Is the political circus now playing on Capitol Hill providing anti-rights Democrats with a strategic distraction that is delaying, if not completely preventing progress on two important gun law reforms?
Congressman Jeff Duncan’s H.R. 367, the National Hearing Protection Act that would remove restrictions on the ownership of suppressors (“silencers”) has 141 co-sponsors, but it has been sitting in the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations. Duncan (R-SC), introduced the bill back on Jan. 9.
Representative Richard Hudson’s H.R. 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, has 192 co-sponsors and it is also gathering a soft layer of dust in the same House subcommittee.
But The Daily Caller recently suggested that gun law reforms might be bogged down. Now is a good time to be asking why?
Gun rights activists across the country are getting restless. Being “middle Americans” who see problems and then solve them, these gun owners – whose votes were crucial in putting Republicans in control of both the Senate and House of Representatives, and the White House – want action that amounts to more than lip service for their interests.
There is support for both measures from nearly every state, but there is one significant exception. Not a single representative from Oregon has signed on as a co-sponsor to either measure. Two Republicans in neighboring Washington (no Democrats, of course) have signed onto both bills. Several Californians are also co-sponsors.
What’s wrong with those Beaver State congressional delegates? Gun owners from Coos Bay to Milton-Freewater might want an answer to that question.
The bigger question from Second Amendment activists across the country is why neither bill has been up for a hearing? Congress has apparently fallen back to its old habit of “hurry up and wait,” especially when it comes to satisfying the needs of gun owners who will have a legitimate beef if they have to wait until fall or beyond to see these important reforms passed.
But Democrats are engaging in distractive brushfire warfare, making headlines about either innuendo regarding Trump administration dealings with Russia or demanding an investigation about the firing of James Comey as FBI director. Is this all just an effort to sidetrack, if not derail, Donald Trump’s agenda, which includes tax and health care reform, along with any efforts to fix foolish gun control laws.
Silencers have been controlled by the 1934 National Firearms Act for no good reason that anyone can define. They are owned by lots of people but that requires extensive background checks and the purchase of a tax stamp. Making them available in today’s environment where increasing numbers of people shoot at indoor ranges, or at outdoor facilities surrounded by housing developments that didn’t exist 20 years ago. Reducing noise seems like a good idea.
Concealed carry reciprocity seems like a no-brainer because it would assure that carry permits or licenses issued by one state would be honored by all other states. The more than 15 million Americans with carry licenses or permits have been vetted via background checks. Many have taken training. None of these people should leave their self-defense rights at their home state borders, and besides, a number of states already have reciprocity agreements. Why not just make it uniform?
There has long been a suspicion in the firearms community that some people on Capitol Hill only want to hear from gun owners on election day, and they habitually make promises that haven’t been kept. Today’s activists, however, connecting with one another via social media, numerous gun-related chat groups and forums, are wise to this game and want something more than promises.
They believe the gun prohibition lobby needs to be slapped down hard, and passage of these bills will do that by removing gun restrictions that should never have existed in the first place.