You Can't Believe Everything In Your Inbox
Political Junk Is Way Out Of Hand

Columnist Dave Peyton

The e-mail began: "Have you seen this?" It was forwarded by a friend, and it had been forwarded to him and previously forwarded by six or seven other people. This e-mail had apparently been seen by 200 people.

"Senate Bill SB-2099 will require us to put on our 2009 1040 federal tax form all guns that you have or own. It will require fingerprints and a tax of $50 per gun," the email began.

It goes on to claim that the bill was introduced on Feb, 24, 2009, "by the Omama (sic) staff." But, the e-mail continues "this bill will only become public knowledge 30 days after the new law becomes effective.

This is an amendment to the Internal Revenue Act of 1986. This means that the Finance Committee has passed this without the Senate voting on it at all. Trust Obama? You must be kidding."

Don't we have enough to debate without someone spreading lies? There's not a word of truth in this e-mail. It is tantamount to shouting and screaming at a Town Hall meeting.

I responded to my friend by saying that if anything similar to this passes Congress, I will give $1,000 to his favorite Republican candidate next year.

I'm safe, believe me. And Snopes.com, the premier rumor-dispelling Web site on the Internet, agrees with me. Check it out yourself.

The claim that there is a bill currently before Congress that would require all handgun owners to list their guns on federal income tax returns is false.

This variation of an earlier e-mail lie appeared only last month. But it has been making the round of thousands, if not millions, of e-mail inboxes.

"The referenced bill, SB 2099 . . . is not currently before Congress," Snopes says. "It was introduced to the Senate back in February 2000 (not 2009) and "sought to amend the Internal Revenue Code. It was referred to the Committee on Finance, where it languished without ever coming to a vote.

It also had no provisions for requiring handgun owners to list their guns on federal income tax returns."

E-mails such as this are very discouraging to those of us who have spent our lives dispelling rumors. The e-mails can become viral in a matter of days, and can get totally out of hand before any news organization can address the issues involved in them.

But even if they are dispelled by honorable media, there are those who will claim that the media are spreading the lies.

And here's the clincher: When, in the end, the "Handgun Safety and Registration Act" of 2009 fails to pass, the "patriots" will claim that they have saved the country from socialism.

Reminds me of an old joke:

A guy stands on a street corner in a northern town snapping his fingers. Another guy comes along and asks why.

"Keeping the alligators away," he said.

"There are no alligators in 2,000 miles." The other guy replies.

"Doing a heck of a job, don't you think?" the snapper says.

Peyton may be reached by e-mail at david.peyton@gmail.com


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