By Larry Keane
The Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat from the Upper West Side of Manhattan, is calling his committee back early from recess. On Sept. 4, the panel is slated to consider three firearm-related bills, a ban on magazines with a capacity over 10 rounds, extreme risk protection orders and a prohibition for people convicted of hate crimes. This will be followed by a hearing on banning so-called “assault weapons” later in the month.
Of course, we know limits on magazine capacity and bans on modern sporting rifles (MSRs) are thinly disguised attempts to restrict the legal market for common and popular products that are safely used every day by law-abiding citizens. The Clinton-era ban on MSRs and standard-capacity magazines did nothing to reduce violent crime in America, so why would we try it again? We do know, however, that there are Real SolutionsSM that will make our communities safer, like making sure states and federal agencies are actually submitting prohibiting records to the FBI’s background check database. Doing this will make for more intelligent background checks.
But Chairman Nadler isn’t stopping at holding hearings that will no doubt be a gun control circus under the guise of “intelligent, thoughtful discussions” of effective policy responses. He’s also busy attacking Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for not joining him and his fellow anti-gun Democrats in jumping on any and all gun control bills put forward.
Someone needs to explain to Rep. Nadler and others that the first bill introduced with the most emotional pull is not always the one that would help address the root causes of criminal activities. Universal background checks, for example, would not have prevented any of the recent tragedies. They would impose new red tape on law-abiding citizens, not on criminals who have no regard for the law and not on the mentally unstable individuals with no prohibiting record to begin with. Instead of falling into the trap of taking quick, politically appealing action, we would encourage our members of Congress to look at the root causes of the problems and address the real issues that fuel criminal misuse of firearms and the unauthorized access to guns.
Real Starting Point
Need ideas? One place to start is the FFL Protection Act, introduced as S.1788 by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) in the Senate and as H.R.2179 by Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pa.) and Rep. John Rutherford (R-Fla.) in the House.
Larry Keane is Senior Vice President of Government and Public Affairs and General Counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry trade association.