday, August 26, 2011

Carpentry is not a crime

The other day, Gibson Guitar factories in Tennessee were raided by federal agents.  The company reports that wood, computer files, and finished guitars were taken in the raid, but no-one will tell them the charges against the company.  Indications are that because the company had some wood from India that hadn't been finished by Indian artisans, they were in violation of the Lacey Act.  Basically, if possession of the wood would have been illegal in the country it came from, then it's illegal here.

Are all of you sure that the wooden grips or stocks on your guns wasn't made from wood that could bring the weight of the government down on you? "That's a nice stock on that rifle.  Do you have proof that the company that sold it to you didn't break any laws in Turkey?  Why don't you hand it over until you can prove it's legit?"

Let's think about that for a moment.  You have a commodity or product in your possession that you purchased on the legal market here in the United States, say some Brazilian hardwood, that you want to spend a winter making furniture out of for your home.  You bought it from a reputable outlet, and have no criminal intent and no reason to suspect that the wood was harvested, processed, or exported from Brazil illegally.   Some arcane aspect of the Brazilian lumber law makes someone think that your future dining room set might be illegal if you had it in Brazil.  Let's say that Brazilian law says that a special tax on hardwoods must be paid, and you don't have a tax stamp or something from your supplier to say that the tax was paid.

So your home could be raided, your wood, tools, financial records, computers, and anything else they think was related to this "crime" could be taken, and you could be charged with a crime for possession of something that is three or four levels of separation away from its origin in South America.  You didn't cut it down or mill it.  You didn't export it to the United States and sell it.  All you did was buy it and try to use it.  The law that you are accused of breaking is outside of the control of your elected representatives, so you can't even appeal to them to get it modified or repealed.  But you're the one who got raided.  And it doesn't have to be raw lumber.  Can you prove that the Brazilian hardwood dining table you inherited from grandma was made from wood imported before these restrictions were put in place?  If not, when you are questioned, you are out a dining table, out a fine, and out of luck.

Now go back to those last two paragraphs and substitute the offending products with the following words:  gun, book, movie, recording, photograph.

If the government wants, it can try to impose the laws of another country, however diametrically opposed to our freedoms, on our citizens.  I support the efforts to stop over-logging of the world's forests, both here and abroad, and I also recognize the need for our government to work with other nations to keep their cultural and environmental treasures out of the market.  But the consumer in Kentucky should not be responsible for the bad acts of others, which may have occurred thousands of miles away and decades ago.


PISSED said...

Now look what you've done... after reading that I need a drink!

In all seriousness, I tell my friends this kind of stuff and they just look at me and say "That will never happen" but slowly and surely the water in the pot is getting warmer and warmer.

( I am going to get a beer now )

Newbius said...

When in the course of human events...

Old NFO said...

Can't legislate it, regulate it... that is their mantra...

45er said...

Thankfully, I already have a drink. It isn't helping much. See, take this whole post and think "UN Arms Treaty". Ohhhh, NOW I get it.

DaddyBear said...

The U.N. Arms Treaty didn't occur to me, but yeah, this is the warm-up act for the tactics that would be used to enforce something like that.

Heck, I've probably got enough surplus ComBlock ammunition in my basement and no receipt to show when it was imported to bring a full task force to Louisville. Something tells me I'm a piker compared to most.

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