The House of Representatives is expected to vote Wednesday on misguided legislation that supposedly would improve criminal background checks of gun buyers and keep guns out of the hands of criminals. But instead of closing loopholes that allow criminals to access firearms, the bill by House Democrats could turn millions of law-abiding American gun owners into felons.
Yes, you read that right.
The bill is H.R. 8, the “bipartisan” Background Checks Act of 2019. As introduced, the legislation would mandate background checks even when a gun is temporarily transferred from one person or entity to another.
This would cover transfers of firearms with historical significance to a museum for public display, a suicidal person who asks a friend to take his guns, or an injured car accident victim who alerts an emergency responder that there is a gun in his vehicle and asks the responder to keep the gun from falling into the wrong hands when the vehicle is towed.
Requiring background checks for temporary transfers of possession would trigger penalties of up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine for merely handing a firearm to another person. Even transferring a firearm to someone during a life-threatening emergency could be deemed a crime by a federal prosecutor or judge if the transfer wasn’t “immediately necessary to prevent … imminent death or great bodily harm.”
House Democrats are taking up a bill that would not have prevented several of the mass shootings that occurred in recent years.
These include the shootings at: Columbine High School in Colorado; Virginia Tech; Fort Hood in Texas; Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut; the Aurora movie theater in Colorado; the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C.; the Pulse Nightclub in Florida; the First Baptist Church in Texas; the country concert in Las Vegas; Emanuel AME Church in South Carolina; and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.
H.R. 8 fails to prevent gun violence. Over 77 percent of criminals in state prisons for firearm crimes obtained a firearm on the black market, on the street, from a drug dealer, or through theft, according to the Department of Justice.
Stricter gun laws do not always equate to safer cities. Look to Chicago, where Illinois has some of the strictest gun laws in the country. The state earned a B+ rating from the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Illinois ranks 8th in the nation for gun law strength.
As the third largest city in the United States, Chicago shoulders much of the state’s violence. Despite stringent laws, Chicago saw more than 530 homicides in 2018 – more than Los Angeles and New York City combined.
House Democrats will continue to carry on about how their bill will “prevent” future gun violence. But H.R. 8 will not prevent gun violence at the hands of criminals. Current law already requires a background check on every commercial gun purchase in America. But that doesn’t fit House Democrats’ narrative.
So instead of working across the aisle to put forward legislation that will get to the root of the real problem, Democrats want to go after our constitutional right to bear arms. House Democrats bring before us H.R. 8 – misguided and careless legislation that turns lawful American citizens into criminals.