Instapundit linked to news about the renewed “assault” weapons ban, which has also been discussed elsewhere. But its not just the AWB the new Congress wants to bring back – they want a completely renewed effort to outlaw the ownership of and commerce in firearms. Let’s review their newest actions.
- HR 96, Gun Show Loophole Closing Act of 2007 – Why this is bad: requires private individuals to transfer private sales through a third party, who has to be approved by the government. The privacy issues notwithstanding, the effectiveness of this in reducing crime is minimal at best, as most criminals obtain their weapons through illegal means, not legal. And those who do typically have mo criminal background which would prohibit them from owning a weapon in the first place.
- HR 203, Domestic Violence Victim Protection Act – Why this is bad: Let me quote from the introduction: “To amend Federal crime grant programs relating to domestic violence to encourage States and localities to implement gun confiscation policies, reform stalking laws, create integrated domestic violence courts, and hire additional personnel for entering protection orders, and for other purposes.” And further from the text of the bill: law officers “upon observing or learning that a weapon is present on the premises, seize any weapon that the officer reasonably believes would expose the victim or any other household member to a risk of serious bodily injury…” The fruit of Kelo vs. New London.
- HR 256, Child Gun Safety and Gun Access Prevention Act of 2007 – Why this is bad: Requires that all minors be accompianied by an adult at a gun show. Further, it requires additional penalties against minors who are convicted of firearms possession, even though such penalties are not typically enforced. Let’s try applying the law before we add to it, shall we?
- HR 354, To amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to improve school safety – Why this is bad: It allocates funds for “safe” schools based on how gun-free the government thinks the school area is. The worse the area, the more a school gets. Given that a bad school is rewarded (with money) when they have an “unsafe” environment, and that this bill will also encourage local governments to create zoning rules that are detrimental to gun shop owners close to schools (no matter how safe they are), I see only how this will limit freedom and encourage an unsafe environment. How many terrorists out there would salivate at the prospect of a gun-free school zone in which they can waltz in and blow up anything they like, ala Columbine, without the fear of being shot?
- HR 428, To require the Consumer Product Safety Commission to ban toys which in size, shape, or overall appearance resemble real handguns – Why this is bad: Children of Republicans shoot at each other with toy guns. Children of Democrats aren’t allowed to have toy guns. That’s why they shoot at each other with dolls. I had several toy guns when I was a child. I have never killed anyone, either legally or illegally. This is government for the sake of government.
- HR 623, To permit expungement of records of certain nonviolent criminal offenses – Why this is bad: Nominally a good thing, it allows for the reversal of the expungement. Either its an expungement or its not, there’s no middle ground. Why is this firearms related? Because it specifically excludes from expungement crimes involving weapons. So if you’re involved in stopping a crime, and the officers at the scene decide to arrest you and seize your weapon because they think a crime was committed by you (like, say, possession of a firearm) you can’t get the arrest off your record, even though you did nothing wrong, even if no charges are pressed.
- HR 1022, To reauthorize the assault weapons ban, and for other purposes – Why this is bad: see title. This is the big one, the one that must be stopped at all costs. Particularly onerous is Clause L of the Assault Weapon Definition: “A semiautomatic rifle or shotgun originally designed for military or law enforcement use…” This includes the U.S. Rifle, Caliber .30, M1. Yes, the Garand is now to be considered an Assault Weapon. The Ban on Ugly Guns now extends to guns that were not previously ugly.
- S 77, Anti-Gun Trafficking Penalties Enhancement Act of 2007 – Why this is bad: Provides for unwarranted search. Specifically, it changes “The Attorney General may inspect or examine the inventory and records of a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer without such reasonable cause or warrant in the course of a reasonable inquiry during the course of a criminal investigation of a person or persons other than the licensee;” to read “The Attorney General may inspect … without such reasonable cause or warrant at any time that the Attorney General may reasonably require;”
There’s also HR 297, NICS Improvement Act of 2007, which I haven’t made up my mind about yet.
There are also some good things, though, going on at Teapot Dome on the Potomac.
- HR 73, Citizens’ Self-Defense Act of 2007 – Why this is good: Codifies the right to self-defense in the Law of the Land.
- HR 226, HR 861, and S 388, the national concealed carry standard bills – Why this is good: Creates a national standard for concealed carry (if you get the license, you can carry).
- HR 254, David Ray Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007 – Why this is good: creates penalties for using firearms in racial crimes. While generally it would be better to enforce existing laws against the misuse of arms, I think this is good because it helps to heal racial tensions in the nation by saying you will pay for doing bad because of race.
These are generally good things, but let’s be certain about one thing – Gun Control is now a front burner issue, probably in the list of top five things the Democrats want to do with their newfound power. With Republicans out of power, their ability to limit the damage is reduced to obstruction, stonewalling, and other means of delay.
The great trouble is that we can’t count on the President on this one. Before it died, President Bush said he would renew the AWB if it came to his desk. Thankfully, we didn’t have to see if he would keep his word on that one, because he has a tendency to stick to his guns (so to speak) when it comes to doing something he said he would.
As Fred would say, its time to fight the soft war. Call, write, pester, nag your congressman. If you don’t know who that is, shame on you for twenty minutes. Use the link in the blogroll to find both your senators and your congressman, then flood their office with contact. These bills have to die in committee, and if not there, then at the roll call, and if not there, then at the President’s desk. Get to work. We have lots of it to do.