Back on January 30th, Rep. Hank Johnson introduced HR 5717, a gun control bill on steroids that would, if enacted into law, impose a laundry list of anti-gun restrictions on our right to keep and bear arms, including:
- requiring individuals to obtain a license to purchase, acquire, or possess a firearm or ammunition;
- raising the minimum age—from 18 years to 21 years—to purchase firearms and ammunition;
- “universal background checks” for firearm transfers between private parties;
- a federal “red flag” law allowing a family or household member to petition a court for an extreme risk protection order to remove firearms from an individual;
- a ban on semiautomatic rifles and ammunition magazines that can hold more than ten rounds (with a grandfather clause);
- banning unserialized firearms;
- undoing the Protection of Lawful Commerce In Arms Act;
- allows the Consumer Product Safety Commission to issue safety standards for firearms and firearm components
Obviously this bill would be awful if it became law, but the chances of that are slim at best. At the moment, HR 5717 has 18 co-sponsors in the House, and there’s virtually no chance of the Senate approving the measure. That hasn’t stopped some folks from claiming, without any evidence whatsoever, that House Democrats are planning on inserting the language of HR 5717 into a fourth stimulus bill in the hopes of sneaking it past pro-2A lawmakers and President Donald Trump.
Is it possible that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would try to sneak gun ban language into any additional stimulus measures? Sure, it’s possible, but if she were going to do so, why wouldn’t she have done that with any of the three stimulus bills that have passed so far? After all, those bills were passed in a much bigger rush than a potential fourth stimulus measure. Heck, Pelosi says the House isn’t even coming back into session until early May, so she’s clearly not in any hurry to force a vote on another financial package aimed at helping small businesses.
We don’t even have proposed language for a fourth stimulus bill, so I’m unconvinced that unnamed sources have uncovered a big plan by Pelosi to rig the bill with poison pill gun control language. I think the reason this rumor sounds plausible to so many people is that we did watch as House Democrats tried to pack the last stimulus bill full of unrelated items that have long been a priority for the party, including hundreds of millions of dollars for government agencies like the National Endowment for the Arts. If Democrats were willing to play games with the third stimulus measure by stuffing it full of pork, why wouldn’t they try to pack the next stimulus bill with gun control?
I believe the real threat posed by HR 5717 will come this November, not May. If Democrats hold on to the House and take back the Senate and the White House on Election Day, Johnson’s bill could very well come up for a vote in the next session of Congress, and I have no doubt it would pass. The measures proposed by Johnson aren’t that different from Joe Biden’s gun control agenda, and there’s no reason to believe that Biden would veto the bill if it got to his desk. I’m sure he’d be happy to sign off on the bill in the Oval Office, likely surrounded by Bloomberg’s anti-gun flunkies and an adoring press corps.
If you want to contact your congresscritter and tell them to oppose the insertion of any gun control language in any future stimulus bills, go right ahead, but don’t think that is enough. If you’re truly concerned about the future of your right to keep and bear arms you need to be working to elect pro-2A candidates this November so we can consign HR 5717 and Nancy Pelosi’s gun control agenda to the dustbin of history.