House Democrats are crowing about their passage Wednesday of H.R. 8, the so-called “Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019,” but they may soon be eating crow because the White House has already stated that if the measure reaches the president’s desk, his advisors will recommend a veto.
It’s really all about playing to their far-left base, in preparation for the 2020 elections so Democrats can campaign on the argument that Republicans will have “blocked common-sense gun safety legislation.”
Following passage of the bill on a 240-190 vote with a handful of Republicans crossing the aisle to vote with the Democrat majority, gun rights groups uniformly condemned the measure.
“Eroding the rights of law-abiding citizens and treating them as criminals is not going to prevent a single violent crime,” said Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. “Passing this legislation amounts to little more than a publicity stunt to appease the gun prohibition lobby. It’s all flash and no substance.”
Chris W. Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action, concurred.
“This extreme gun-control bill will make criminals out of law-abiding Americans,” Cox said. “It will also make it harder for good people to defend themselves and their families. Criminals, on the other hand, will continue to get their firearms the way they always have – through the black market, theft, and straw purchases. Forcing more government paperwork and additional fees on good people trying to exercise a constitutional right will do nothing to make Americans safer.”
The White House issued a statement earlier this week opposing the measure.
“The Administration opposes H.R. 8 because it would impose burdensome requirements on certain firearm transactions,” the statement said. “H.R. 8 would require that certain transfers, loans, gifts, and sales of firearms be processed by a federally licensed importer, manufacturer, or dealer of firearms. H.R. 8 would therefore impose permanent record-keeping requirements and limitless fees on these everyday transactions.
“H.R. 8 contains very narrow exemptions from these requirements, and these exemptions would not sufficiently protect the Second Amendment right of individuals to keep and bear arms,” the statement continued. “The extensive regulation required by H.R. 8 is incompatible with the Second Amendment’s guarantee of an individual right to keep arms.”
As previously reported, “universal background check” laws passed in California, Washington and elsewhere have failed to prevent violent crime. Rights activists are wondering on social media what makes Democrats think that an idea that has already failed at the state level will be successful on a national scale.
The New York Times reported that “Last year’s massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., prompted a wave of student-led activism that pressed Democrats to unite around gun control, and the activists cheered when the measure cleared the 218-vote threshold for passage.”
But if H.R. 8 had been the law last year, it still would not have prevented the Parkland shooting, because the accused gunman passed a background check.
Gottlieb, who is attending conference near Washington, D.C. this week, suggested that a genuine crime-fighting measure would be passage of national concealed carry reciprocity legislation. The House, under Republican control two years ago, passed a reciprocity bill, but it gathered dust in the Senate despite indications from President Donald Trump that he would sign it. That inaction is on Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.