New Bill Seeks To Push States To Require License To Buy Handgun

In this March 4, 2015, file photo, Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-Conn. speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. Esty on Monday, April 2, 2018, asked the House Ethics Committee to investigate whether she did anything wrong in her handling of the firing of her former chief of staff accused of harassment, threats and violence against female staffers in her congressional office. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File

It’s not enough that the anti-gunners are trying to take away our so-called assault rifles. No, that’s not nearly enough for them. Not that anyone thought it would be, mind you, but I didn’t expect them to ramp it up quite this soon.


The latest effort seeks to push states to establish handgun purchasing licenses in all 50 states. While it won’t require it, at least not yet, it’s still an effort to undermine our Second Amendment rights (emphasis mine).

Sponsored by Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.), Rep. Robin Kelly (D-Ill.) and Rep. Alma Adams (D-N.C.), HR 5490—otherwise known as the “Handgun Purchaser Licensing Act”—is framed as a means of reducing firearm homicide rates nationally.

HR 5490 calls for federal grants to be given to state, local and tribal governments. The governments would then develop and implement a handgun license scheme. To qualify, a state must have a law requiring that a handgun license applicant be at least 21. Furthermore, applicants would have to apply through enforcement agency. In addition, all applicants would be required to supply fingerprints and photographs, as well as pass a “background investigation” and a “criminal history check.”

Under HR 5490, a handgun license would be good for five years. After that, a person would have to go through the process all over again.

In addition, the measure is backed by numerous gun control organizations. The groups include the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence; Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence; CT Against Gun Violence and the Newtown Action Alliance.


Time and time again, Etsy seems convinced that laws like this will actually work, and she presents supposed data that proves it.

But I don’t buy it.

The reason I don’t buy it is that we already know that criminals don’t buy their guns from gun stores. They simply don’t. Further, handgun purchasers–and every other kind of firearm purchaser–already go through a criminal history check and background check. They’re the same damn thing. And it’s because of these existing background checks that criminals tend to get guns through some other means.

Now, as bad as this bill is, it could be worse. It’s trying to provide a carrot rather than a stick to urge states to adopt this nonsense. I seriously doubt many states that don’t already use some kind of licensing scheme will adopt it just because the feds are offering money for it.

Then there’s the fact that the bill was first introduced a week ago and has a whopping two co-sponsors.

In the world of politics, the number of co-sponsors a bill has is a useful gauge as to how much support the bill has. Even in this rabidly anti-gun environment, liberal politicians don’t want any part of a bill like this.


While gun control activists love it, the average person doesn’t want their right to buy a handgun inhibited by this. Handguns are the preferred choice for self-defense weapons for most people, after all, and if they need a gun right away, licenses get in the way of them getting one.

“But why would anyone need to buy a gun in a hurry unless they have something bad planned?” an anti-gunner may ask.

To that, I simply point out that the moment you start getting death threats or you realize you have a stalker, you have a good reason to want a gun. The last thing you need to do is jump through hoops to get a license just so you can exercise your Second Amendment right to buy a pistol.

Luckily, I think this has a snowball’s chance in hell of passing, but it warrants keeping an eye on just in case.

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