Can you call it a “renewed” push for gun control if advocates have never laid off the gas to begin with?
In the aftermath of three massacres in just one week, there’s once again a bunch of screaming heads in the media demanding “common sense” gun control.
But one of those “common sense” pieces of legislation was shot down in February.
Because it didn’t fit a very clear agenda.
Democrats in the Judiciary Committee voted against notifying ICE when someone not in the country legally fails a background check to purchase a gun.
The irony, of course, is that the vote came when they approved legislation to require background checks for all sales and transfers of firearms.
The GOP wanted to amend the legislation to give law enforcement a heads up when gun buyers, including those not here legally, fail background checks.
The House Judiciary Committee voted in support of the bill 23-15, right along party lines, sending it to the House floor where it will most likely be approved. That would make the most significant gun-control legislation approved by either chamber of Congress in at least a decade.
That being said, it stands little chance of passage in the Senate, where Republicans hold the majority.
The bill is called H.R. 8, known as “The Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019”. It was numbered in honor of former Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords, who was shot in Arizona on Jan. 8, 2011 by a mentally ill gunman.
Republicans say it should have included Florida Rep. Greg Steube’s proposed amendment to require that law enforcement be notified “when an individual attempting to purchase a firearm fails a federal background check”.
Steube, a Republican, weighed in immediately after.
“Clearly, the Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee don’t care about preventing gun violence, they simply are playing politics with Americans’ Second Amendment rights. The fact that Democrats do not want law enforcement notified if an individual attempting to purchase a firearm fails a background check is truly troubling.”
He was obviously angered:
“In rejecting this amendment, the Democrats have shown their true colors. It is clear they are not interested in preventing gun violence or stopping the illegal purchase of firearms, but rather they are only interested in limiting the rights of law-abiding citizens to advance their own political agenda.”
Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz was also ripping mad and took to Twitter to vent:
“They hate ICE so much that they’d keep ICE in the dark when illegals try to get guns!”
Democrats in the Judiciary Committee just voted against notifying ICE when an illegal alien fails a background check to buy a gun. They hate ICE so much that they'd keep ICE in the dark when illegals try to get guns! pic.twitter.com/WIkUDsW6FJ
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) February 13, 2019
Lest you think it’s a small number, it’s NOT.
Last year, a record number of people not in the country legally tried purchasing guns in the U.S. They were, of course, prevented from buying guns, according to a new report of background checks.
We’re talking about MILLIONS of times that they were stopped.
The National Instant Criminal Background Check System listed 7,836,600 “unlawful alien” as of 2018.
It’s a number that’s been on the rise over the years, topping the FBI’s “prohibited” category.
Democrats on the House Oversight Committee have made it clear that they are pit bulls for gun control.
But apparently it’s only gun control of law abiding citizens.
The vote came the day before the one-year anniversary of the Parkland massacre in which 17 people were killed. But Steube argued that it didn’t necessitate the new legislation, pointing out it wouldn’t have changed a thing.
“As written now, H.R. 8 would not have prevented any of the mass shootings in Florida in recent years,” Steube’s office said in a press release.
“The shooter in Parkland passed a background check before purchasing a firearm, the shooter at Pulse Nightclub passed a background check before purchasing a firearm, and the shooter just weeks ago that murdered five women in District 17 passed a background check before purchasing the handgun he used in the commission of that heinous crime.”
The vote came after a day of hearings in which Republicans proposed a series of amendments in addition to Steube’s proposal. All of them were blocked by Democrats.
Among the amendments were some seeking to address background check fees. Republicans said they could be prohibitive for family members trying to transfer guns to relatives.
Democrats pledge that they are just warming up. They’re calling for a number of other gun laws, including restrictions on high-capacity magazines and a measure to allow temporary removal of guns from people deemed an imminent risk to themselves or others.
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The Washington state House Committee on Civil Rights and Judiciary voted to move two pieces of legislation out of committee and onto the House floor for further consideration earlier this month.
One of them, if passed and signed into law, would ban the purchase, sell or transfer of high-capacity magazines, which they define as any device that can accommodate more than 10 rounds.
The bill does “grandfather” individuals who lawfully possess said magazines prior to the date on which the law is enacted.
The bill also seeks to limit the usage of high-capacity magazines by those who lawfully possess them. These magazines must be possessed “only on property owned or immediately controlled by the person, or while engaged in lawful use at a duly licensed firing range, or while engaged in lawful outdoor recreational activities, such as hunting, or while traveling to and from these locations…provided that the high-capacity magazine is stored unloaded and in a separate, locked container during transport”.
House Bill 1225 was sponsored by Representative Laurie Jenkins(D-27). This bill would require law enforcement to seize firearms and ammunition when they are called to the scene of an alleged domestic violence incident and hold them for at least 5 days.
In what would seemingly be a complete violation of due process, this bill would also require the owner to go through the process of having to get their property back.
Pursuant to RCW 9.41.345, the owner must go through a process in which the confiscating authority must determine that the owner is eligible to maintain possession of the property.
All documentation regarding the confiscated weapons then be turned over to a judge for review. This documentation is created by separating the alleged victim and the alleged suspect.
Law enforcement will then ask the victim whether the suspect has a concealed carry license, where the weapons and ammunition are in the residence and if he or she has access to other firearms stored in a different location. The law enforcement official can confiscate all firearms and ammunition on the premises and can request to take possession of any items stored at a different location.
Similar legislation has been shot down in the past in Connecticut, of all places, where groups argued this could lead to racial profiling and bias.
The committee also acted on House Bill 1739, rescheduling this vote until next week. This bill, also sponsored by Representative Valdez at the request of the Attorney General, would end a person’s ability to manufacture firearms for personal use.
It also contains provisions that create further addressing of federal laws that bans undetectable firearms. The bill defines ‘undetectable’ as any firearm that does not have enough trace metal to be detected by metal detector.
It’s not the only proposed legislation from Democrats this year.
Last month, they put up one of their heftiest attacks on the Second Amendment since 1994, aiming to ban 205 ‘assault weapons’ by name in 2019.
The Democrats introduced the Assault Weapon Ban of 2019 targeting the sale, transfer, importation and manufacturing of ‘military-style’ weapons.
Guns.com listed the specifics of the bill. ‘The term “assault weapon” would be defined as a semi-automatic with a detachable magazine that included one of a list of cosmetic features that are deemed “military characteristics” such as a threaded barrel, pistol grip or folding stock.’
Interestingly, gun violence experts from the Center for Gun Policy and Research and the Violence Prevention Research Program conducted a study in Washington state, Colorado and Delaware which was released earlier this month. The goal was to analyze whether state laws requiring more background checks actually resulted in more checks.
Spoiler alert. They didn’t. The results were published in the medical journal Injury Prevention, and suggested that the laws actually had very little impact.