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Obama Gives Himself Armed Protection for Life

Bill sailed through Congress authorizing lifetime armed protection for anti-gun president.

by
Howard Nemerov

Bio

January 11, 2013 - 9:29 am

H.R. 6620, the “Former Presidents Protection Act of 2012” was written by Republican Trey Gowdy (SC-4, NRA Grade A), and passed with virtually no discussion or opposition. Two anti-rights representatives, John Conyers (MI-14) and Robert Scott (VA-3), co-sponsored along with pro-rights Lamar Smith (TX-21).

(NOTE: Directions for retrieving bill details from Library of Congress at bottom. Search results are temporary, making internal article links impossible.)

Rep. Gowdy’s Communications Director, Josh Dix, noted that this bill was introduced before the Sandy Hook shooting, though Obama signed it yesterday. It provides a uniform set of protection standards for former presidents. Under legislation passed during the Clinton administration, lifetime Secret Service protection was changed to ten years, beginning with George W. Bush—not anti-gun Clinton, who signed this into law—who now gets protection for life, as does Obama and future presidents. The rationale was that when there’s an emerging threat, it would have been more costly to move resources to protect ex-presidents beyond their ten-year coverage. The Secret Service decided it would be more economical to maintain protection, rather than operating on an emergency ad hoc basis. The bill doesn’t allocate additional taxes; the Treasury Department must still operate within what they’re allocated every year. (Of course, there’s nothing stopping a future Congress from increasing Treasury’s allocation.)

The bill itself is relatively short, amending two clauses in U.S. Code Title 18, Part II, Chapter 203, Section 3056 (Powers, authorities, and duties of United States Secret Service). Subsection (a)(3) now reads:

Former Presidents and their spouses for their lifetimes, except that protection of a spouse shall terminate in the event of remarriage unless the former President did not serve as President prior to January 1, 1997, in which case, former Presidents and their spouses for a period of not more than ten years from the date a former President leaves office, except that—

(A)protection of a spouse shall terminate in the event of remarriage or the divorce from, or death of a former President; and

(B)should the death of a President occur while in office or within one year after leaving office, the spouse shall receive protection for one year from the time of such death:

Provided, That the Secretary of Homeland Security shall have the authority to direct the Secret Service to provide temporary protection for any of these individuals at any time if the Secretary of Homeland Security or designee determines that information or conditions warrant such protection.

Subsection (a)(4) now reads:

Children of a former President who are under 16 years of age for a period not to exceed ten years or upon the child becoming 16 years of age, whichever comes first.

In a follow-up conversation, Mr. Dix noted Rep. Gowdy’s appearance on “Lou Dobbs on Fox Business” where he rips Obama’s plan to “shred the Second Amendment.”

How to Find Bill Details: Go to Library of Congress’ Thomas, click on “Try the Advanced Search”, select Congress 112 at top. In “Enter Search” box select “Bill Number” from dropdown window, then enter H.R. 6620 in search box to right. Click on “Search” button and you will go to the “Bill Summary & Status” page, which contains links to co-sponsors, bill text, congressional actions, and other information.

Former civilian disarmament supporter and medical researcher Howard Nemerov investigates the civil liberty of self-defense and examines the issue of gun control, resulting in his book Four Hundred Years of Gun Control: Why Isn’t It Working? He appears frequently on NRA News as their “unofficial” analyst and was published in the Texas Review of Law and Politics with David Kopel and Carlisle Moody.
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