The Rising Tide

posted on November 5, 2015

Proposals for new federal gun-control laws seem to ebb and flow, come and go. We’ll see a year pass without so much as a single new proposal, then a veritable tidal wave of measures will be introduced in the U.S. Congress.

Less than a year out from the 2016 presidential election, we have entered into one of those times when it seems every crackpot gun-banner has some new trick up his or her sleeve. Most would have little or no effect on violent criminals, rather they would make gun ownership a little (or a lot) more difficult, or purchasing a firearm a little (or a lot) more inconvenient.“Many gun owners have come to believe that so-called ‘gun control’ is nothing more than an attempt to make the innocent pay the price for the guilty.” — Wayne LaPierre, NRA Executive Vice President

NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre recently put it like this: “As NRA members, we are 5 million Americans among the over 100 million citizens who own firearms. We are not criminals. Our pursuit of life, liberty and happiness, and our exercise of the Second Amendment, has nothing whatsoever to do with crime. Yet the gun-banners often seem to equate our pursuit and the armed protection of our homes, families and communities with the actions of violent criminals. 

“Many gun owners have come to believe that so-called ‘gun control’ is nothing more than an attempt to make the innocent pay the price for the guilty.”

That fact is easily seen in the Handgun Purchaser Licensing Act (HPLA). Federal firearm licensing bills are nothing new, but the twist with the HPLA is that it would use your federal tax dollars to bribe states into requiring the licensing of handgun acquisition under their own laws.

Of course, gun owners know that handgun licensing is neither moderate nor logical. Criminals don’t get their guns with a license. They get them through theft, straw purchases, family members or other criminals. To them (and the sponsors of the HPLA), licensing is simply for you and me—people who bend over backward to follow the rules. 

And consider three punitive measures introduced by U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y.—none of which would curb violent crime. First, Maloney wants you and every other gun owner to be forced to buy liability insurance or pay a $10,000 fine. Other Maloney legislation seeks to close the fictional “gun-show loophole,” despite the fact that studies show the vast majority of criminals don’t get their guns at gun shows. Additionally, Maloney’s “Handgun Trigger Safety Act” would mandate that all new handguns be “smart guns” (guns that theoretically only work for an “authorized” user) within five years, and that all handguns (even your grandfather’s Model 1911) be retrofitted with smart-gun technology within 10 years after the bill were to become law.  

U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., has also jumped into the fray, introducing what he is calling the “Responsible Transfer of Firearms Act.” Current law prohibits transferring a firearm to a person “knowing or having reasonable cause to believe” that the person falls into one of the federally prohibited categories. 

Under Kaine’s bill, however, a person would be held strictly liable for transferring a firearm to a prohibited person, unless he or she could somehow demonstrate having “taken reasonable steps to determine that the recipient [was] not legally barred from possessing firearms or ammunition ….” Just what those steps are, however, is not specified in the bill. Thus, a person would be risking a federal felony with every firearm transfer, unless he or she adhered to an unwritten code of conduct that could shift with every circumstance.

Additionally, in the wake of President Barack Obama’s increased pressure on lawmakers and gun owners to take action on gun control, Senate Democrats gathered on Capitol Hill to call for (yet again) closing the non-existent “gun-show loophole,” restricting online sales, expanded background checks and increased penalties for straw purchases. Ironically, they staged their calls to restrict the rights of gun owners on the steps of the Capitol, protected by about a dozen armed U.S. Capitol Police officers. 

Use Your Power!

Tell your lawmakers that you won’t tolerate any more do-nothing federal gun-control legislation, and that you’ll remember their actions come election time. Call (202)224-3121, or use NRA-ILA’s “Write Your Lawmakers” tool

Most recently, Rep. Nydia Velázquez, D-N.Y., has introduced a measure that would impose a stiff $100 tax on every firearm sold. Known as the “Reducing Gun Violence in our Neighborhoods Act of 2015,” such a tax would actually weigh the most heavily on low-income Americans, many of whom live in neighborhoods where a firearm for self-defense is sorely needed.

Velázquez is quoted as saying, “If making guns more expensive means fewer end up in commerce, I’m happy with that result.” Her implication that hurting firearm sales is somehow accidental—simply collateral damage—is profoundly disingenuous. Indeed, ensuring that “fewer end up in commerce” appears to be the entire point behind this legislation. 

Amidst all the clamor of proposed ineffective restrictions and outright infringement on the Second Amendment, Democrat presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton recently denied that Americans even have an individual right to keep and bear arms. She has also stated she would be interested in looking at a widespread gun confiscation scheme like the one used to take—with some monetary compensation, but still under force of law—more than 650,000 legally owned firearms from gun owners in Australia in 1996.

Is it any wonder, then, that a recent Gallup poll reveals that almost half of Americans regard the federal government as a potential threat, and the most commonly cited reason for distrusting the government is the fear that officials would violate the Second Amendment?

While fear of the government’s actions is often painted as paranoia, it is fruitful to remember that the nation’s top fear—the prohibition and confiscation of guns—is an outcome that the Obama administration is actively, if covertly, pursuing. As would, no doubt, a Hillary Clinton administration, if she should be elected president in 2016.

Meanwhile, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre has released a hard-hitting video explaining to America how our leaders could effectively battle criminal violence without passing more restrictive laws that only affect law-abiding citizens. See the answer here.


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