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Old June 28, 2009, 03:13 PM   #1
HiBC
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Background checks vs Census compliance

I was listening to a radio show the other day where the topic was the census.
Many callers expressed they were OK with the census counting them,however,thet were not OK with the census asking for more personal information than "How many people live here?"

These folks were discussing taking this to the point of civil disobedience by refusing to provide any additional info,no matter how much the Feds insisted.

My question: Is this the sort of thing that could fail a background check?.

If a citizen refused to provide more than a headcount,might the next firearms purchase be denied?
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Old June 28, 2009, 03:49 PM   #2
Vanya
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Refusing to answer questions seems to be a misdemeanor:
TITLE 13 - CENSUS
CHAPTER 7 - OFFENSES AND PENALTIES
SUBCHAPTER II - OTHER PERSONS

-HEAD-
Sec. 221. Refusal or neglect to answer questions; false answers

-STATUTE-
(a) Whoever, being over eighteen years of age, refuses or
willfully neglects, when requested by the Secretary, or by any
other authorized officer or employee of the Department of Commerce
or bureau or agency thereof acting under the instructions of the
Secretary or authorized officer, to answer, to the best of his
knowledge, any of the questions on any schedule submitted to him in
connection with any census or survey provided for by subchapters I,
II, IV, and V of chapter 5 of this title, applying to himself or to
the family to which he belongs or is related, or to the farm or
farms of which he or his family is the occupant, shall be fined not
more than $100.
(b) Whoever, when answering questions described in subsection (a)
of this section, and under the conditions or circumstances
described in such subsection, willfully gives any answer that is
false, shall be fined not more than $500.
(c) Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, no person
shall be compelled to disclose information relative to his
religious beliefs or to membership in a religious body.
So, probably not.

That said, the census bureau is heavily restricted in what it can do with information people provide: it's prohibited, for instance, from sharing it with other agencies, or using it for any purpose other than statistical tabulations in which people's identities don't appear.

There are plenty of things more worthy of civil disobedience, IMHO.
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Old June 28, 2009, 04:45 PM   #3
308nato
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There are two people that live in my house thats all they need to know.
Anything else is irrelevant and NOYB.It is intruding on my privacy.
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Old June 28, 2009, 05:36 PM   #4
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Quote:
shall be fined not more than $100
Refusing to answer the American Community Survey (formerly the long-form census) has a bit stiffer fine - up to $5,000.

Quote:
The American Community Survey is conducted under the authority of Title 13, United States Code, Sections 141 and 193, and response is mandatory. According to Section 221, persons who do not respond shall be fined not more than $100. Title 18 U.S.C. Section 3571 and Section 3559, in effect amends Title 13 U.S.C. Section 221 by changing the fine for anyone over 18 years old who refuses or willfully neglects to complete the questionnaire or answer questions posed by census takers from a fine of not more than $100 to not more than $5,000.
Based on the logic used and the statutes cited, the same larger fine would also appear to apply to refusing to answer the questions in the general census.

Quote:
Refusing to answer questions seems to be a misdemeanor
Refusing to answer the American Community Survey appears to be an "infraction" as defined in 18 U.S.C. 3571(b)(7).
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Old June 28, 2009, 08:25 PM   #5
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Be thankful were not at the Day where they ask how many Guns are in the house along with how many people yet.
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Old June 28, 2009, 08:32 PM   #6
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I don't mind certain questions but think most of them are irrelevant.

Also, I'm still not sure about them getting actual GPS coordinates to your house...what's this all about? I know two people that they didn't really ask the normal questions they ask but did in fact get the coordinates to their front door.
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Old June 28, 2009, 08:43 PM   #7
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The U.S. Constitution states that the census is only to determine the number of representatives for each district. Any question other than how many people live in the home is unconstitutional and NOYB
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Old June 28, 2009, 11:48 PM   #8
Al Norris
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The direct constitutional authority for the census was originally the first sentence of Art. I, section 2, clause 3, which read:
Quote:
Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.
This was amended by the 14th amendment, section 2, to read:
Quote:
2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed.
The U.S. Attorney General in 1940, declared that there where no longer any "untaxed Indians" and thereafter all Indians are counted.

While the Constitution does say "[The Census ] shall be made ... in such Manner as [Congress] shall by Law direct." the Constitution also says that it for the apportionment of the number of Representatives in Congress. That is, it is a head count. As noted, the controlling section of the law is 13 USC 221.
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Old June 29, 2009, 07:10 AM   #9
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Quote:
That said, the census bureau is heavily restricted in what it can do with information people provide: it's prohibited, for instance, from sharing it with other agencies, or using it for any purpose other than statistical tabulations in which people's identities don't appear.
You mean like the ATF is not supposed to maintain a registry of gun owners?
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Old June 29, 2009, 07:35 AM   #10
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I have a few thoughts about this. First, census enumerations have accumulated "non-essential" information about those living here for quite a while now - if you've done any genealogical work, then you're certainly aware of census data sheets from the 19th century which detail the birthplace not only of the enumerated, but of their parents! The occupation of the enumerated is also included in these sheets. Point being that this is hardly a new phenomenon, regardless of one's opinion of its necessity.

Second, keep in mind that many (most, perhaps?) of the people processing these census forms are recruited from ACORN. Do you really want them to be the ones to "fill in the blanks", as it were?

My wife and I have not yet decided what we will do with our census form - we've not seen it yet. However, we will definitely keep one eye toward the intended use of this data when we determine how to answer each question.

The obvious fear is that this detailed data is going to be used not in furtherance of legitimate policy ends (even if any might be said to exist), but toward furthering this nation's race and class divides.
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Old June 29, 2009, 08:47 AM   #11
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Upon further thought: The Census (as imagined by the FFs) does not exist. The Census was designed to make sure that you were represented in Congress. With Gerrymandering, and the fact that representation is now fixed at 435 by law, and has been since 1929, when the population of the United States was only 121 million. That meant that there was one representative for every 278,000 citizens.

Now with a population at 304 million, there is one representative for each 699,000 citizens. We are now represented at less than 1/2 the level we were in 1929, and 1/23 the level we were in 1776.
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Old June 29, 2009, 09:39 AM   #12
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Thanks ,folks.
I guess my deeper concern is about the idea of sanctions on folks who stand up and say "No"

As Jefferson said,(roughly) The best reason for the right to keep and bear arms is tyranny in government.

Who better to disarm than the sort of citizen who would say"No,I'll tell you how many live here,and nothing else"
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Old June 29, 2009, 09:54 AM   #13
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The addition of questions to the census forms began to occur with the Census of 1810.

Apparently the Framers of the Constitution didn't see too many problems with that happening, as many of them were still actively involved in both state and Federal government.

In fact, the President during the census was James Madison...


Regarding the constitutionality of the additional questions that are now asked...

Essentially, the activity is legal and constitutional until Dianah and the Supremes say it's not.

Just claiming that the activity is unconstitutional and refusing to answer isn't an affirmative defense under law if they come knocking.
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Old June 29, 2009, 09:59 AM   #14
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"We are now represented at less than 1/2 the level we were in 1929, and 1/23 the level we were in 1776."

Uhm...

Your point is?

You're not receiving any less representation simply because your elected representative's district includes a far greater population than it did in, say, 1880. Representation isn't a tangible item that can be valued or parceled out or chopped into smaller quantities. It's a concept, not an object.


You are still represented in the HoR and the Senate.

Hell, by that claim, the Senate situation is FAR FAR worse becuase the number of Senators has never changed.

Setting an upper limit on the number of representatives is actually a smart thing to do. Otherwise, if you adopted the numbers of 1800, you'd have, by my count, something like 1,200 representatives in the House.

The circus would be even more of a circus, and even more of a zoo, than it already is.
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Old June 29, 2009, 10:05 AM   #15
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Interesting book on the history of the census and its application.

http://usa.ipums.org/usa/voliii/measuring_america.pdf
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Old June 29, 2009, 10:55 AM   #16
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I find the GPS coordinates to be a little disconcerting....
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Old June 29, 2009, 11:14 AM   #17
divemedic
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Quote:
Uhm...

Your point is?
One word- Gerrymandering. This system permits politicians to choose their voters instead of voters choosing their representatives. Districts are redrawn to allow politicians to dilute the voters. This, along with the higher population to representative ratio, dilutes the power of individual voters and increases the power of lobbyists.

Quote:
The circus would be even more of a circus, and even more of a zoo, than it already is.
and fewer laws would get passed, which is a good thing. Fewer laws= more freedom.
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Old June 29, 2009, 11:17 AM   #18
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and fewer laws would get passed, which is a good thing. Fewer laws= more freedom.
Fewer laws would be good, yes. Except when there was a law that we actually NEED (admittedly a rare event) and the chamber was so entirely dysfunctional that they couldn't get it done.

Which wouldn't be all that different anyway, now that I think about it...
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Last edited by Brian Pfleuger; June 29, 2009 at 03:16 PM.
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Old June 29, 2009, 11:32 AM   #19
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"One word- Gerrymandering."

BULL.

The time honored practice of Gerrymandering, or attempted Gerrymandering, as practiced by BOTH parties, is as alive today as it was in years past.

But, I submit to you that larger representative districts are far LESS likely to permit successful Gerrymandering than smaller ones simply because today's populations are FAR less socially, economically, and ethnically stratified.

With mixed race, economic, and social populations comes a much greater liklihood of mixed political views.

If I picked my community of 77 homes up and moved it back in time 100 years, it wouldn't come close to being the diverse mix that it is now.

I'm sort of upper middle class white, so 100 years ago all of my neighbors would have very likely been upper middle class white, and the majority of the people in my overall community would have been upper middle class white, not the mix that live there today.

And, let's not forget the fact that 100 years ago virtually no black men voted and no women, either black or white, voted in national elections.
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Old June 29, 2009, 11:45 AM   #20
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Ah, the tyranny of the census. At least you don't have to go to your place of birth to be counted.
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Old June 29, 2009, 12:50 PM   #21
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Quote:
I find the GPS coordinates to be a little disconcerting....
I guess Google's mapping and street-level photos must really make you uncomfortable.

What is the functional difference between writing down an address and recording GPS coordinates?
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Old June 29, 2009, 01:40 PM   #22
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Quote:
I guess Google's mapping and street-level photos must really make you uncomfortable.

What is the functional difference between writing down an address and recording GPS coordinates?
+1. Furthermore, now that aviation has been commonplace for 4 generations, why is it surprising and/or alarming that the federal government might know where your house is located?
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Old June 29, 2009, 01:43 PM   #23
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What is the functional difference between writing down an address and recording GPS coordinates?
The functional difference is that it has nothing to do with the census. Unless they intend to begin defining congressional districts by GPS co-ordinates then there is no need for such information to be part of the census. If Google or any other PRIVATE organization would like to drive around and take pictures, or fly-over shots and mark GPS co-ordinates then they have every right to do so.
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Old June 29, 2009, 03:04 PM   #24
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The coordinates are for the cruise missiles if you get ornery.
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Old June 29, 2009, 03:25 PM   #25
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"The functional difference is that it has nothing to do with the census."

Actually, it has a LOT to do with the census, counting the population, and maintaining census records over time.

Street names change, even house numbers on houses on streets can change over time. But GPS coordinates are static.

By cross mapping GPS coordinates to streets and houses, records can be updated FAR faster, and maintained far more quickly, accurately, and ultimately cheaply.
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