Dangerous things often come in small packages. Remember the hulking lineman in high school who made the mistake of picking on the little guy who turned out to be a state champion wrestler? Or the first time a firecracker nearly went off in your hand while you were throwing it?
Such is H.R. 167, a bill introduced by Rep. Al Green (D-Texas) — another case of serious nuttiness coming out of the Lone Star State’s congressional delegation.
Democrats have for years — read decades — now had a massive burr up their butt about the so-called “gun show loophole.”
Their alleged concern is that criminals could go to a gun show and purchase a firearm from an unlicensed seller without a background check.
While I’m sure that does occasionally happen, the vast majority of sellers at gun shows are FFL holders who are required to do background checks.
Moreover, it is not at all unusual for ATF agents to be at major shows to keep an eye on things. And of course, any private seller who wishes to, or has a concern about a buyer could easily ask one of the FFLs present to run a check — for a small fee, I’m sure.
In addition to that, as the National Shooting Sports Foundation notes:
According to a January 2019 U.S. Department of Justice survey of prison inmates, less than one percent (0.8) of criminals that possessed a firearm during their current offense acquired their guns from gun shows. By contrast, nearly 50 percent reported acquiring their guns illegally, such as by theft or on the black market.
So the reality is, there simply is no loophole.
Enter Green and H.R.167, like his friend Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), Green is no fan of the Second Amendment, and as opposed to Jackson Lee’s rabid fever dream H.R. 127, which would make it nearly impossible to own a firearm, Green has introduced something that seems a bit more innocuous — on its face, at least.
(a) In General.—Section 922 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:
“(aa) (1) (A) It shall be unlawful for a person to transfer a firearm at a gun show, unless the person is a licensed dealer.
So, no more private sales at gun shows. Got it. Loophole closed, right?
Well, not so much.
First, there is no loophole in federal law that exempts gun show transactions from federal firearms laws. Private sales are exempted from background check regulations, but no commercial sales are.
And note, ATF makes it clear that if you cross the line from private seller to gun dealer without getting an FFL, you’re in for some trouble.
A person who willfully engages in the business of dealing in firearms without the required license is subject to criminal prosecution, and can be sentenced to up to five years in prison, fined up to $250,000, or both.
Note Green isn’t stupid enough to try to ban all private sales, so you could still sell to someone at your house. Just not at the gun show, or even in the parking lot. So it really only takes aim at the much-hated gun shows.
Then we get into the penalties.
(b) Penalties.—Section 924(a) of such title is amended by adding at the end the following:
“(8) Whoever knowingly violates section 922(aa) shall be fined an amount equal to $10,000 multiplied by the number of firearms involved in the violation, imprisoned not less than 1 year and not more than 2 years, or both.”.
So, you could end up with massive fines and some fairly serious time in Club Fed as well.
And yes, you read that right, the fines are multiplied by the number of firearms sold, and the language is “shall be” so it’s not IF you’ll be sent to prison, it’s for how long. It’s not clear from the language (Democrats are good at feels, not so much words) if the prison term is multiplied as well, but it seems fairly likely.
Fortunately, so far at least, Green’s bill has no co-sponsors, and would hopefully run into some legal trouble if passed, since prohibiting private individuals from selling legal objects to each other is problematic from both a Fourth and Fifth Amendment standpoint, never mind potential violations of the Second.
The fact that Democrats cannot seem to wrap their mind the fact that it’s not legal gun owners who are the problem, but criminals.
The cognitive dissonance here is staggering. These same people, who insist that the very existence of a thing will turn people into raging murders bent on hell and destruction, are the same people who are refusing to prosecute crimes, declining to try to keep a Manson Family member in prison and chanting “defund the police.”
It’s inconceivable to them that with 423 million firearms in private hands, and 8.1 billion rounds of ammunition produced a year if the average gun owner was the problem they would know it.
So there we come to the reality folks. Democrats like Green are hell-bent on turning gun owners into criminals, in part because they know the average gun owner is law abiding and will follow the law.
This isn’t about crime, it’s about control. And they know it.
Editor’s Note: Want to support Bearing Arms so we can tell the truth about Joe Biden and the Left’s radical gun control agenda? Join Bearing Arms VIP. Use the promo code GUNRIGHTS to get 25% off your membership.