The debate over immigration dominates the headlines so completely that one could be forgiven for thinking it is now the only issue upon which Congress is focused. It is entirely possible that, for the Democrats who now control the House of Representatives, this perception is a good thing. It allows them to prepare legislation on other issues they would rather not openly discuss. The nullification of the Second Amendment is something the left has been working towards for a very long time, and electoral success in the 2018 midterms gave the Democrats a new opportunity to jam through new laws that will make life as difficult as possible for gun owners.
This is not just happening at the federal level, though; blue states are crafting new regulations that may not actually prevent law-abiding citizens from buying firearms but make it extremely difficult for them to legally carry, transport, or use them.
Democrats have never come across a gun restriction they didn’t like…
Blue States Push Anti-Gun Rules
In several Washington counties, sheriffs are flatly refusing to enforce new gun restrictions approved by a majority of Washingtonians – but rejected overwhelmingly by the counties in question – in November 2018. The new measures include stricter background checks, new rules for the storage of firearms, safety training requirements, and bans on the sale of semi-automatic rifles to any person under the age of 21.
In New York, a new law prevents gun owners from traveling anywhere with their firearm except to one of the city’s few approved ranges. The Supreme Court is set to take up a challenge to this, and will likely overturn it, but it is a good example of how the anti-gun lobby focuses on making it as difficult as possible for legal gun-owners to stay on the right side of the law. The strategy is clear; find a way to entrap gun-owners into falling foul of regulations, charge and convict them and, thus, prevent them from ever again being able to purchase or carry a firearm.
Democrats in Congress Take On Gun Rights
At the federal level, Democrats have already introduced bills in both the Senate and House of Representatives aimed primarily at expanding background checks for the transfer of all firearms. The Senate bill, S. 42, has 41 cosponsors – all Democrats. The House bill, H.R. 8, has 229 cosponsors, including five Republicans who represent districts in deep blue states and are clearly putting concern for their careers ahead of their willingness to protect constitutional rights.
Though it has been established that so-called “universal background checks” do nothing to reduce gun violence, the Democrats have been pushing this issue for years. The ultimate aim, of course, is to introduce a federal gun registration program, since that is the only way to enforce a requirement for background checks for private firearms transfers. Without registration, there is simply no way to prevent the buying and selling of these weapons between private citizens.
The refrain from Democrats is that they respect Second Amendment rights but that “common sense” gun laws are needed. This is nonsense, of course: Democrats have never come across a gun restriction they didn’t like – whether it made sense or not – and none have ever been willing to clearly define a red line for gun control laws – a line between supposed common sense laws and those that infringe upon the Second Amendment.
The push to restrict and, where possible, eliminate the right to bear arms will continue in the background while Democrats make noise about other issues and hope no-one notices until it is too late. What they are really doing, of course – since their proposed legislation is unlikely to make it through a Republican Senate – is teeing up the issue of gun violence for the 2020 campaign, at which time they will point to their efforts toward reduction and how Republicans resisted them. It remains to be seen whether congressional Republicans and their constituents will cast a brighter spotlight on the issue, given that restricting gun rights is still not a winning issue at the national level.