House Democrats Aim To Criminalize Americans Who Participate In Private Gun Sales
For those who thought the midterms weren’t that important – think again. House Democrats plan to use their newfound majority status to criminalize private gun sales.
According to a Mother Jones report, Democrat Representative Mike Thompson of California recently met with several heavy hitters in the gun-control movement. Thompson asked the likes of Everytown for Gun Safety, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Gabby Giffords’ group, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, and the Center for American Progress what they wanted. The consensus of these groups was their desire to see the House pass a bill to criminalize private gun sales.
Because of that meeting, Rep. Thompson promised to sponsor legislation that would require a background check before someone can legally buy a gun from a co-worker, a neighbor, or any other individual.
The bill even goes so far as to require a father to obtain a background check of his son before giving the weapon as a gift. AWR Hawkins, of Brietbart News, notes the end result of such a Democrat-sponsored bill would be:
“It will criminalize a grandfather for passing his goose gun to his grandson without government permission. It will also criminalize a mother who gives her college-age daughter a revolver for self-defense without first getting government permission.”
Even if well-intentioned, had such a law existed previously it would have done nothing to prevent recent mass shootings. With only a few exceptions every mass shooter obtained his gun(s) by way of a legal background check.
The fundamental flaw in this “let’s pass another law” approach to national background checks is that criminals don’t submit to them and the laws that exist only make the news when they fail.
Dylann Roof, the racially motivated Charleston church shooter, got his hands on a gun despite what should have been a disqualifying confession to drug use. John Hauser, the Lafayette movie theater shooter, had been involuntarily committed to a Georgia mental ward. That should have barred him from buying a gun but his record never made it into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) system.
Although more background checks would have done nothing to prevent last February’s shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, the push is on to require even more regulation.
Gun control advocates see the 2018 midterms results as proof the overall perception of guns has shifted. Taking its cues from the results in the House, Democrats and their gun-control allies are showing a significant shift in tactics.
Over the last decade, Democrat leadership favored modest background checks that exempted gun sales by individuals. All attempts to strengthen federal gun laws have failed since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.
After the Sandy Hook shooting, Senators Pat Toomey (Rep – PA) and Joe Manchin (Dem – WV) sponsored a bill that would have affected private gun sales but stopped short of required background checks of gun sales between family and friends.
Though the Toomey/Manchin bill did not pass, Manchin has teamed up with Republican Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania to reintroduce the bill twice in the last four years. Each time House Speaker Paul Ryan refused to allow the bill to come up for a vote.
Democrats have made stiffer gun-control legislation as one of their primary goals when they regain control of the House in January 2019.
The good news for detractors of such a bill is that it would have to pass a stronger Republican Senate and the pen of President Trump. Though that is more than unlikely to happen if it passed in the House it could give conservative Republicans an unexpected benefit.
A positive House vote would put Republicans on record as being in favor of universal background checks – something that didn’t happen during eight years of GOP control.
The NICS Improvement Amendment Act, introduced after the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre, was quickly signed into law in 2008 by George W. Bush. However, to date, less than 12 percent of that billion has made its way to the states.
Perhaps Congress could serve us better by seeing it enforces existing laws rather than by forcing sons and daughter to pass a background check before their father can leave his gun to them.