The number of gun control bills introduced in Congress continues to grow, with five new pieces of legislation filed this week by New York Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney. The Democrat is one of the most vocal opponents of the Second Amendment in Congress, and it’s an annual tradition akin to Groundhog Day for her to drop a number of gun control bills into the legislative hopper.
The difference this year is that Democrats are in complete control of both the legislative and executive branches of government, which increases the odds that Maloney’s bills will actually move forward.
Maloney introduced the Gun Trafficking Prevention Act, which would make gun trafficking a felony and make straw purchasing — when someone buys a gun for another person who is ineligible — a felony as opposed to a misdemeanor.
She also introduced the Handgun Trigger Safety Act, which would incentivize the development of “smart-gun technology” that would only allow authorized gun owners to fire a gun. In addition, Maloney introduced the Firearm Risks Protection Act, which would require gun owners to purchase liability insurance.
Besides those three bills, Maloney’s also introduced a bill mandating background checks for all firearm transfers at gun shows, as well as the “NICS Review Act”, which would mandate that the FBI keep National Instant Check System for at least 90 days instead of the current 30-day restriction.
On the surface, this may appear to be a fairly mild batch of legislation considering Maloney’s vociferous opposition to the right to keep and bear arms, but the devil is in the details. The most egregious infringement on our Second Amendment rights would be Maloney’s Handgun Trigger Safety Act, which actually does far more than simply encourage the development of “smart gun” technology.
The bill contains a provision mandating that, within five years of becoming law, all new firearms sold in the United States must be “personalized, ensuring that they can only be operated by authorized users.” Within ten years, every used firearm sold would have to be retrofitted with smart gun technology before it could legally change hands.
Don’t want or need a “smart gun”? Can’t afford the high price tag? Too bad. If Maloney’s bill becomes law, you wouldn’t have a choice in the matter.
Maloney’s Firearm Risks Protection Act and its mandate that legal gun owners purchase liability insurance is another attack on legal gun ownership. According to Maloney’s office the bill:
- Prohibits Firearms Trafficking: The bill requires all gun purchasers to hold qualified liability insurance and restricts retail gun sales without proof of coverage.
- Strengthens protections for victims of gun violence: The bill protects victims by ensuring that liability insurance covers a victim’s medical expenses due to gun violence.
- Ensures responsible gun ownership: The bill enacts fines towards violators of the provision up to $10,000 for not insuring firearms.
Does Maloney really believe that violent criminals are going to carry liability insurance on their guns so that their victims’ medical expenses are covered? Of course not. This is about making it more expensive to exercise a constitutionally-protected right, and the folks who would feel its impact the most are lower-income gun owners who may very well find themselves priced out of their right to keep and bear arms.
Maloney was joined by several gun control activists as she unveiled her proposal; timing their release to coincide with the third anniversary of the shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Fred Guttenberg, who’s daughter Jaime was one of the victims of the shooting, said Maloney’s package treats gun violence as public health issue rather than a Second Amendment one.
“The reality of gun violence and gun safety is not a second amendment conversation,” Guttenberg said. “It is not, it is a public health conversation.”
Gun ownership is a Second Amendment conversation, and these bills are all aimed at legal gun owners and not violent criminals. Even the smart gun legislation touted by Maloney is a bit of a red herring, given the fact that smart guns equipped with RFID tech have been “hacked” with just a few magnets that cost less than $15. Criminals that got ahold of a smart gun could very well defeat the tech, and so far no one has actually figured out a way to retrofit existing firearms with RFID technology, which makes Maloney’s bill an exercise in fabulism as well as an infringement on our Second Amendment rights.
Maloney herself noted that she’s introduced these bills before without success, but says that with Democrats in control of both the House and Senate the legislation is “particularly positioned well” for passage this year. I don’t think her legislation can get 60 votes in the Senate, but we could see Democrats try to insert Maloney’s bills into “must-pass” budget bills in the hopes of strong-arming Republicans to go along.
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