Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois was one of eight Republicans in the U.S. House to vote in favor of H.R. 8 on Thursday, leading to calls from some Second Amendment organizations and activists to primary the GOP congressman when and if he runs for re-election next year. After casting his vote in favor of so-called universal background checks, Kinzinger issued a press release characterizing his vote as a “change for the greater good.”
“I firmly believe in the right to keep and bear arms, legally. I’m also a strong advocate for conceal carry, and have permits myself to do so. But we have a violence problem in this country and it cannot be ignored. Following the shootings in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas in August 2019, I said publicly that should the H.R. 8 legislation come before the House again, I would vote in its favor. And today, I did just that.
It’s important to address some of the misinformation about this bill. The language stipulates that it will not, in fact, authorize the creation of a national firearms registry. The requirement for transfers of firearms through a licensed dealer does not apply to law enforcement agencies and officers on duty, to family loaning or gifting to members of their family, if loaned for use at a shooting range or hunting, or in the case of an imminent threat (including domestic violence). I say this because I know my vote today will undoubtedly cause some anguish.
Speaking of misinformation, Kinzinger is actually spreading, rather than dispelling, some bad info about the bill. Take his claim that the requirement does not apply to “family loaning or gifting to members of their family,” for example. It’s true that under H.R. 8, a father could give a gun to his daughter without going through a background check. It’s even possible for a nephew to sell a gun to his aunt without having to go to a gun store. If, on the other hand, he were to sell that same gun to his aunt’s daughter, the background check requirement would kick in. Why? Because reasons, that’s why.
As for transferring a gun to someone for the purposes of self-defense, Kinzinger downplays the qualification that the threat must be “imminent” in order to avoid a background check. A verbal threat communicated to someone over the phone or via text wouldn’t be considered an imminent threat. A past history of abuse wouldn’t qualify as an imminent threat either, so if your neighbor called you one evening and asked if she could have one of your guns overnight because she’s concerned that her abusive ex might show up at her home, you’d have to tell her “no.”
“But I believe that in order to curb evildoers from having access to firearms, we have to be willing to make some changes for the greater good. This legislation by itself will not stop violence. It will help, but the core of our issues cannot be changed by laws. We cannot detect or deter evil by legislating. Accepting the reality that this evil exists is part of it, as well as holding those who commit these crimes accountable.
“In the face of the evil that threatens the fabric of what this nation stands for, we must unite and stand against such hatred. It’s why I took this vote today, making a choice to work towards a better tomorrow for our children and the future of this country.
What a load of horsesh*t. Like every other member of Congress who voted in favor of H.R. 8, Kinzinger fails to explain how the bill would prevent “evildoers” from getting a gun. This law doesn’t advance any greater good if the impacts are going to be felt by legal gun owners and not violent criminals, who’ll continue to ignore this law just as they already ignore the laws against rape, murder, robbery, and home invasion.
It also begs the question as to why Kinzinger voted for H.R. 8, but voted against H.R. 1446, the other gun control bill that passed out of the House on Thursday. If requiring private gun transfers to go through a background check is just one of those sacrifices we have to make for the greater good, then why does he think allowing the FBI more time to approve a gun sale is a bridge too far? Why is one okay but not the other?
The most pathetic portion of Kinzinger’s statement is his claim that he voted in favor of universal background checks as a way of standing against hatred and portraying his vote as a vote for “a better tomorrow for our children.” H.R. 8 will not prevent a single illicit private transfer of a firearm, and Kinzinger knows it. In his own state of Illinois, every person who owns a gun is supposed to have a Firearms Owner ID card, yet there are thousands of criminals in Chicago who are more likely to possess a Ph.D. than a FOID license. Just like Illinois’ FOID requirements, criminals won’t be impacted by this bill in the slightest, and it’s a slap in the face to good people in bad neighborhoods to lie about the effectiveness of this “do something” legislation. If Kinzinger wants to deter evil, then he should target evildoers, not the legal gun owners that are the focus of the gun control bill he embraced.
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