A pair of Illinois lawmakers have introduced national licensing and registration legislation that, according to rights activists, clearly illustrates how anti-gunners view the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms as a government-regulated privilege.
Congressman Bobby Rush – known for being escorted out of the House Chambers a few years ago for wearing a hoodie – and U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, both Democrats, last week introduced the “Blair Holt Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act of 2018.” Holt was a teen gunned down in Chicago several years ago while trying to protect a friend from a shooting on a transit bus. This is the fourth go-round for the measure, which was first introduced in 2007, and again in 2009 and 2013, according to a press release from Rep. Rush’s office.
The proposed act “would prohibit unlicensed gun-ownership and transferring or receiving firearms without a valid firearms license, as well as direct the Attorney General to establish and maintain a federal record of sale system,” the press release details.
According to the Washington Examiner, if this bill becomes law, it will “require a valid firearms license for transferring and receiving guns…require universal background checks for all sales and transfers of guns, and would make it easier for state and federal officials to trace guns.”
In his press release, Rush insisted, “Americans are demanding that Congress take real action to prevent gun violence and we must address this issue head on and do our part to prevent the senseless mass killings and shooting deaths in cities across this nation.”
Gun rights activists contend that the term “gun violence” is deliberately provocative and misleading, in that it blames the firearm for the crime. As Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms recently asked, why don’t anti-gunners ever blame the perpetrator of a crime, but instead blame the firearm?
Remarkably, during a roundtable discussion by several outdoor and firearms writers over the weekend at the Jack O’Connor Hunting Heritage and Education Center in Lewiston, Idaho, a couple of writers used the term.
Rush introduced his legislation, which may be dead on arrival during an election year, claiming that it will “Protect the public against the unreasonable risk of injury and death associated with the unrecorded sale or transfer of qualifying firearms to unlicensed individuals.” It is a variation of the same argument that has been used to justify every piece of gun control legislation in recent memory.
Rush also contends that his bill will “restrict the availability of qualifying firearms to criminals, children, and other persons prohibited by federal law from receiving firearms.” That would be a first.
The same principle is behind efforts in Oregon and Washington to either ban outright or strictly regulate modern semi-automatic sporting rifles – the so-called “assault weapons” that infuriate the gun prohibition lobby – rather than the small number of people who misuse them. The Oregon measure has been challenged in court while paid signature gatherers in neighboring Washington are scrambling to get more than 260,000 valid signatures on Initiative 1639 by July 6.
Rights activists are working hard to discourage people from signing the initiative.