Gun control has been front and center in Washington since the horrific murders in Uvalde, Texas last month. The US House of Representatives is busily throwing anything and everything against the wall to see what sticks. Any anti-gun bill brought to the floor will likely pass the Democrat controlled lower chamber.
Things are different in the Senate, which requires a sixty-vote super majority to pass legislation. The evenly split upper house’s efforts have focused on a bipartisan committee of Republican and Democrat Senators negotiating various gun control proposals. The anti-gun wish list was long, and Texas Senator John Cornyn crowed about protecting the Second Amendment from most of them.
Of course, “negotiating” implies that each side will gain something from the process. As usual, all the supposedly pro-gun Senators merely mitigated the losses with no gains for the Second Amendment community. It’s not a compromise when only one side gets something, even if it’s less than they wanted. Cornyn’s constituents expressed their displeasure by loudly booing him off the stage last week.
Both Cornyn and “Mr. Gun Control,” Democrat Senator Chris Murphy, claim the new “Safer Communities Act” will save “thousands of lives.” The bill passed the Senate when fifteen Republicans and all fifty Democrats voted to ignore the Constitution and bribe states to do the same. The bill now moves to the House of Representatives where Speaker Nancy Pelosi promises a swift vote.
Since we always strive to be helpful, here’s a list of the Republican Senators who voted for the bill. All but one enjoys an “A” or A+” NRA rating. The other, Maine’s Susan Collins, has a “B” rating:
- John Cornyn of Texas
- Mitch McConnell of Kentucky
- Thom Tillis of North Carolina
- Susan Collins of Maine
- Lindsay Graham of South Carolina
- Bill Cassidy of Louisiana
- Roy Blunt of Missouri
- Richard Burr of North Carolina
- Mitt Romney of Utah
- Rob Portman of Ohio
- Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia
- Joni Ernst of Iowa
- Lisa Murkowski of Alaska
- Todd Young of Indiana
- Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania
Still think Republicans will stand up for your rights? Politicians are politicians and it’s ALL about them. Murkowski and Young are up for reelection this November. Burr, Toomey, Portman, and Blunt are retiring rather than face voters. The rest should all be primaried in the next election cycle. Let’s take a look at what the “negotiations” yielded.
Federal Red Flag Funding
I won’t go into the ins and outs of Red Flag laws. We’ve done that elsewhere. The Senate bill does not enact a Federal Red Flag program but does provide 20 billion dollars in funding for the states to do so. The bill includes language to provide equal funding for all states, though they do not have to actually use it for Red Flags.
Cornyn says the money can be used to fund “anti-violence programs” such as mental health programs and mental health courts. These courts would presumably adjudicate mental fitness for firearms ownership. No word on how individuals would be remanded to such a court, nor how they would get around HIPAA regulations protecting a patient’s privacy. The money can also be used to enhance school security. So, there’s one good idea.
Murphy echoed Cornyn’s points, but noted the money was eligible for “a narrow range of anti-violence interventions.” He did confirm that states could opt out of Red Flag laws. More details should be forthcoming as the bill is debated this week.
Closing the So-Called “Boyfriend Loophole”
This has long been a staple of the anti-gun wish list. Federal law already bans convicted spousal abusers from owning a firearm. The law for non-marital abuse is fuzzier. Restraining orders are easy to get and often hinge on which partner files first. The bar for issuance is relatively low, and violating a restraining order is usually a misdemeanor. The Senate bill seeks to bar firearms ownership to persons subject to a restraining order or otherwise convicted of non-marital abuse, even if that person is not by definition a felon.
Look, I get it. Abuse is wrong, no matter what. But taking away a Constitutionally protected right is a big deal. Opening the door for a misdemeanor qualification sets a dangerous precedent. And, as we know, gun controllers will take full advantage of any opening they see. Crack the door an inch and they’ll attack it with a crowbar.
Cornyn claims this part of the bill is Constitutional under the Due Process Clause because it lifts the restriction after five years of good behavior. Murphy adds that the five-year rule only applies to first offenders. I personally believe that if the crime itself merits restrictions of rights, it should be elevated to felony status. If not, I wonder whether the true goal is to protect domestic abuse victims. It might be to create another way to restrict guns.
Enhanced Background Checks for 18-20-Year-Olds
The final part of the bill provides for strengthening the background checks on 18–20-year-olds who want to purchase a firearm. The enhanced checks may include juvenile records depending on how much of that information the respective state chooses to include.
Murphy says the bill provides an extra three business days for those records to be searched. The check can take up to ten business days if certain warning signs merit further investigation. One of those extra checks is a phone call to the local police department. Again, according to Cornyn, each state will decide how much juvenile information shared with the Federal NICS system. Lawyers and judges will likely be involved sooner than later.
Expanded FFL Requirements
The wording is vague here, but I expect that’s intentional. It is entirely possible that selling one of your guns for more than you paid for it could require you to obtain an FFL license. Also, if you make your living from advertising or dealing with guns, you may be required to get an FFL. Even if you don’t actually sell guns as part of your business. So, it’s possible that this crap bill could make me get an FFL because I write about guns for a living.
This also opens the door for universal background checks in the guise of licensing everyone.
Gun Trafficking and Straw Purchases
If you’re thinking that gun trafficking and straw purchases are already illegal, give yourself a cookie. They are. But since when have gun controllers passed up a chance to portray American gun laws in a negative light? This makes them look like they’re “doing something.” As politicians do.
There is little doubt that the bill will sail through the house, after which Joe Biden will sign it into law. But there are already signs that gun controllers want more, as they always do. Many Democrat lawmakers have called the bill “a good first step.” New York Congressman Jamaal Bowman said that right after saying “I would love to see an assault weapons ban.” This “compromise” (which it isn’t) is the crack to which politicians like Bowman will attack with that crowbar. And I’ll bet you anything that Murphy, Schumer, and all their buddies will go right back to hammering for more, especially since anyone with a brain knows this bill won’t solve a damned thing.
In Other News, Biden Seeks to Price AR-15 Owners Out of the Ammo Market
We all know that Joe Biden despises gun owners and the concept of the Second Amendment. Only the government would have firearms if he had his way. But given the Senate’s sixty-vote threshold, Biden doesn’t have the support for his legislative agenda.
It’s also no secret that Biden will use his executive powers to do whatever he thinks he can get away with. That tendency revealed itself again with the administration’s proposal to ban excess M855 and SS109 5.56 ammo made at the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant from being sold to the public.
The feds own Lake City, but they contract its operation to private ammo manufacturers. Winchester currently runs the plant. Part of the deal is that the custodial firms get to manufacture and sell extra ammo, in this case 5.56, to the public. That excess production accounts for about 30 percent of all 5.56 ammo on the market.
It’s not hard to believe that the Biden administration would like to halt those sales. Prices will skyrocket if 30 percent of the ammo goes away. If Biden can’t ban your AR-15, he wants to make it as expensive as possible to operate. As I said, this man and his ideologically driven staff truly loathe the idea of private gun ownership.
But that’s not all. The alleged ban would cost the jobs of around 500 people. It would also jeopardize the nation’s ability to quickly ramp up military ammo production in an emergency. 500 skilled workers cannot be replaced overnight. But since when has the Biden Administration ever placed national security ahead of its ideology?
Gun Rights Advocates Push Back
Gun rights organizations and the National Shooting Sports Foundation have come out against this short-sighted proposal. The administration is trying to gloss over it, saying that a recent article claimed they want to shut the plant down and denying the same. Of course, the article never asserted any such thing. But, again, the administration has never let accuracy stop its propaganda. Despite the denials, Winchester confirmed the proposed ban to the NSSF.
Some members of Congress have come out strongly against the proposal, with 50 Representatives signing an open letter criticizing it. This is an ongoing development. Pressure from Congress may yield results, but we need to press them. I encourage you to do so.