Here’s What’s Coming: Proposed Federal Gun Legislation

The United States Congress has proposed a flurry of new gun legislation in the wake of the recent murders in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas. It’s a predictable phenomenon. Some true-believing anti-gun politicians are always ready to exploit a tragedy. It’s no secret that California Senator Dianne Feinstein keeps a copy of her “assault weapons” ban in a desk drawer, regularly dragging out updated versions when she smells an opportunity.

Dianne Feinstein disarm Americans
(Firearms Policy Coalition)

Others see it as a political opportunity to look like they’re doing something. Because doing “something,” even if that something is demonstrably ineffective, gives them fodder for campaign ads.

Either way, gun control is back on the menu in Washington, so here is a rundown of what’s going on. Remember that this is a fluid situation. The anti-gunners want to strike while the media is focused on the issue. I encourage you to stay on top of what’s happening and voice your opinions to your legislators. Anti-gun activists do that all the time. We need to do it too.

Proposed Gun Legislation in the US Senate

Red Flag Law: The Most Immediate Threat

This one seems to have the most momentum. In case you don’t know, a Red Flag Law allows people to report others to the police if they believe they pose a danger to themselves or others. These so-called “Extreme Risk Protection Orders” (ERPOs) allow the police to confiscate any weapons from a person reported to them without a criminal conviction. It sounds like a good idea to many folks. But it isn’t.

Red Flag laws Proposed Federal Gun Legislation
A federal program to push state Red Flag laws seems most likely to pass the Senate. (Axios)

To serve an ERPO, the police must secure a warrant, but the bar for obtaining that warrant is very low. All they need is the word of the reporting party and the judge will issue it. The warrant hearing is done without the knowledge of the accused, who is unable to face his accuser or defend himself until after the warrant is granted. The accused gets his day in court after his property has been confiscated. Basically, the accused is presumed guilty until proven innocent. It’s the opposite of how our justice system supposedly works. ERPOs have been upheld when challenged in court, though they are a clear violation of the Due Process Clause,

Not to mention ERPOs seem to me to violate the Second, Fourth, Sixth, and maybe even the Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth Amendments to the Constitution.

US Constitution Bill of Rights
Red Flag Laws appear to violate not only the Due Process Clause but also several Constitutional Amendments. (Tucson Sentinel)

To make it worse, ERPOs fall in the realm of civil litigation, meaning the accused has no right to a state-appointed attorney and must pay for any legal fees out of pocket. Finally, the accused is not charged or arrested as part of the ERPO process. Why not, if the person is so dangerous? Well, because you can’t arrest someone if they haven’t committed a crime. Not yet anyway. But it sure seems like his property can be taken. And there is often no provision for returning that property if the ERPO is proven to be unfounded. More proof that this brand of gun legislation is about taking firearms, not stopping dangerous people.

Current Federal Red Flag Efforts

There is currently a bipartisan Senate committee negotiating gun legislation proposals. They include a Red Flag Law, so-called “universal” background checks, gun bans, and magazine restrictions. The Democrat committee members are Senators Chris Murphy and Dick Blumenthal of Connecticut, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and Martin Heinrich of New Mexico. The Republicans are Lindsay Graham of South Carolina, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, and Susan Collins of Maine. Even though he’s not on the committee, include John Cornyn of Texas here. He helped organize the committee and is negotiating with the hardline Murphy outside the committee itself.

Senator Chris Murphy proposed gun legislation
Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) never met a gun control law he didn’t like. Note his affiliation with Mike Bloomberg’s Everytown group and the Mad Mommies. (Politico)

The committee is discussing ways to make “moderate” gun control proposals that will entice enough Republican votes to beat the filibuster requirement of 60 votes, while also being acceptable to the hard anti-gun Democrats.

As of this writing, Murphy has said that there will be no gun or magazine restrictions coming from the committee, though both he and Toomey are saying expanded background checks are being discussed. Whatever that means. It appears they will propose a federal program encouraging states to enact their own Red Flag Laws. The encouragement comes in the form of federal money to pay for the programs and their infrastructure.

Senator Joe Manchin proposed gun legislation
Senator Joe Manchin has broken with his fellow Democrats on several big issues. Will he stand for firearms rights in pro-gun West Virginia? I wouldn’t bet on it. (New York Post)

It’s a common tactic. The Feds have done it for years to bring the states in line. They did it with highway funds to coerce the states to raise the drinking age to 21. It’s basically bribery. Have you ever met a state legislator who didn’t grasp at every federal dollar available?

Homer Simpson bribery gif
(giphy.com)

This is the most likely thing to pass the Senate since I expect state legislatures and governors will want that money and may nudge their Senators to vote for it. I doubt that many, if any at all, will think twice about violating the Constitution to get it.

I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that those Republican Senators, including Cornyn, will vote for any proposal the committee makes. There will likely be at least a couple of others. I also think they will try the same approach with other measures if this passes.

proposed gun legislation Senator John Cornyn
Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) is a good bet to vote for any bills that come out of the bipartisan Senate committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/POOL)

Other Senate Bills

  • New Jersey Senator Cory Booker wants to raise the age to buy all firearms from 18 to 21 and he wants to create a National Firearms License issued by the US Department of Justice. This one has some support but is unlikely to make much headway considering the very liberal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that California’s age limit is unconstitutional.
  • We already mentioned Dianne Feinstein, and she has reliably rolled out her ban bill. Again, not likely to go anywhere. I will add that the Supreme Court’s Heller Decision may well guard against an outright ban anyway. It clearly prohibits banning guns in common use. Just this morning I saw an estimate that AR-15s make up 20% of all rifles in the US. That doesn’t even count AKs and other similar firearms. Keep in mind I said, “not likely.” It’s not like anti-gun politicians give a damn about the Constitution.
    totally legal gif
    (tumblr.com)
  • HR 8 and HR 1446, two bills that passed the House are also in the Senate. HR 8 would establish “universal” background checks. We all know that such a measure can only be enforced by establishing a national gun registry. Of course, the people who voted for it know that too, which will be their excuse if it doesn’t work, providing them with their next legislative goal.

          HR 1446 would ban outright the private transfer of firearms. The two bills really go hand in hand. Like HR 8, enforcement of HR 1446 would require a registry.

          Both bills are available for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a hardcore gun banner, to bring for a vote at any time. He hasn’t had the votes so far, but make no mistake, he’ll push it if he thinks he can get them passed.

Proposed Gun Legislation in the US House of Representatives

HR 7910: The “Protecting Our Kids Act”

This is an omnibus bill containing six different measures. It has already passed the House Judiciary Committee. Anti-gun stalwart Jerry Nadler of New Jersey shepherded the bill through. It also sits before the House Ways and Means Committee, where it is likely to pass. The bill contains the following:

proposed gun legislation Jerry Nadler
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler sits unironically in front of an American Flag. (Daily Caller)
  • A measure raising the age to purchase a firearm to 21 across the board. Again, the Ninth Circuit ruled that unconstitutional.
  • A measure prohibiting straw purchases and the knowing transfer of a firearm to someone who intends to transfer it to someone else. Both of those are already illegal. But, you know, let’s make it Double Secret Illegal.

    Double Secret gif
    (giphy.com)
  • A measure requiring all firearms to be traceable. In essence, this is the microstamping thing again. Never mind that the technology to do it doesn’t even exist. I believe this is an effort to drive up the cost of guns if anyone does figure out how to do it.
  • Safe storage requirements, which are questionable under the Heller Decision.
  • A measure closing the so-called “bump stock loophole.” That’s a new one on me. Everything anti-gunners don’t like is a “loophole.”
  • A measure to “Keep Americans Safe.”

         I have to quote this one: “It shall be unlawful for a person to import, sell, manufacture, transfer, or possess, in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, a large capacity ammunition feeding device.” Notice they don’t give a number. Never mind, peasant, they’ll be sure to reduce it to one before long.

         Keep in mind that the Supreme Court has ruled that the police have no duty to protect citizens from harm. So, this makes sure that you can’t do it effectively either. Current privately-owned “ammunition feeding devices” are exempt, but we all know that mags wear out. I’m sure they do too. And, of course, cops and the military are exempt. It’s Okay for the people guarding these “public servants” to have the latest and greatest, just not you. Now, sit down and shut up.

         This part also requires all magazines to carry their own serial number. Because that “Keeps Americans Safe.”

Robert Downey, Jr. eye roll gif
(giphy.com)

HR 7819: The “Accountability for Online Firearms Marketplaces Act.”

Colorado Representative Jason Crow, a former Army Ranger, introduced this gem. Basically, it removes protections for online blogs, forums, websites, or whatever. Any of those entities could be held liable if anyone takes information from them and does bad things.

proposed gun legislation Congressman Jason Crow
Being an Army Ranger apparently didn’t make Congressman Jason Crow (D-CO) a Constitutional expert. (Colorado Public Radio)

Say some dirtbag shoots up a parking lot. If his internet search history shows he looked up info on his firearm of choice, the site, blog, forum, etc. can be sued. It would essentially end all those online resources, including the blog you’re now reading. It is currently before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

I guess being a Ranger doesn’t make you a First Amendment expert.

First Amendment Bill of Rights
(zazzle.com)

A Proposed 1000 Percent Tax on “Assault Weapons”

Yes, you read that correctly. Representative Don Beyer, who I’m embarrassed to say comes from my home state of Virginia, says he thinks it would be a great way to limit sales of those evil black guns without instituting an outright ban.

Proposed gun legislation Don Beyer
Former used-car salesman Don Beyer (D-VA) wants to make sure only the people protecting HIM can afford an AR-15. Just trust him. It’ll be alright. (Business Insider)

Beyer thinks he can get it passed through a process called “reconciliation,” which attaches it to tax bills that only require a simple majority to pass the Senate. It’s a common tactic to attach “small” measures to large bills that most Senators will likely vote for. It might work. As usual, the cops and other government agencies are exempt from the tax. The law would not affect Beyer’s security. Surprise, surprise.

So, the party of “tax the rich” also has no problem taxing a Constitutionally protected right out of reach of the poor. Shut up, peasant.

The Pelosi Ban

Finally, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is promising a bill banning “Assault Weapons” sometime this week. I think I’ll have a heart attack and die of not-surprise.

So, What are You Gonna Do?

None of this stuff is law. Yet. But we all know what will happen if it does pass. The senile old man in the Oval Office will gleefully attach his signature to any of these bills that reach his desk.

Let's Go Brandon AR-15 magazine
(Author’s photo)

I know it sounds cliché, but we MUST make ourselves heard, whether you contact your so-called representatives directly, donate money to pro-Second Amendment lobbying groups, or whatever. I encourage you to do all of that and whatever else you can.

The anti-gunners have plenty of money. They also have momentum. The Propaganda Ministry known as the media is in a full-court press. Remember, lost rights are rarely regained. Once they’re gone, they stay gone. If we don’t fight now, we may not ever get another chance.

lidsay graham
Never trust a politician to do the right thing; only what’s right for them at the time. (The Epoch Times)

This isn’t necessarily a Republican or Democrat thing. Yeah, the Dems are the most rabid, but there are plenty of Republicans willing to sell our rights down the river to gain power and stay in office. They are always open to a little quid pro quo from the other party. Keep in mind they all drink together at the clubs you don’t belong to. Never assume any politician will do the right thing; only what’s right for themselves.

William "Bucky" Lawson is a self-described "typical Appalachian-American gun enthusiast". He is a military historian specializing in World War II and has written a few things, as he says, "here and there". A featured contributor for Strategy & Tactics, he likes dogs, range time, and a good cigar - preferably with an Old Fashioned that has an extra orange slice.

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