Current Gun Legislation in the 110th Congress (Analysis)

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    Lightbulb Current Gun Legislation in the 110th Congress (Analysis)

    FIREARMS LEGISLATION IN THE 110th CONGRESS
    Gun Owners of America ^ | Jul 2007 | NA

    www.gunowners.org
    Jul 2007
    FIREARMS LEGISLATION IN THE 110th CONGRESS


    Analysis by Gun Owners of America
    8001 Forbes Place, Suite 102
    Springfield, VA 22151
    (703)321-8585, fax: 321-8408


    House Bills


    H.R. 73 (Bartlett): This bill would affirm the right of Americans to keep and bear arms for defense of themselves, their families, and their homes.

    H.R. 96 (Castle, Shays, Kirk): This bill would require Instantchecks for private transactions at gun shows. If the sponsor "knowingly" fails to notify every attendee of his responsibilities under the Brady Law (new 18 U.S.C. 932(a)(2)(D) and new 18 U.S.C. 924(a)(8)(B)), every board member of the sponsor could be fined $250,000 for every person not notified and sent to prison for five years per violation. And, while the "knowing" requirement is an improvement over earlier versions, it is far from certain that a Brady-Law-pamphlet-distributing guard who intentionally leaves his post during a busy time for a bathroom break would not (1) be interpreted as "knowingly" failing to notify attendees, and (2) be interpreted as violating the law vicariously as an agent of every board member of the sponsoring organization. Obviously, at the hands of an anti-gun administration, this has the potential of permanently putting an end to all gun shows.

    H.R. 171 (Lee and 16 others): This bill, which would authorize additional funds for school mental health counselors, makes a finding about the need to reduce the number of weapons in schools. Such a finding would demonize Utah teachers and administrators -- who are allowed, by law, to possess firearms in schools -- as well as, other heroes (such as Joel Myrick of Pearl, Mississippi) who have used firearms to stop school massacres and, thus, save the lives of students.

    H.R. 203 (Rothman): This bill would interfere with the discretion of states by requiring that police seize firearms of persons suspected of domestic violence, based on "probable cause," even though no court has heard the case. In addition, it allows a court to permanently bar an individual slapped with a "protective order" from possessing a firearm and to order a search of his home, even though, unlike current federal law, the order was an "ex parte" order with respect to which the individual had no notice, no right to be present, no right to be heard, and no right to an attorney.

    H.R. 226 (Stearns): This is the NRA-backed reciprocity bill, which would set a "national standard" allowing persons who have obtained concealed carry licenses to be granted reciprocity in other states. Residents of Vermont, which does not require a license for concealed carry, would not be granted relief under this legislation.

    H.R. 254 (Jackson-Lee): This bill would amend the hate crimes law -- which prohibits using a firearm to cause bodily injury to any person on account of race or religion -- to also include sexual orientation.

    H.R. 256 (Jackson-Lee): This bill would:

    extend current provisions of 18 U.S.C. 922(x) (making it virtually impossible to legally teach your children the safe and responsible use of firearms) by (1) raising the across-the-board age to 21, (2) covering semiautos, and (3) increasing the penalties;
    require FFL's (including small FFL's) to keep guns in a government-approved storage facility;
    require you to lock up all firearms (making them unavailable for self-defense) -- or face a three-year prison sentence if a child gets hold of the firearm and causes bodily injury;
    prohibit unaccompanied minors at guns shows; and
    spend more money on anti-gun "education" programs.
    H.R. 297 (McCarthy): This bill provides, in the form of grants, about $1 billion to the states to "provide the National Instant Criminal Background Check System [NICS] with all records concerning persons who are prohibited from possessing or receiving a firearm under subsection (g) or (n) of section 922 of title 18, United States Code, regardless of the elapsed time since the disqualifying event."

    Covered under this bill are records pertaining to the Lautenberg misdemeanor gun ban, lists of persons under indictment, mental health records, records relevant to the identification of illegal aliens and other records.

    NICS is the system used by the FBI to conduct a background check prior to a firearm sale by a federally licensed gun dealer. Most people are aware that NICS records include a list of convicted felons, but there are many other categories of persons who are prohibited from possessing firearms for which computerized lists may not be available. It is these categories that are targeted by this bill.

    For instance, the bill expands upon the unconstitutional Lautenberg misdemeanor gun ban [18 USC 922 (g)(9)]. This gun ban, passed as an amendment to a 1996 omnibus spending bill and signed into law by President Clinton, was originally introduced by leading anti-gun Senators Frank Lautenberg, Dianne Feinstein, and Edward Kennedy.

    Under the Lautenberg ban, people who have committed very minor offenses that include pushing, shoving or, in some cases, merely yelling at a family member can no longer own a firearm for self-defense. The Lautenberg gun ban should be repealed, not expanded.

    The bill also seeks to computerize records of persons "under indictment for a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year." Such persons, though not even convicted of the crime in question, are prohibited from possessing a firearm.

    The gun grabbers are seeking to force the states to provide the federal government all of these indictment records, updated quarterly. Given the maxim among those in the legal profession that prosecutors can get a grand jury to "indict a ham sandwich," this, too, is a gun prohibition that should be repealed, not expanded.

    Mental health records are also covered under the McCarthy bill. This could have a significant impact on American servicemen, especially those returning from combat situations and who seek some type of psychiatric care. Often, veterans who have suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder have been deemed as mentally "incompetent" and are prohibited from owning guns under 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(4). Records of those instances certainly exist, and, in 1999, the Department of Veterans Administration turned over 90,000 names of veterans to the FBI for inclusion into the NICS background check system.

    Mental health records can also have a future impact on young people, as this country trends closer to mandatory mental health screening for students. In a 2003 report by a subcommittee of the President's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health, the author states that "The problem of emotional disorders in children is large -- 20% of all children are affected -- and it seems to be growing." It is unknown how these people will be categorized in the future.

    The fact that metal health 'experts,' a notoriously anti-gun community, would have a say in who is allowed to possess a firearm is, quite frankly, frightening. Many in the profession would just as soon consider anyone who owns a gun as 'mentally incompetent.'

    Another sobering thought is how computerized data are often mishandled. Consider the disturbing news reports that 25 million Social Security number records of veterans were hacked. The more that our private data gets added into government computers, the more likely we are to have our identity compromised.

    Perhaps the provision that would lead to the greatest number of 'fishing expeditions' is that related to illegal aliens.

    Federal law prohibits illegal aliens from owning guns. The bill requires all relevant data related to who is in this country illegally. But what records pertaining to illegal aliens from the states would be relevant? Perhaps a better question would be, what records are not relevant?

    In order to identify illegal aliens, "relevant" records could allow the FBI to demand state tax returns of all citizens, employment records, library records (we've already seen how these have been deemed relevant to terrorism investigations), DMV and hospital records -- all in the name of making sure that you're not an illegal.

    The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, is one of the most virulent anti-gunners in the entire Congress. Of the 32 cosponsors of the bill in 2006, 31 were GOA "F" rated, one was rated "D."


    H.R. 354 (McCarthy): This bill would spend $965 million a year on trying to figure out why and remedy the fact that schools that ban guns are not safe from "gun violence."

    H.R. 428 (Towns): This bill would require the Consumer Product Safety Commission to ban realistic toy handguns.

    H.R. 623 (Rangel): This bill would allow a "nonviolent offender" to have his record expunged if he has complied with a variety of conditions, including obtaining a GED, performing a year of community service, staying free of substance abuse for a year, and not committing any other state or federal offense in the future. A "nonviolent offense" is one which does not involve "the use of a weapon or violence."

    H.R. 660 (Conyers): This bill would dramatically expand federal funding for law enforcement resources to guard federal and state judges, prosecutors, jurors, and other persons involved in the judicial process -- and would expand criminal penalties for certain related offenses, including, for instance, placing a false lien on a judge's home.

    H.R. 861 (Stearns): This is the NRA-backed version of national concealed carry reciprocity. It would set "national standards" for recognition of concealed carry permits, but would provide no relief in cases of states like Vermont that donít require permits as a condition of concealed carry.

    H.R. 880 (Forbes, Wolf, Chabot, Coble, Franks, Gallegly, Goodlatte, Pence, Smith): This bill would subject guns to the same sort of mandatory minimum sentencing currently applied to organized crime. You would be sentenced to at least 10 years in prison if "a formal or informal group or association of 3 or more individuals" (such as your family), in relation to the group (e.g., protecting them), commit two or more "gang crimes," one of which constitutes a "crime of violence" (which could include brandishing a firearm in order to protect your family from a robber). "Gang crimes" include driving within 1000 feet of a school with a firearm and training your kid how to use a handgun without first writing a letter of permission for him to keep on his person while you are training him. Other anti-gun provisions in this bill are section 109 (making it harder for a person charged with a "firearms offense" -- including paperwork violations -- to be released), section 114 (upping the mandatory penalties for simply owning a gun if you are convicted of a crime of violence -- including trying to defend yourself when state law mandates that you retreat), and section 115 (allowing your kid to be prosecuted as an adult if you train him to use a handgun, but he fails to possess a written letter of permission while you are doing so).

    H.R. 1022 (McCarthy): This bill would reauthorize the ban on semi-automatic firearms more or less verbatim. It would change the list of explicitly banned firearms to include:

    a much broader list of named firearms which are banned;
    a semi-auto rifle with detachable magazine capacity that has any one of the following: folding stock, threaded barrel, pistol grip, forward grip, or barrel shroud (the previous ban requires two of these features);
    most semi-autos with fixed magazines with more than 10 rounds;
    a semi-auto pistol with detachable magazine capacity that has any one of the following: second pistol grip, threaded barrel, barrel shroud, or detachable magazine capacity outside the pistol grip (the previous ban requires two of these features);
    a semi-auto shotgun with a revolving cylinder or with folding stock, pistol grip, detachable magazine capacity, or fixed magazine capacity in excess of 5 rounds (the previous ban requires two of these features);
    many frames, receivers, or conversion kits;
    a military- or police-design semi-auto rifle or shotgun not suitable for sporting purposes.
    It would also add four additional anti-semi-auto provisions. These would:

    expand to semi-autos the provisions in 18 U.S.C. 922(x) making it virtually impossible to legally teach your kid the safe and lawful use of handguns (subjecting you and your kid to a prison sentence, for example, if he does not have a written permission letter from you on his person at the time you are training him);
    expand and make statutory an import ban on semi-auto magazines;
    require that transfers of semi-autos be through FFL's; and
    prohibit transfer of "any assault weapon with a large capacity ammunition feeding device" and require that an FFL transferring a grandfathered "large capacity ammunition feeding device" report to the Attorney General.
    H.R. 1096 (Paul): This bill would (1) repeal the Brady law and the Instantcheck system; (2) repeal federal provisions discriminating against firearms which the government determines to have no "sporting purpose," and (3) repeal the requirement that trigger locks be purchased by anyone purchasing a handgun from a dealer.

    H.R. 1141 (Cannon): This bill would grant amnesty to any veteran with a pre-1968 unregistered automatic firearm.

    H. R. 1167 (McCarthy): This bill would prevent anyone whose name turns up on one of the government's secret "no fly" watch lists from possessing a firearm.

    H. R. 1168 (McCarthy): This bill would reverse the Supreme Court's U.S. v. Small decision by prohibiting firearms possession by any person who has been convicted of a felony in a foreign court, including political felonies by Nazi, Communist, and other totalitarian regimes.

    H. R. 1399 (Ross, Souder): This bill would repeal the D.C. gun ban.

    H. R. 1582 (Schiff, Bono): This bill would treat your family as a "criminal street gang" if you committed two gun-related offenses -- including driving 1,000 feet from a school with a gun in your glove compartment.

    H. R. 1592 (Conyers, et al.): This bill would reauthorize federal "hate crimes" legislation extending protections to homosexuals and transvestites and providing for a ten year federal prison sentence for anyone who uses a firearm to "attempt" to cause bodily injury.

    H.R. 1784 (Engel, McCarthy, Kennedy, et al.): This bill would essentially allow the Attorney General to ban most ammunition by defining as "armor-piercing" any ammunition which may be fired by any type of handgun and is "capable of penetrating body armor" -- in accordance with tests in which the AG would solely determine the angle, the distance, the firearm, the number of shots, the quality of the body armor, and the number of penetrations required.


    Senate Bills

    S. 77 (Schumer): Most importantly, this bill would allow the Attorney General to inspect gun dealers as many times as he wants for any purpose. In addition, the bill tweaks the Firearms Trace System on issues of confidentiality and coordination, and doubles many gun-related prison sentences for a wide variety of offenses.

    S. 368 (Biden et al.): This bill would massively expand federal funding for (and hence control of) local law enforcement.

    S. 376 (Leahy, Specter, Kyl, Cornyn): This bill would tweak the police concealed carry reciprocity law to, for example, (1) expand its provisions to retired police who had served 10 years (rather than 15), and (2) allow competency certification by "a certified firearms instructor" (as opposed to the state).

    S. 378 (Leahy, Specter, Reid, Durbin, Cornyn, Kennedy, Collins, Hatch, Schumer): This bill would dramatically expand federal funding for law enforcement resources to guard federal and state judges, prosecutors, jurors, and other persons involved in the judicial process -- and would expand criminal penalties for certain related offenses, including, for instance, placing a false lien on a judge's home.

    S. 388 (Thune, Nelson, Sununu, Inhofe, Coburn, Burr, Martinez, Crapo, Baucus, Cornyn, Dole, Craig, Lott): This is the NRA-backed version of national concealed carry reciprocity. It would set "national standards" for recognition of concealed carry permits, but would provide no relief in cases of states like Vermont that don't require permits as a condition of concealed carry.

    S. 456: Although differing in details, like H.R. 880, this bill would treat firearms offenses like Mafia crimes.

    S. 607 (Vitter): This bill would create a 15-year prison for "forcibly... resist[ing]" law enforcement personnel during an emergency with a "weapon."

    S. 1237 (Lautenberg): This bill would, at the sole discretion of the Attorney General, make you a "prohibited person" if he "suspects" you of being a terrorist. The Attorney General is specifically authorized to refuse to tell you why he has made you a "prohibited person."


    S. 1331 (Feinstein, Kennedy, Levin, Menendez, Mikulski, Clinton, Durbin, Boxer, Lautenberg, Schumer, Dodd): This bill would treat a rifle firing a .50 BMG caliber cartridge like a bomb, grenade, or missile for purposes of federal law.
    Former Army Infantry Captain; 25 yrs as an NRA Certified Instructor; Avid practitioner of the martial art: KLIK-PAO.

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    No man's life, liberty or property are safe when the ligislature is in session - Gideon J. Tucker, 1866
    When you've got 'em by the balls, their hearts & minds will follow. Semper Fi.

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    H.R. 354 (McCarthy): This bill would spend $965 million a year on trying to figure out why and remedy the fact that schools that ban guns are not safe from "gun violence."

    Hmmm.....how about...criminals bent on killing/hurting/maiming someone don't care about law prohibiting weapons....that's why.

    That said--gun bans DO NOT work.

    Where's my check for $965 million?...I'll take cash, thank you.

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    Goawayfarm's analysis: (it's worth what it's costing you....)

    House Bills
    H.R. 73 (Bartlett): For.
    H.R. 96 (Castle, Shays, Kirk): AGAINST!, No LOOPHOLE exists!
    H.R. 171 (Lee and 16 others): Useless waste of tax payers money...(my money!)
    H.R. 203 (Rothman): Against! No recourse for accused!
    H.R. 226 (Stearns): FOR! if they fix it.......
    H.R. 254 (Jackson-Lee): Useless, criminal penalties already exist for these crimes.
    H.R. 256 (Jackson-Lee): Against!
    H.R. 354 (McCarthy): Against! Waste of my money!
    H.R. 428 (Towns): Against! (no more cops & robbers or cowboys & indians for the kiddies)
    H.R. 623 (Rangel): For.
    H.R. 660 (Conyers): On the fence.
    H.R. 861 (Stearns): For.
    H.R. 880 (Forbes, Wolf, Chabot, Coble, Franks, Gallegly, Goodlatte, Pence, Smith): Against, we already have tens of thousands of laws.
    H.R. 1022 (McCarthy): AGAINST! This is worse than Clinton's AWB!
    H.R. 1096 (Paul): FOR, FOR, FOR,FOR
    H.R. 1141 (Cannon): For!
    H. R. 1167 (McCarthy): Against! They can't get the 'no-fly' list correct, much less apply to guns!
    H. R. 1168 (McCarthy): Against. No due process in the US.
    H. R. 1399 (Ross, Souder): FOR!
    H. R. 1582 (Schiff, Bono): Against! Already a bunch of laws that aren't used.
    H. R. 1592 (Conyers, et al.): Against! Again, there are laws covering this! USE THEM!
    H.R. 1784 (Engel, McCarthy, Kennedy, et al.): Against! Don't want the AG deciding ANYTHING outside of court.

    Senate Bills

    S. 77 (Schumer): Against! BATFE already has abused it's power it has now.
    S. 368 (Biden et al.): On the fence, but I'm leaning against.
    S. 376 (Leahy, Specter, Kyl, Cornyn): FOR!
    S. 378 (Leahy, Specter, Reid, Durbin, Cornyn, Kennedy, Collins, Hatch, Schumer): On the fence.
    S. 388 (Thune, Nelson, Sununu, Inhofe, Coburn, Burr, Martinez, Crapo, Baucus, Cornyn, Dole, Craig, Lott): For. If fixed.
    S. 456: Against. Not needed, existing laws need enforcement.
    S. 607 (Vitter): Against, to broad.
    S. 1237 (Lautenberg): Against, again, don't want AG making these decisions.
    S. 1331 (Feinstein, Kennedy, Levin, Menendez, Mikulski, Clinton, Durbin, Boxer, Lautenberg, Schumer, Dodd): Against! More .50 myths. (just look at sponsors!)

    My choices are subject to change, depending on more information.

    Anybody want to places odds of each passing?
    Quemadmodum gladius neminem occidit, occidentis telum est.-Seneca

    "If you carry a gun, people will call you paranoid. If I have a gun, what do I have to be paranoid about?" -Clint Smith

    "An unarmed man can only flee from evil, and evil is not overcome by fleeing from it." -Jeff Cooper

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