By Larry Keane, National Shooting Sports Foundation
The news came Tuesday that Senator Dianne Feinstein’s ban on modern sporting rifles and factory standard magazines may not be end up as part of “base bill” gun control legislation that will be considered by the U.S. Senate. That means she will have to try to amend her gun and magazine ban into the bill, rather than defend against an amendment to strip it out. The former will be more difficult procedurally.
But this is by no means a done deal. Senate Democratic leadership could still change their mind and include the gun and magazine ban legislation in the final bill.
And this may be an effort by Senator Feinstein to pressure her leadership into doing just that. Until the final language of the bill is released for floor consideration, we won’t know for sure. Even if the ban on guns and magazines is not included in the base bill, it will still be considered as an amendment, and the position of many Senators on this issue is still up in the air.
Even in a best case scenario, the Senate still plans to take up legislation requiring background checks for all transactions between private sellers. NSSF opposes this plan for a variety of reasons, including the administrative burden it would place on our members and the fact it would open the door leading toward national registration of all firearms.
That’s not my conclusion – President Obama’s own Justice Department has said that universal registration of all firearms would be necessary to effectively implement so-called “universal background checks.” And let’s also note that the NICS system is currently overburdened as it is. Adding millions of new transactions without additional staffing and infrastructure is a recipe for crashing the entire system. That’s just one of the reasons that more than 85% of FFLs are telling us they oppose “universal background checks” in an industry survey we are currently conducting. Watch this space for more details on this subject when the survey is complete.
Our work here is not done. At the end of this week, Senators will head home for a two-week Easter recess, and it’s entirely possible that Feinstein’s announcement is merely a feint, intended to deflate the grassroots opposition to her bill. We are having an impact and we can’t let up now. Gun owners’ efforts throughout this process have been very effective.
Action in the Senate could come as soon as the week of April 8th. Gun owners would be well advised to keep contacting their two Senators and encouraging friends and relatives to do the same. Ask them to oppose new restrictions on our Second Amendment rights, and instead support much needed improvements to NICS so we can prevent unauthorized access to firearms of any kind – not just the ones that Senator Feinstein finds scary.