Democrats in the House Passed Their Gun Background Check Bill—What This Portends is Even More Troubling

posted on March 1, 2019
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The Democrat-led U.S. House of Representatives just voted 240 to 190 to take away a fundamental American liberty by passing H.R. 8, the “Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019.” The politicians who voted for this bill want to curtail the freedom of law-abiding Americans to buy, sell, loan and trade guns among each other. Those who voted for it want this freedom-infringing legislation so badly they spent all week lying about it.

“[H.R. 8 would] end an epidemic of gun violence in America,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on the House floor Wednesday morning.

Really, even though the vast majority of criminals in the United States already use illegal guns?

“We have worked tirelessly to expand background checks to help save lives,” Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.), co-author of H.R. 8, said Tuesday from the steps of the Capitol Building.

Come on Thompson, you must know that’s not true. H.R. 8 would not have stopped any of the recent mass murderers that Democrats have used as a justification for this legislation.

“I am proud to support H.R. 8 to close the loopholes that for far too long allowed guns to get into the wrong hands,” said Rep. Jason Crow (D-Colo.).

Actually, criminals mostly get their hands on guns by stealing them or purchasing them illegally. This legislation wouldn’t stop any of that from occurring.

Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-Ill.) even insinuated, while speaking on the House floor, that H.R. 8 would have stopped a recent mass murderer who killed five people in her congressional district on Feb. 15.

That isn’t true either. In the 1990s, the murderer she referenced served about two years in prison in Mississippifor attacking his then-girlfriend with a butcher knife and baseball bat, but a background check years later in Illinois didn’t prevent him from getting an Illinois Firearm Owners Identification card or from purchasing the handgun he would use to murder five people. When he later applied for a concealed-carry permit, his felony conviction (barring him from buying or owning a firearm) did turn up. The police sent him a letter at that time telling him to turn in his handgun. But the police never did go and get the gun from him.

The above-mentioned politicians and others—with a lot of help from mainstream-media outlets—spent the week virtue signaling about how their support for H.R. 8’s “universal” background check would solve school shootings, reduce inner-city gang violence. Despite the fact that they must know that the carnage in places like Chicago is being done by criminals with illegal guns they stole or obtained on the black market—things H.R. 8 would not impact.

The trouble for the politicians who voted for H.R. 8 is even the most casual analysis of this legislation shows it is about controlling law-abiding behavior—not disarming criminals. This legislation—were it to become law—would simply criminalize what has always been normal, law-abiding behavior in America. H.R. 8 would mostly stop the 100-million-plus lawful gun owners in the United States from borrowing, selling or loaning a firearm without first checking in with the federal government.

Before the vote, agroup of House Republicans gathered on the steps of the Capitol Building to expose the real-world consequences this misguided legislation would have.

One person who spoke was Shayna Lopez-Rivas, a woman who was raped by a man with a knife in 2014. “Those who support this bill claim it is about safety,” said Lopez-Rivas, “however, this bill is not about safety at all. H.R. 8 will not stop criminals from stealing firearms, getting them on the black market or buying them through straw purchases. This bill will only make it more difficult and expensive for law-abiding citizens, like myself, to own firearms. It discourages use of firearms in defensive situations and encourages prosecution of otherwise lawful gun owners who make an innocent mistake. It also would make it harder for me to lend a firearm to a friend who otherwise couldn’t afford one, but needs one for temporary self-defense or to practice at a range by themselves. This bill will not stop crime, but it will make criminals out of normal citizens.”

Lopez-Rivas gives more of her story on her website:

I grew up in an anti-gun, liberal household in New Jersey where my entire knowledge of firearms and politics came from inaccurate and unrealistic depictions from Hollywood. When I started college at Florida State University, I carried my anti-Second Amendment views and misconceptions perpetuated by gun control groups with me.

However as a student, on Nov. 13, 2014, I was sexually assaulted oncampus. Though I used pepper spray and ran for the blue safety lights on my campus that alerted police, the criminal who attacked me was faster, stronger, and threatened me with a knife. After that night, I took up a much more proactive approach to self-defense, including training and carrying with firearms. 

Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Ga., the House Minority Whip also spoke. He was severely wounded by a man who tried to murder Republican congressmen while they practiced for the annual Congressional Baseball Game for Charity in June 2017.

“This bill turns law-abiding citizens into criminals, and it’s one more step towards federalized gun registration and ultimately gun confiscation,” said Scalise. “That’s been the intention of many of the people bringing this bill for a long time. They want true gun control, and this is the first step and surely not the last.”

This is a point a lot of Republicans have been making since there is no possible way for the government to enforce a law like H.R. 8 without somehow knowing the precise makes, models and serial numbers of all of the more than 400 million guns that more than 100 million Americans already lawfully own. To get there, they would have to accomplish what no government, including Canada, has ever been able to pull off. They’d have to somehow create a comprehensive national gun registry.

Do they really think freedom-loving Americans would line up like sheep for that?

This is why Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., said: “Frankly, H.R. 8 is taking the fears and concerns of a nation over gun violence and perpetrating a fraud upon them. They are preying upon the very victims they are supposedly trying to help by putting a bill out there that will not help them. By constantly bringing up the mass violence instances such as schools and theaters and others. They are saying this will help. The reality is nothing in this bill would have stopped Parkland and nothing in this bill would have stopped the violence we have seen.”

 So What Is this About?

H.R. 8 is foremost about political posturing for 2020—since Democrats know this gun-control legislation is unlikely to be taken up in the Republican-controlled Senate and even less likely to be signed by President Donald J. Trump. Democrats think it’s to their political advantage to push this issue. The mainstream media has spent the last few weeks telling Democrats in Congress that the politics of guns have changed, that now a majority of the public wants their rights infringed upon. “Over time, the evidence grew more irrefutable that by abandoning gun control, Democrats were trying to placate voters they had already lost, while slighting the voters they were attracting,” reported CNN in a story titled, “Why Democrats are not afraid of gun control anymore.”

There is much evidence to show this is a misreading of the American electorate. Regardless, this political move isn’t just about background checks. After all, everyone agrees that the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) has had some glaring failures of late, and needs to be further analyzed and perhaps improved. To name one horrifying example, the U.S. Air Force didn’t give NICS records that should have stopped one manfrom buying his guns and using them to murder 26 people in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

Tom Gresham, host of Gun Talk, wrote an op-ed this week to warn us of another possible use of H.R. 8 and H.R. 1112. H.R. 1112, entitled “Enhanced Background Check Act of 2019” passed in the House on February 28 by a vote of 228-198. H.R. 1112 would, as NRA-ILA reported, “...eliminate the 3-day safety-valve provision under the federal firearms background check system that prevents the government from enacting an indefinite delay of firearm purchases for law-abiding Americans.”

For these and other reasons, H.R. 8 and H.R. 1112 are not about keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, and they surely aren’t “common-sense” reforms. They are about disarming law-abiding Americans.

 The Hollywood Snub of the Week

Last Sunday (Feb. 24) Hollywood held its Academy Awards. One thing that has long taken place at the awards is a remembrance of the Hollywood icons lost over the preceding year. Though Hollywood remembered fallen greats like Burt Reynolds, it failed to note the passing of the great character actor R. Lee Ermey, the retired Marine Corps drill instructor who burst onto the scene with his portrayal of a Marine Corps drill instructor in “Full Metal Jacket” (1987). Ermey would later serve on the NRA Board of Directors and stand up for our freedom wherever he went—which is likely why he was snubbed by the Hollywood elites. Now, none of Ermey’s best lines from “Full Metal Jacket” are family friendly enough to quote here, but it would be something to hear what he thinks of the snub. In any case, we’d sure like to say, “We miss Ermey. God bless.”


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