ANALYSIS—As a political quagmire, the issue of gun rights versus gun control is getting worse, not better and now a Los Angeles Times columnist is prodding Kamala Harris over her recent dodge away from questions about “unilateral actions that President Biden might take” on gun control following two recent mass shootings.
Recalling how Harris “was adamant” about guns on the campaign trail more than a year ago, columnist Mark Barabak noted the difference between then and now. Instead of reiterating her position about executive action on guns if she were elected, after the Boulder shooting in which 10 people died, Harris told “CBS This Morning” that Congress should pass legislation banning so-called “assault weapons” and “strengthening background checks,” Barabak reported.
He also reminded readers that back in August 2019, Joe Biden stated in an interview, “you have no constitutional authority to issue that executive order … ‘I’m going to eliminate assault weapons.’ Can’t do it by executive order, any more than [President] Trump can do the things he’s trying to do by executive order.”
So, is this “get tough on guns” rhetoric a bluff, or is the threat real?
It’s not a bluff. That much is clear by House passage of H.R. 8 and H.R. 1446, a pair of gun control measures regarding background checks. Those bills have been sent to the Senate for further action, but with a 50-50 split—and Harris in a position to break a tie, if necessary—it may take a while because of the filibuster issue and opposition from key Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
Waiting in the House wings is Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee’s H.R. 127, an extremist gun control measure so alarming the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms has been waging war on the airwaves of a dozen networks for the past month, alerting millions of viewers about the legislation’s radical nature.
Weighing in this week is Politico with an opinion piece headlined “6 Bold Ideas for Gun Reform That Could Actually Happen.” Alarms went off when Politico used such terms as “gun reform” and “gun violence prevention,” with come straight from the gun control lobby’s lexicon.
The so-called “bold ideas” are also part of the anti-gun lobby’s long-established agenda.
1. Protecting home rule from state preemption
2. Make gun training more meaningful
3. Encourage gun owners to support each other through hardships
4. Enforce court-ordered surrender of firearms
5. Challenge industry immunities
6. Mandate liability insurance
State preemption laws are disliked by anti-gunners because they mandate uniformity of gun laws from state border to state border. Gun control groups prefer a mish-mash of often conflicting and confusing local laws to essentially ensnare gun owners with violations or discourage the exercise of their rights.
They want additional requirements for concealed carry licensees; training that might discourage people from pursuing a carry license.
There might be agreement on support between gun owners during hardships, but the article says “suicide prevention activists have been trying to cultivate a culture of community responsibility among gun owners, asking them to reach out to friends in crisis with an offer to store their guns after a divorce, job loss, death in the family or other trauma.”
However, gun rights activists have been on the leading edge of this effort for the past several years. Alan Gottlieb at the Second Amendment Foundation has championed a suicide prevention effort in Washington State, with involvement of the National Rifle Association. The National Shooting Sports Foundation has a program as well.
“Industry immunities” is a misleading term for the federal law that protects gun manufacturers from frivolous “junk” lawsuits that try to hold the gun industry accountable for criminal or negligent acts involving firearms.
In the midst of this, lawmakers in Washington, Oregon and Delaware are pushing gun control legislation that only seems to penalize law-abiding gun owners.
What seems likely is a landscape filled with legal challenges to new gun control measures. At the same time, anti-gun organizations are fully engaged in fund raising efforts in order to finance their ongoing campaign to erode Second Amendment rights; what grassroots activists say is an effort to turn the right to keep and bear arms into a heavily-regulated privilege.