Tag Archives: national firearms registry

Why the Senate gun compromise bill is bad legislation

Update (April 17): This bill went down in defeat today in the Senate!

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We have the full text of the Senate’s so-called gun compromise bill: S. 649 – The Public Safety And Second Amendment Rights Protection Act, agreed upon by Sens. Pat Toomey (R-PA), Joe Manchin (D-WVa), and Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

Under S 649, the federal government will require and provide grant money to state governments to:

  1. Conduct background checks on gun buyers; and
  2. List all individuals who “should be prohibited from buying a firearm” in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

Although the bill’s Section 102 (b) declares that “Congress supports and reaffirms the existing prohibition on a national firearms registry,” that is rather disingenuous because listing all individuals who should be prohibited from buying a firearm in a National Instant Criminal Background Check System is, effectively, a partial national firearms registry.

Even more objectionable is the fact that if S. 649 is passed, the federal grants provided to state governments will cost taxpayers $100 million for each of fiscal years 2014 through 2017!

Here are the important parts of S 649:

Purpose: To protect Second Amendment rights, ensure that all individuals who should be prohibited from buying a firearm are listed in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, and provide a responsible and consistent background check process.

S. 649

To ensure that all individuals who should be prohibited from buying a firearm are listed in the national instant criminal background check system and require a background check for every firearm sale, and for other purposes.

SEC. 102. FINDINGS.
Congress finds the following:
(1) Congress supports, respects, and defends the fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.
(2) Congress supports and reaffirms the existing prohibition on a national firearms registry.
(3) Congress believes the Department of Justice should prosecute violations of background check requirements to the maximum extent of the law.
(4) There are deficits in the background check system in existence prior to the date of enactment of this Act and the Department of Justice should make it a top priority to work with States to swiftly input missing records, including mental health records.
(5) Congress and the citizens of the United States agree that in order to promote safe and responsible gun ownership, dangerous criminals and the seriously mentally ill should be prohibited from possessing firearms; therefore, it should be incumbent upon all citizens to ensure weapons are not being transferred to such people.

SEC. 103. RULE OF CONSTRUCTION.
Nothing in this title, or any amendment made by this title, shall be construed to-
(1) expand in any way the enforcement authority or jurisdiction of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; or
(2) allow the establishment, directly or indirectly, of a Federal firearms registry.

SEC. 111. REAUTHORIZATION OF THE NATIONAL CRIMINAL HISTORY RECORDS IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM.
Section 106(b) of Public Law 103-159 (18 U.S.C. 922 note) is amended-
(2) by striking paragraph (2) and inserting the following:
“(2) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.-There are authorized to be appropriated for grants under this subsection $100,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2014 through 2017.”.

Read the full text of S 649 here.

What is confusing is that when I searched the Library of Congress’ Thomas website, it says S.649 is called “Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013,” sponsored  by Harry Reid (D-NV) and co-sponsored by Tim Kaine (VA).

H/t Daniel Helper of The Weekly Standard and FOTM’s joworth.

~Eowyn