(Janine Hansen spent the four months of the legislature’s term battling on behalf of Nevadans. Over the new few days, we’ll update you on her complete report. Part 1 follows. – Ed.)
(Janine Hansen/Nevada Families Eagle Forum) – One of our most important victories was the defeat of AB552, which provided for the taking of DNA upon arrest instead of conviction. This bill was a serious departure from our Constitutional protection of innocent until proven guilty. In considering this legislation, the question must be asked: Do you want Obama to have your DNA?
Section 3 sub 4 of AB552 stated, “The identification characteristics resulting from the genetic marker analysis must be stored and maintained by the forensic laboratory in CODIS.” CODIS is the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System.
If you have been arrested for a felony but not convicted, even if you are innocent, your DNA remains in the federal database system. This is because a State has no right and no power to demand that a citizen’s DNA be removed from the FBI’s database, CODIS.
Placing innocent people’s DNA in a federal database crosses the line and turns the database into a tool for surveillance instead of a tool for investigating crimes. DNA is not like a fingerprint. It is an individual’s entire genetic blueprint. In Nevada, felonies include such things as writing a bad check, unlawful interception of cable TV service, and dozens of other non-violent crimes.
Some might say, “I have done nothing wrong so I have no need to worry.” I was arrested for petitioning!
Do you trust the government? Our state and local law enforcement have become co-opted agents of the federal government through federal grants of dollars, mandates, and cooperative agreements.
Have you seen the Federal Homeland Security Department’s Report on Domestic Terrorists? According to Homeland Security, if you are pro-life, pro-gun, pro-family, a Christian, opposed to illegal immigration, opposed to NAFTA, GATT, WTO, believe in end-times prophecy, a returning Veteran, or store food, you are a potential Domestic Terrorist!
AB552 was called the “Briana Dennison Bill.” Because of her tragic rape and murder, some feel that it might have been prevented if we had a law requiring DNA specimen collection upon arrest.
We completely empathize with her family and friends, fully understanding that it could have been our daughter or granddaughter who was brutally victimized. However, high profile cases are often used to change our laws and undermine our liberties while playing on our sympathies.
As mothers and fathers, however, we must consider all of our children and their futures. Securing and maintaining their possible immediate safety without considering the potential threat to their liberty would be shortsighted.
We cannot allow our children’s Constitutional rights to be diminished because of such a tragedy. Indeed, the greater tragedy would be the loss of our Constitutional rights and protections making us all potential victims of an abusive government. Our founders understood this because they became in their fight for liberty and Independence outlaws, enemies of the King, felons, and domestic colonial terrorists.
This bill passed the Assembly. However, Senator Horsford, chairman of Senate Finance, made the courageous decision to not take a vote on AB552 and let it die. He said there were too many unanswered questions about expungement/removal of the DNA from the federal database. He said it was too late in the session (on the last day) to consider such a far reaching issue without adequate time.
I believe that Americans have been artificially divided. Often during the Legislative session, we have the opportunity to work with people and organizations we might often otherwise oppose, such as the ACLU. This is always a rewarding and positive experience as we learn to put down our preconceived ideas and reach out to find common ground as Americans who believe in liberty and agree on a particular issue.
Such was the opportunity on this bill.