Lawmakers Introduce Bill Designed To Charge for NICS Checks

When you buy a gun, there’s a lot of hassle that goes into it. However, a Democrat from the state of New York has decided that there’s not nearly enough hassle, so she’s offered up a bill to remedy that “problem” for gun buyers.

Characterized as a measure to fund gun violence research and victim assistance, a proposal by House Democrats would see a fee charged for National Instant Criminal Background Checks.

The bill, HR 3987, was introduced by New York Democrat U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez without comment earlier this month. Titled the Protecting Americans from Gun Violence Act of 2017, it would assess gun buyers a $1 fee for NICS checks that, since their adoption in 1998, have been free.

As structured in Velazquez’s proposal, the first $10 million in fees collected every year would be earmarked for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to carry out gun research.  Designated under the Public Health Service Act, the funds could then be distributed by CDC via grants to both public and private nonprofits and to individuals engaged in such research. The $10 million per year figure has long been a benchmark for Democrats on Capitol Hill seeking to put the nation’s health protection agency on a footing to study crime, suicide, and injuries involving guns as a health issue.

The next $5 million in fees garnered from gun buyers each year would go to help run NICS itself. Any funds over that amount would go to the Department of Justice’s Office for Victim Assistance.

Maybe it’s just me, but the idea of making gun buyers fund the DoJ’s Office of Victim Assistance feels accusatory. It’s as if gun owners should be funding victim assistance simply because we’re responsible for creating victims.

Of course, that’s not all Velazquez’s bill seeks to do. It also seeks to create a regulatory requirement on gun stores to maintain records on all checks and timestamped receipts for at least three years, thus making it even more difficult for gun stores to conduct business. I’m sure that’s probably a feature, not a bug in Velazquez’s mind.

This is yet another assault by congressional gun grabbers following the tragedy in Las Vegas, another one that would have done nothing at all to prevent the horrors from earlier this month. This just proves the ghoulish nature of congressional anti-gun zealots who seek to do nothing more than grab hold of any tragedy in an effort to limit our Second Amendment rights.

Since the NICS system was first set up, the check has been free. While I have no problem with a modest fee to fund the system–after all, we’re going to pay one way or another, so I’d rather it be upfront–that’s not where the funds are focused. It’s clear that Velazquez is wanting anti-gun research to be undertaken by taxpayer dollars. After all, we all know that a large number of bureaucrats are leftists with anti-gun tendencies, thus the powers that be would be funding biased research, and we all know it.

If this was nothing more than making the NICS process self-sustaining, it would be a much easier pill to swallow, but that’s not what it’s about. If it were, that’s where the money would go first.

Sep 22, 2021 6:30 PM ET