U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Passes Semi-Auto and Private Sales Bans
National Rifle Association of
America, Institute for Legislative Action
On March 12
and 14, the Senate Judiciary committee held two working sessions
to deal with gun-related bills.
of those hearings was the passage of Sen. Charles Schumers
(D-N.Y.) S. 374, the "Fix Gun Checks Act of 2013"
which would criminalize virtually all private firearm sales, even
temporary transfers and Sen. Dianne Feinsteins (D-Calif.)
S. 150, the "Assault Weapons Ban of 2013."
Both of these
bills pose a direct threat to our Second Amendment rights and both
were passed on party-line votes, with committee Democrats supporting
the bills and all Republicans voting no.
Sen. John Cornyn
(R-Texas) offered four amendments to the gun ban bill, each of which
would have created exceptions to its sweeping ban on standard magazines
that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition and on countless models
of detachable-magazine semi-automatic rifles, semi-automatic shotguns,
and other guns. The amendments designed to expose ban supporters
disregard for even the most extraordinary self-defense needs
would have given special protection to domestic violence victims,
persons with orders of protection against aggressors, residents
of southwestern border counties and residents of rural areas. Sen.
Cornyn argued that the one group Feinstein provides an exception
for in her bill retired law enforcement officers are
no more deserving of the exception than others who face unique threats.
All four amendments were voted down along party lines.
on S. 150 also featured a terse exchange between pro-Second Amendment
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Feinstein. Sen. Cruz questioned Feinstein
if it would be proper for Congress to determine which books are
appropriate for citizens to read, or which persons could be exempted
from Fourth Amendment protections, as she wants to do regarding
Second Amendment rights. Feinstein become angry, scolding Cruz for
daring to ask the questions.
Later, in an
attempt to support the gun ban, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.)
made the false claim that "assault weapons" are "commonly"
used by criminals, ignoring the reality that only 2.5% of murders
involve rifles of any sort, much less those defined as "assault
weapons". (Hands and feet are used more often.) Blumenthals
assertion flies in the face of gun ban advocates repeated
claim that a semi-auto ban is constitutional under the Heller decision,
which said that commonly-owned arms are protected by the Second
Amendment. With over 4 million AR-15s (alone) legally owned by law-abiding
Americans, they are clearly commonly owned, yet still rarely used
the week, the committee passed Sen. Schumers S. 374, which
is an attack on all private gun sales. Under the guise of making
improvements to the federal instant background check system, the
bill also includes provisions to require all but a very few gun
transfers to go through a dealer, and forcing dealers to keep records
of each transfer. But the bill would go far beyond regulating actual
gun sales; consider that all of the following situations (many of
which were pointed out directly to Schumer by Prof. David Kopel
in Senate testimony on a similar bill two years ago) would be illegal
under S. 374:
a gun for self-defense anywhere outside the home, no matter how
extreme the situation. For example, imagine that two women are
driving at night and break down on a deserted road. The younger
woman, whose handgun was in the car, walks a few miles to the
nearest gas station. She gives her handgun to the older woman,
so that the older woman can protect herself. That would be a "transfer"
under S. 374, so not doing a background check through a dealer
would be a federal crime.
a friend your gun while the two of you go target shooting on a
farm, on public land, or in any other informal setting that isnt
on a range owned by an incorporated conservation or marksmanship
Teaching an NRA firearms safety class or hunter safety class in
a classroom. Despite anti-gunners attempt to wrap themselves
in the flag of gun safety, and their efforts in some states and
localities to pass mandatory training requirements, the bill has
no exception for training classes that dont occur on a range.
Lending a firearm to a friend for hunting in any location where
hunting is not permitted. A person living in a suburban or urban
area where no hunting is allowed would break the law if he lent
a gun to a friend who was going to use it for hunting in a permissible
area in the countryside.
debate on this bill, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) took strong
exception to the bill and listed some of its many flaws, making
the case that the bill sets up gun registration as the likely next
step should S. 374 become law.
now await action by the full Senate. It is not known at this time
which, if either, of these bills will reach the floor, but gun
owners must take action now to be heard in opposition to these bills.
your elected officials today, and respectfully urge them to protect
our Second Amendment rights. To identify and contact your legislators
in Washington, D.C., you can use the "Write
Your Reps" feature at www.NRAILA.org,
or you can reach your member of Congress by phone at 202-224-3121.
your U.S. Senators and your U.S. Representative and urge them to
3458 and H.R.
6241 respectively. You can find contact information for your
elected officials by using the "Write
Your Representatives" tool at www.NRAILA.org,
or you can call your U.S. Senators at (202) 224-3121 and your U.S.
Representative at (202) 225-3121 . Once you have taken this action,
please be sure to forward this information to your family, friends,
and fellow firearm owners, and strongly encourage them to contact
their lawmakers as well.
© 2013 National
Rifle Association of America, Institute for Legislative Action