On May 21st of last year, I was quoted by the Village Voice in an article about gun ownership. I took inclusion in the piece — “After Santa Fe Shooting, Have Conservatives Shot Their Wads? Gun defenders are grasping at ever-thinner straws” — as a compliment, though the message wasn’t exactly positive.
As the Village Voice pointed out, my RedState assertion was simple:
The Left want your guns, and they want them now. The Left want your guns, and they want them now. The Left want your guns, and they want them now. That is the overwhelming conclusion from the media coverage of Fridays’ shooting in Texas. Horribly, ten were killed at Santa Fe High School; immediately, the Left — in the political, news, and entertainment realms — began their quest for your guns. … They. Want. Your. Guns.
I was right.
In a time of mass-shooting media obsession, is further firearm regulation simply good sense, or — even if bipartisan — a move in the wrong direction, addressing the wrong thing, for the wrong reasons?
On Wednesday, Democratic House Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (NY) defended his party’s legislative move toward a universal background check for firearm purchases.
According to Jeffries, if made into law, enforcement of a new bill would be at the discretion of the Department of Justice. That exercise could include federal registration.
Jeffries called gun violence in the U.S. an “epidemic,” referencing the Parkland, Florida massacre:
“The Department of Justice and the FBI will have primary responsibility for enforcing the requirements that we hope will be enacted into law consistent with the values of the overwhelming majority of the American people. This is a discussion that we should be having in the United States Congress as it relates to the gun violence epidemic in the United States of America, particularly on the eve of the tragedy that took place in Parkland.”
The Left continues to point to mass shootings, but it’s a political sleight of hand: Most firearm deaths are courtesy of handguns, and many of those are suicides. Nevertheless, the liberal side of the aisle seems set on a 2nd Amendment crackdown.
Though, Parkland is a natural point of reference at the moment, being that Thursday marks the 1-year anniversary of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High shooting, which left 17 people dead.
As for the bill, Republican Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert questioned the execution of the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 — otherwise known as H.R. 8:
“How would [it] be enforced? If someone obtains a gun without getting a background check, it would seem that’s not going to come to light until that gun is used.”
What of the federal registry? Democratic California Rep. Karen Bass told The Daily Caller that it wouldn’t be tackled, for now.
Another Dem — Louisiana Rep. Cedric Richmond — expounded upon the complexities:
“The truth of the matter is the gun is registered to somebody. So, if somebody wanted to violate the law, then that’s on them. But to detect that they violated [the law] when the new person either registers it or are caught in possession of it, the question will become, ‘How did they get the gun,’ and if they say they purchased it. The question becomes, ‘Why didn’t they go through the required federal law?’”
But Cedric’s good with a national registry:
“I would not mind seeing a gun registry. I really wouldn’t. I think I filed that bill when I was in the Louisiana legislature. I think I filed a registry. I think I filed ballistic fingerprints and assault weapons ban. So, I’m at the other end of the spectrum. I don’t mind.”
Even so, he doesn’t think the timing is right:
“This bill sounds good when you hear universal background checks. It sounds like a great idea, but once you realize that every gun sale in America, commercial gun sale, has a background check, and if someone’s not running a background check, they’re breaking the law. Let’s enforce the laws we have.”
And here’s a major hiccup: as per Cedric, an attorney general could use the price of a background check to price out those not well-off, therefore disabling them from purchasing a firearm at all:
“Any attorney general and any local officials could set the price for running a background check for a person so high that individuals couldn’t afford to do it. So, what if they said it cost $5000 to run a background check at a gun store? Well, most Americans can’t afford that. So those are two of the different levers that they intend to use to limit law-abiding gun owners from purchasing guns.”
The bill actually states, “Nothing in this act, or any amendment to this act, shall be construed to authorize the establishment, directly or indirectly, of a national firearms registry.” Yet again, how else will the national background checks be enforced?
Doubtlessly, the founders of our country didn’t imagine a large federal government having a record of every gun owned by every citizen. It seems obvious that, given the wrong direction, registration is a path friendly to confiscation. On a more philosophical note, is it the federal government’s — or anyone’s — business to know whether or not a citizen owns a gun? What about a hammer? A saw? A knife?
The Guardian thinks it knows the reason for mass shootings (here); so does Hollywood (here). But both are wrong. In his book, When I was a Kid, This was a Free Country, now-88-year-old G. Gordon Liddy discussed the past prominence and normalcy of guns in America — a man could walk down the sidewalk with a rifle in his hands, with no trouble. Yet, the murder rate was nothing close to modern times.
Something has changed, and it’s happened within the bodies, minds, hearts, and souls of Americans. No legislation can change any of those. Nor can anything else in Washington. We need something else. Perhaps it’s something found somewhere…here.
Find all my RedState work here.
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