House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected to bring two gun control measures to the floor on Wednesday for debate, with a vote coming either late Wednesday night or, more likely, on Thursday of this week. H.R. 8, which would mandate that the vast majority of private firearm transfers go through a retailer who can conduct a background check, and H.R. 1446, which would expand the length of time that the FBI can delay a gun transfer from three days to an indefinite period of time, are both aimed squarely at legal gun owners and not violent criminals, which is one of the main reasons why my guest on today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co says he’ll be opposing the bills when they reach the house floor.
Rep. Doug Lamborn argues that neither of these proposals would do anything to reduce violent crime. Instead, it would be the law-abiding citizens of the United States who would feel the impact by being turned into criminals if they so much as loan a gun to a neighbor who’s worried about her abusive ex showing up at her front door.
“They need to enforce the laws that are already on the books,” the congressman told me. “If we did that, it [the violent crime rate] might be a different story. Studies show that criminals who misuse weapons as part of a crime generally get them through theft, the black market, a family member or friend, or a gift. They don’t get them through legitimate sales where there are background checks. They find other ways to obtain their weapons.”
The idea that criminals are suddenly going to abide by a background check requirement is laughable, but Lamborn isn’t kidding when he says that he’s concerned that the universal background check bill is merely a prelude to even more gun control legislation; particularly a federal gun registry of legal gun owners.
“Back when Obama was in office and Joe Biden was vice president – and now we’re in the Obama third term with Biden – one of his people said that universal background checks really aren’t effective unless you have gun registration,” Lamborn explained. “One leads to the other, and that’s what a lot of liberals and progressives are really after. They want a gun registry that would be a huge suppression and violation of our Second Amendment rights.”
As Lamborn says, it’s not that Republicans aren’t interested in stopping mass shootings or reducing violent crime; they just don’t believe the best way to do so is to criminalize the activities of legal gun owners who aren’t a great risk for violence. The congressman noted that when Republicans were in control of Congress they did work on what he describes as real common sense legislation; giving resources to harden security measures at schools while aiding law enforcement in their efforts to identify and deal with threats before an attack were to take place.
What the Democrats are bringing to the House floor tomorrow is the opposite of targeted deterrence. Instead of focusing on the most likely offenders and bringing both law enforcement and community intervention resources to bear, these proposals would place new restrictions on tens of millions of legal gun owners and sellers while completely ignoring the reality of how criminals acquire guns in the first place.
Despite the claims by Democrats that they want to combat “overpolicing” and “overincarceration,” these proposals would lead to more of both, and that’s not an unintended consequence of the legislation. It’s by design, only instead of locking up violent offenders for violent crimes, U.S. Attorneys will be expected to devote time and effort trying to prosecute those who transferred a firearm, even temporarily, without tracking down a gun store willing to conduct background checks on private transfers and paying for the transfer – twice, if the gun is merely being loaned. According to the text of H.R. 8, temporary transfers of firearms have to go through background checks when the gun is being loaned as well as when it’s returned to the legal owner.
Gun owners have every reason to be opposed to these bills, but residents in high crime neighborhoods should be just as incensed that Democrats are offering up gun control bills with the promise of public safety while in reality these bills wouldn’t stop a single illicit transfer of a firearm or a single violent crime from being committed. From a Second Amendment standpoint, these bills are an affront to our constitutional rights. From a crime-fighting standpoint, they’re utterly useless. Both of these issues, however, poll well among people who don’t know about the devils buried in the details, and that’s all that Democrats need to ram the gun control bills through the House and send them over to the Senate.