GOP congressman introduces bill to license "assault weapons"

Rep. Chris Jacobs isn’t running for re-election this year, in large part because of the backlash the New York Republican received when he announced his support for a ban on modern sporting rifles shortly after the shooting at the Tops grocery store in Buffalo earlier this year. Before Jacobs leaves Congress, however, he’s making one last push for gun control; a new bill that would require all new owners of so-called assault weapons to be licensed by the federal government.

The legislation includes a new licensing system, a mandatory safety course, fingerprinting, a background check and much more. Anyone who owns an assault weapon at the time of enactment would be grandfathered in.

There are exemptions to the bill including those who already own an assault weapon, active-duty military and law enforcement officers and more.

Jacobs describes says this is common sense gun legislation. He says, “We can honor and protect our Second Amendment, while also ensuring that dangerous weapons do not fall into the wrong hands.”

And how exactly would this bill do that? Individuals who purchase a firearm at retail are already going through a background check, and it’s not like those who get a gun on the black market are going to suddenly comply with this new mandate.

As for the fact that existing owners of modern sporting rifles are grandfathered in to the legislation and wouldn’t be required to go through the licensing process, so what? For years California and New Jersey’s bans on so-called large capacity magazines grandfathered in all those who owned 10+ round magazines before the bans took effect, but over the last few years both states approved new legislation removing the grandfather clause and requiring all existing magazine owners to either hand them over to the government, permanently modify them, destroy them, or move them out of state. There’s nothing stopping future lawmakers from doing the same with Jacobs’ proposed gun licensing measure, and in fact that would be a top priority for anti-gun politicians if this nonsensical legislation were ever signed into law.

“We saw firsthand in Buffalo, Uvalde, and countless other communities around our nation that high-powered semi-automatic weapons have the capacity to cause an extreme amount of destruction in a very short amount of time. While the overwhelming majority of Americans who own these weapons are law-abiding, responsible gun owners – the increasing trend of mass shootings with these weapons shows additional safeguards must be placed upon obtaining them. My bill will better ensure these guns do not fall into the wrong hands, while still protecting Americans’ ability to exercise their Second Amendment rights,” Jacobs said.

The shooters in Buffalo, Uvalde, and Highland Park all legally acquired the guns that they used to commit their cowardly attacks. They passed background checks and presumably would not have been stopped by any of the new requirements Jacobs wants to foist on anyone attempting to purchase the most popular style of rifle in the U.S. So how exactly does Jacobs’ bill ensure that violent criminals and those plotting their attack on innocent victims can’t get ahold of a gun? Unfortunately the congressman has yet to offer an explanation that makes sense, choosing instead to simply parrot the talking points of his new friends in the gun control lobby.

None of us want to see another mass shooting, but trying to prevent one by imposing licensing requirements on tens of millions of law-abiding Americans isn’t the answer. In every one of the cases that Jacobs references the shooter had displayed glaring warning signs and disturbing behavior in the months beforehand, but the behavior was either never reported to authorities or law enforcement failed to take the appropriate steps that would have prevented these attacks from being carried out. That’s where Jacobs’ focus should be, but instead he’s adopted the gun control mentality of criminalizing our right to keep and bear arms with the false promise of public safety.