Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO) has unveiled a new bill that would make it illegal for U.S. citizens to purchase and take possession a firearm outside of their home state. Crow calls the legislation the “Closing The Loophole On Interstate Firearms Sales Act,” but in truth their is no loophole to close.
Under existing federal law, if a resident of Kansas travels to a Colorado gun store to purchase a handgun, that pistol must be shipped to an FFL in Kansas before they can take possession of it. Rifles and shotguns, however, can be acquired by out-of-state residents without the long gun having to be shipped back to their local gun shop in Kansas.
Personally, I think we need to get rid of the prohibition on out-of-state residents being able to buy and possess pistols, but instead Crow wants to go in the opposite direction make it illegal to get a long gun as well as a handgun. Under his legislation, all firearms purchased out of state would have to be transferred to an FFL in your home state before you could take possession.
“Almost two years ago, children and families across our state were terrorized by the threat of yet another mass shooting, a tragedy that is all too familiar in Colorado,” Crow said. “This threat could have been prevented by treating shotguns and rifles the same way we treat handguns.”
In that instance, an 18-year-old woman who was reportedly obsessed with the 1999 Columbine High School mass murder was deemed a credible threat, according to law enforcement, based on her comments and behavior. Around the time of the 20th anniversary of the tragedy, she flew to Colorado and immediately purchased a shotgun.
While her home state of Florida restricted such purchases to persons age 21 and older, Colorado had no similar bar. Law enforcement found her dead of an apparent suicide near Mount Evans after several school districts took the extraordinary step of closing amid the threat.
This was a tragic case, but it’s not reason enough to change federal law. One of the primary reasons why out-of-state residents can still purchase and acquire rifles and shotguns is because many Americans travel to other states to hunt. Imagine that you’ve traveled hundreds or thousands of miles and spent thousands of dollars on a hunting trip only to have your gun break down in the field. Under Crow’s bill you’d simply be out of luck unless you could convince someone to loan you another firearm while you’re in another state.
Of course the Second Amendment isn’t about protecting the right to hunt. It’s about protecting the right of the People to keep and bear arms, and Crow’s proposed legislation would infringe on that right instead. If someone can pass a background check at retail, why does it matter if they live in another state? What other right do limit or try to confine to the state of our residence?
If I were to drive up to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to visit the Midtown Scholar bookstore, I can drive home with an armload of books even though I live in Virginia. I can give a speech in Utah without having to restrict what I say. My Fourth Amendment rights aren’t diminished if I travel from my home in central Virginia to spend a weekend in North Carolina. Why then are my Second Amendment rights ignored or infringed when I travel to another state?
Crow is presenting his bill as a “common sense gun safety measure” when it’s actually just another attempt to turn the Second Amendment into a second-class right. The new legislation doesn’t have a bill number yet, but we’ll be keeping an eye on the measure and will provide an update if it starts to move through the House in the coming weeks.
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