House Dems Launch Full Court Press on Background Checks
Article first appeared on Ammoland.com
U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- House Democrats, aided by three Republicans, on Tuesday announced the introduction of H.R. 8, the so-called “Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021,” confirming reports from a day earlier that the House of Representatives under Speaker Nancy Pelosi would soon be launching a full-court press on gun control.
The announcement confirms a report at Politico stating, “Next week, the Dems’ agenda will be universal background checks, the Charleston loophole and a labor rights bill called the Pro Act — as well as the massive coronavirus bill that comes over from the Senate.”
Also in the mix is draft legislation from Congressman Jim Clyburn dubbed the “Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2021.”
Whether Pelosi will skip the committee hearing process and simply move the legislation to the House floor may be speculative.
These developments reinforce remarks by firebrand freshman Congresswoman Lauren Boebert (R-CO) reportedly made over the weekend at the Conservative Political Action Conference, criticizing Pelosi and Democrats for “not stopping” their attacks on the Second Amendment. Boebert is one of the most outspoken Second Amendment advocates to arrive on Capitol Hill in recent memory.
According to the news release from the House Judiciary Committee, the bipartisan H.R. 8 is backed by Representatives Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Robin Kelly (D-IL) and Lucy McBath (D-GA), along with Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Christopher Smith (R-NJ) and Fred Upton (R-MI). The legislation was announced jointly by House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Chairman Mike Thompson (CA-05) and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY).
Contact Rhino~Republican Sponsors and remind them how hard they’re going to be primaried in their next election cycle:
- Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) D.C. phone (202) 225-3765
- Christopher Smith (R-NJ) D.C. Phone: (202) 225-4276
- Fred Upton (R-MI) D.C. Phone: 202-225-3761, Kalamazoo District Office (269) 385-0039
Almost as if choreographed, anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety was jamming email inboxes Tuesday with a message declaring, “We need 218 cosponsors for H.R. 8. We need background checks now,” as though there are currently no background check requirements. Their shrill message is pure emotionalism.
“Every day in America,” Everytown asserts, “more than 100 people die from gun violence, and over 230 more are wounded. But the only action many politicians have taken in response to this crisis is offering their thoughts and prayers.
“Our elected leaders owe us more than thoughts and prayers to prevent gun deaths,” the message says with bold emphasis, “they owe us action on lifesaving legislation like H.R. 8, a bill to require background checks on all gun sales. Tell your U.S. Representative: Cosponsor H.R. 8 and support background checks on all gun sales immediately.
“Our gun violence crisis has only gotten worse during the COVID pandemic,” Everytown alleges, “and it’s crucial that we close the loopholes that enable guns to fall into the wrong hands.”
But this raises a question nobody on Capitol Hill seems eager to answer. Does such legislation actually work?
Perhaps one needs only to look at the situation in Washington State’s neighboring King and Pierce counties, a region that includes Seattle and is headquarters to that state’s billionaire-backed gun prohibition lobbying group, the so-called “Alliance for Gun Responsibility.” In this case, “responsibility” is what Northwest rights activists call “camo-speak” for “control.”
According to KOMO News, the ABC News affiliate in Seattle, last weekend was “violent and deadly…across the Puget Sound region.” Police were investigating at least six shootings, including two fatal incidents.
But Washington State voters adopted anti-gun Initiative 594 in 2014 following a $10 million campaign financed by the Alliance, I-594 mandates “universal background checks” for nearly all firearms transfers, with exceptions for family members. The measure does not appear to be working to prevent “gun violence,” and homicide numbers involving firearms have remained relatively stable in the years since the initiative was passed, which means they haven’t gone down dramatically. Roughly 135 people are slain yearly in the state on average, according to the FBI Uniform Crime Reports for the years 2015-2019.
And there are some hollow clangs in statements from backers of H.R. 8.
“The last two years have been a turning point in our longstanding fight to help prevent gun violence and we take another leap forward in helping to save lives. Joined by Democrats and Republicans, we introduce the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021 to help keep guns out of the hands of those who may be a danger to themselves or others,” said Chairman Thompson, in Tuesday’s news release. “Time and time again, we have seen that the American people want universal background checks, in fact public polling shows that the majority of people, Democrats, Republicans and Independents, support this. We began our work to combat the scourge of gun violence eight years ago after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School and will not stop until we deliver for the American people.”
But Sandy Hook was a tragedy in which the killer didn’t bother with a background check because he murdered his mother, who legally owned the guns used in the attack, and took her guns to the school. The news release provided other quotes, all claiming that expanding background checks on all gun sales will keep guns out of the hands of “felons, fugitives, domestic abusers and other dangerous individuals,” which history refutes. Even the mass shooter in Las Vegas passed background checks, as did the Isla Vista killer in California.
Some sources suggest House Democrats, especially Pelosi, want to push through gun legislation and hand the political football to Sen. Chuck Schumer and his colleagues in the Senate. But they have been looking at data from 2020, when somewhere in the neighborhood of 21 million guns were purchased, including 8.4 million people who bought a gun for the first time. According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, an estimated 58 percent of those new gun buyers were minorities, so the traditional gun owner demographic has changed significantly.
Those gun buyers also discovered waiting periods and background checks already exist, noted NSSF Public Affairs Director Mark Oliva.
Meanwhile, Clyburn’s legislation is apparently aimed at closing the so-called “Charleston Loophole,” in an attempt to extend the time allowed for an FBI background check through the National Instant Check System.
It brought this reaction from Larry Keane, NSSF senior vice president and general counsel:
“If the bill is the same as what was introduced in the last Congress, we will be opposed to it now as we were then. This bill increases the burden on small business firearm retailer owners and flips the burden of proof on its head. This would make it incumbent upon the law-abiding citizen to prove his or her innocence to the government to exercise their Second Amendment right to purchase a firearm instead of the government being responsible for proving an individual is prohibited. This could potentially deny a law-abiding citizen their rights for up to a month, while they are saddled with the burden of proving their innocence. That’s un-American.
“Rather than placing further burdens on retailers and law-abiding gun owners,” Keane added, “Congress should focus on adequately resourcing NICS. NSSF is the only organization that has successfully advocated for NICS to have the necessary resources to perform its mission in a timely manner.”
Ammoland News received the following, which a source says was circulated around Capitol Hill explaining the Clyburn legislation:
“The purpose of the Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2021 is to strengthen the background check procedures to be followed before a Federal firearms licensee may transfer a firearm to a person who is not such a licensee.
“When an individual attempts to purchase a firearm from a licensed dealer, the FBI has three days to complete a background check. If the background check is not completed within three days, the firearm sale may proceed without a completed check. This provision- the ‘Charleston Loophole’ allowed a gunman to purchase the firearm used to murder nine parishioners at Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina in 2015.”
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