Congressional Gun Legislation – Good, Bad, or Ugly?
The Congressional gun legislation being taken up this week has some groups concerned, and others standing firm in bipartisan support. What’s the truth? After it was learned that the Sutherland Springs shooter should have been barred from purchasing weapons because of a Domestic Violence conviction in the Air Force that was not uploaded to NICS, members of Congress hopped on the bandwagon to fix the holes in the system. Whether these bills do that or not is a matter of opinion.
They came up with three bills- all related, called the “Fix NICS Act of 2017.” HR 4434, HR 4477, and S 2135. All three are similar in content, forcing all Federal and tribal agencies to obtain certification that they have complied with NICs rules, submitting names of convicted felons and dishonorably discharged persons, and providing a penalty of losing funding if they do not.
The Senate version is cosponsored by 23 Senators, and has widespread bipartisan support. HR 4434 was introduced on November 15, HR 4477 was introduced on November 29 and made it out of the House Judiciary committee in record time, hours after it was sent there by a vote of 17-6. Which is odd.
It has been shown that in the United States, approximately 38 states fail to submit all of their felony convictions to NICS. According to Townhall, that means about 7 Million people should have been on the no purchase list that are not. That’s a lot of names.
All of the bills have a section that demands removal of a name erroneously placed in the NICs system.
“For purposes of the preceding sentence, not later than 60 days after the date on which the Attorney General receives such information, the Attorney General shall determine whether or not the prospective transferee is the subject of an erroneous record and remove any records that are determined to be erroneous.”
The bill also prescribes “prevalidation” of records added to NICS. Names are notoriously difficult to remove from any Federal database. It’s a quagmire of bureaucracy that requires the submitting agency to provide documentation that proves the record was erroneous. It can take months…some even requiring court action.
Bump Stock add on
HR 4477 also has a section added at the bottom of the bill: a committee to investigate how many times bump stocks were used in the commission of crimes in the US.
Gun laws are designed to keep guns out of the hands of criminals. Thousands of gun sales are blocked because the buyer failed a check run by NICS. Recent events show us that Federal agencies and State governments too often fail to upload info to NICS allowing illegal sale of guns https://t.co/KNj9dOuYNm
— National FOP (@GLFOP) November 16, 2017
The #NRA has fought for 20 years to put the records of those adjudicated mentally incompetent into NICS. Until the politicians demand that they are submitted, killers who are legally prohibited from owning firearms will walk into gun stores & pass every background check they take pic.twitter.com/UHiMe60JeU
— NRA (@NRA) November 16, 2017
Fix NICS, leave Reciprocity alone
Another unrelated bill, HR 38 – the NRA-backed National Reciprocity gun rights bill is up for vote soon. National reciprocity has enough votes to pass on its own. However, rumor has it that Congress is planning to put the bills together this week…let’s not let them do that.
If Congress members attempt to put the two bills together, reciprocity will likely be lost. Anti-gunners like Dianne Feinstein and Chuck Schumer would drop reciprocity like a hot potato. The two bills are separate and should remain separate.
Fixing the NICs system could ultimately be an exercise in futility. No amount of background checks ever stop the bad guys from obtaining a weapon, particularly if the person has not been previously judged “mentally ill.” And terrorists will do what they want to do regardless of “background checks.” Any kind of background check will be flawed, no matter how hard legislators work to “fix” them.
Please contact your Congressional legislators and give them your thoughts.
Featured photo: screenshot from YouTube video