House Democrats just passed some of the most sweeping and sneaky anti-Second Amendment legislation in decades.
H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, and H.R. 1112, the Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2019, are two Trojan horse bills that seek to impose onerous restrictions on gun sales under the pretense of preventing dangerous criminals from obtaining firearms.
National gun registries, endless background screenings, and prohibitive wait times are what these bills are all about. They represent a concerted effort to discourage Americans from buying, selling, or owning a firearm.
While neither of these bills would do anything to stop gun violence, they would make it almost impossible for law-abiding citizens to exercise their Second Amendment liberties freely by entangling them in a web of bureaucracy.
H.R. 8, which was the first bill passed by the House, would impose so-called “universal” background checks on gun sales and transfers, but that’s only a facade. What the legislation really aims to do is impose complex and burdensome restrictions on what law-abiding gun owners can do with their property.
While there are many dangerous ramifications to this bill, at its core, it would criminalize private sales and transfers that occur without direct government oversight and regulation. Virtually any sale of a firearm from one American to another would become illegal without first completing a background check, and even transfers of firearms between family members and friends would be subject to complex rules that could cause even diligent gun owners to inadvertently run afoul of the law.
Currently, private gun owners are not required to identify themselves to the federal government — an important protection against a national gun registry that H.R. 8 would severely weaken.
H.R. 8 is only step one of the Democrats elaborate plan, though. H.R. 1112 is even sneakier than its sister bill, making it possible for the government to prevent law-abiding citizens from purchasing a gun even if they pass a background check.
Current law allows the FBI three days to complete a background check on someone purchasing a firearm from a registered dealer, a provision designed to protect your Second Amendment right from bureaucratic slow-walking.
The new legislation would give the FBI up to 10 business days to conduct a background check, but would require the would-be purchaser to file a petition if the timeline is not met, at which point the FBI would have an additional 10 business days to act upon the petition. As Georgia Rep. Doug Collins pointed out on the House floor, however, this timeline can stretch beyond the window of 30 calendar days during which the original background check is valid, forcing the purchaser to start the whole process over again.
H.R. 1112 removes the incentive for FBI agents to complete background checks in a timely manner, threatening to put American gun buyers into a perpetual loop of wait lines that never end.
Given that 7,043,975 background checks were performed in 2018 — or nearly 20,000 per day — one can just imagine the backlog that would ensue if authorities had so much leeway to restrict sales.
We’ve already seen how bureaucrats can abuse such discretion for political purposes, such as when IRS employees targeted conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status with unnecessary delays.
Keep in mind, neither H.R. 8 nor H.R. 1112 would have any effect on criminals looking to do wrong, because criminals don’t go to the FBI seeking permission before buying a gun. As the Obama administration noted in a 2013 memo, the overwhelming majority of criminals who acquire firearms do so either through straw purchasers or by stealing — both of which are already illegal.
Moreover, background checks aren’t even a reliable way of preventing deranged individuals from obtaining firearms, since they can’t predict a person’s future actions. Parkland, Florida shooter Nikolas Cruz, for instance, passed a background check that allowed him to buy the gun he used to massacre 17 people.
Fortunately, Senate Republicans are certain to reject both bills, and President Trump has already vowed to veto them if they somehow reach his desk.
Still, the Democrats’ sneaky effort to undermine the Second Amendment offers a chilling preview of the agenda they would advance if they ever get control of two branches of the federal government again.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.