As they promised, the Democrat Party majority in the U.S. House of Representatives is wasting no time in gun grabbing in 2019. They are launching a raft of new civilian disarmament legislation. Although there is still a Republican majority in the U.S. Senate, there is a risk that some of these bills may be passed into law, following some across the aisle quid pro quo deal-making or legislative bundling. What I fear most is President Trump accepting such a deal, in order to get his coveted Border wall funded. I’m also concerned that some grand “compromise” might be reached, with the laudable Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act (introduced but not passed by the previous Congress) thrown into a package of legislation that would include one or more anti-gun bills.
There have already been three bills introduced or announced, and undoubtedly there are many more now being drafted. This will be a veritable onslaught of legislation. They seem intent on doing it California Style: That is, throwing a bunch of bills against the wall, in the hope that some of them will stick:
A Federal Red Flag Law
In the U.S. Senate both Democrats and a few Republicans have re-introduces S.7, a bill that seeks to encourage states to pass red-flag laws that would make it easier for courts to disarm “dangerous people.” It is titled the “Extreme Risk Protection Order and Violence Prevention Act.” Led by Republican in Name Only (RINO) Marco Rubio, this law has a good chance of passage, and alarmingly President DJT has promised to sign such legislation.
The proposed law flies in the face of the American tradition and the constitutional promise of Due Process, under the 14th Amendment. Typically, Red Flag laws do no give the accused any opportunity to defend themselves in court before having all of their firearms and ammunition seized by force. It is only post facto that they have their day in court, and then they must essentially beg to have their birthright restored. This is very bad legislation. I predict that the inevitable doorstep confrontations with police will result in far more deaths than the massacres that the authors of this bill claim will be prevented.
A Federal Semi-Auto and Magazine Ban
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D.-California) has once again introduced S. 66, a ban on many semi-autos and magazines holding more than 10 cartridges. This monumentally unconstitutional bill is even worse than its previous incarnations, for several reasons:
- It bans 205 models by name, and hundreds of other models, by description, to wit: “…any ‘assault weapon’ that accepts a detachable ammunition magazine and has one or more military characteristics including a pistol grip, a forward grip, a barrel shroud, a threaded barrel or a folding or telescoping stock.”
- It vaguely bans “parts that can give semi-auto firearms the rate of fire of machineguns.” Unless the law delimits a specific rate, then it is void for vagueness. And consider that a skilled shooter can achieve a rate of fie of nearly 700 rounds per minute, with a standard trigger. For comparison, an M3 Greasegun fires full auto at a rate of 450 rounds per minute.
- It has a Grandfather Clause, but requires a Federal background check for subsequent transfers–even for a father passing a gun down to his son as a gift.
- Requires that grandfathered “assault” weapons be stored using a secure gun storage vault or with safety device like a trigger lock. This would make them unavailable for quick use in self-defense situations.
- Prohibits the transfer of high-capacity ammunition magazines. Once this law goes into effect, the 11+ round magazines that you own will become your lifetime supply. And once you die, it will be a Federal crime to pass them down to your children. They can only be turned in for destruction.
- It bans pistol arm braces. These have become very popular for ARs, AKs, and even shotgun “firearms”, in recent years. It is not yet clear if this part of the ban would have a Grandfather Clause.
- Bans stocks that are “otherwise foldable or adjustable in a manner that operates to reduce the length, size, or any other dimension, or otherwise enhances the concealability of a firearm.”
- It will ban Thordsen-type grips and stocks. This makes the new law an unconstitutional Bill of Attainder, since it singles out one company’s products, by name.
- It has no Sunset Clause. This will be permanent legislation, with no sure end in sight. (At least the 1994-2004 Federal ban had light at the end of the tunnel. This will be a ban with No Hope.)
- Violations of most of the provisions of this law are Federal felonies. Conviction would result in the permanent loss of most other gun rights and the right to vote.
The Government Printing Office (GPO) web site reported: “As of 01/14/2019 text has not been received for S .66,” So we don’t yet have the exact wording of the bill–only what Feinstein’s staffers have summarized, at her web page.
I predict that if Feinstein’s bill is signed into law, it will immediately cause 100% or more inflation in Pre-Ban black rifle prices, and 1,000% inflation after just a few years. It will be roughly analogous to the inflationary effect of the 1986 Machinegun Freeze, but on a grand scale. All bans and freezes with Grandfather Clauses cause galloping prices.
According to Feinstein’s web page: “In addition to Feinstein, Murphy and Blumenthal, co-sponsors of the bill include Senators Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.).”
It bears mentions that all of those are Democrats, except for socialist but nominally Independent Bernie Sanders.
A Federal Ban on Private Party Sales of Used Guns
Under the innocuous-sounding goals of “Universal Background Checks” and “Closing the Gun Show Loophole”, H.R. 8, a bill has been introduced and put on the fast-track for passage. Dubbed the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, this is a horrible piece of legislation that probably would not survive a test by the Supreme Court. The key issue is that it is a ban on inherently intrastate commerce (sales of used merchandise between private party residents of the same state) by stretching the meaning of the Interstate Commerce Clause. Clearly, there is no INTERstate commerce involved, since an INTRAstate sale of a used gun is outside of interstate commerce! I expect the current court to expand the U.S. v. Lopez precedent, the next time that the Commerce Clause is tested vis-a-vis the Second Amendment.
This background check law would also undoubtedly trip up hundreds of thousands of “unlawful users” of controlled substances. They would be forced to lie in their responses to the ATF Form 4473 questions. Providing false answers on that form is a felony, with a penalty of up to 10 years in prison. It is noteworthy that both medical and recreational use of marijuana is still a Federal violation, even though it is now “legalized” in many states. Eight states and the District of Columbia allow recreational marijuana, while 29 states allow medical use.
Roll Call reported: “Five Democrats and five Republicans signed on as original co-sponsors of the bill. GOP Reps. Brian Mast of Florida, Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Peter T. King of New York, Fred Upton of Michigan, and Christopher H. Smith of New Jersey joined Democrats Jerrold Nadler of New York, Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, Robin Kelly of Illinois, Lucy McBath of Georgia, and Thompson.”
Update (23 January): The bill now has 225 co-sponsors!
As a prepper, I am particularly concerned about requiring a phoned-in FBI National Instant Check System (NICS) background check for all sales of post-1898 guns. I assume that it will become a felony to privately sell a modern gun outside of the NICS process. If there is ever a natural or man-made disaster that takes down either the power grid or the phone networks, then there will be no sales of modern guns until those systems are restored! And even a government shutdown or a localized emergency that affects FBI administrative functions could bring gun sales to a halt, nationwide.
Lastly, this law would essentially ruin gun shows as we currently know them–reducing them to flea markets where you can buy ammo, jerky, and pepper spray, but not much else. Presently, the majority of gun show tables are operated by private parties, rather than Federally-licensed dealers. Many of those vendors will likely quit renting tables, if this horrible law is enacted.
This Legislation Must Be Stopped!
Please, contact your congressman and senator, and do so often, and politely. Make it clear that they will NOT be-re-elected if they vote for any anti-gun legislation. I recommend that you mark your calendar to make contacts once every two weeks for the foreseeable future. Alternate between phone calls, snail mail, faxes, and e-mails. When you make calls, pay attention to when your representatives are back in their districts, on legislative breaks. Make your calls to their in-state offices during those breaks.