As we enter into a new year and a new presidential administration, it might be helpful to go back this past year and look at two pieces of legislation that came before the legislators. First was HR1955. On the face of it, a little bill to help thwart homegrown terrorism. Dubbed the "Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007", it would have established a center for the study of homegrown terrorists (like Timothy McVeigh and Ted Kaczynski), established a special branch of the government to track potential American "terrorists", and made it a felony to ever discuss, even hypothetically, the use of violence against the government for political or religious motives. It passed in the House but was not brought to a vote in the Senate and therefore didn't go to the president for signature. It's supposedly being introduced with some amendments now that the House, Senate, and President are all lined up and facing the same direction. Look for that this year. Second was HR 2640, the "NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007". NICS is the registration system which lists who can or cannot purchase a firearm legally. It was successfully passed and now you can be entered into the system and denied your 2nd amendment rights if you have ever been indicted (not just convicted) of any crime punishable by over 1 year, if you've ever been in jail for longer than one year (regardless of the offense, so not just felons), any arrest, document, or medical record showing that you are addicted to unlawful substances, ever been judged "mentally defective" by a court of law or committed (voluntarily or involuntarily) to a mental institution, or been convicted of any crime of domestic violence. This is by far the largest expansion ever done to limit the purchase of firearms. While some of you may think this doesn't apply to you because you've never been in jail, never been a substance abuser, or ever been labeled a "mental defective", you should keep in mind that you can now permanently lose your 2nd amendment rights just on the accusation of a crime. As to the mental defective part, liberals argue every year that the "desire to own a gun" is a sign of mental defectiveness. In a move that would have been appreciated by Kafka, you could now be denied purchase of a handgun simply because you desire to own one. So 2009 is going to be the year to watch. This is a politically neutral warning. While some of these are sponsored by Democrats, they were cosponsored by Republicans as well, and in the case of the second was signed into law by a "conservative Republican". Many agendas are being pushed forward, bringing us closer to the survival scenario of absolute government control over our lives.