There are a bunch of proposals floating around right now about increased (or even decreased) gun control, and with the post-Sandy Hook shooting emotional response just about over there’s an even more concerted push to get “something” done before the window closes again. Sure, Piers Morgan and the like are trying to keep the story alive and keep driving towards a shredding of the second amendment, but there’s only so much the political climate (and Americans’ attention span) can support. So while the rest of the crew is in transit to LAS, I thought I’d do some handicapping of the possibilities . . .
Just a quick note here. While I’m a fully trained risk analyst and used to do stuff like this for a living for DHS, none of this is particularly scientific. What you’re getting is my “gut feeling” rather than any hard and fast math. Mainly because hard and fast math is pretty much useless for this kind of thing. I’m going to try to rank them in order of risk of passage, based on likelihood of introduction and probability of enactment.
Increased Scrutiny with NICS Checks
There’s no doubt that one of the things Biden is going to propose on Tuesday is an executive order to “toughen” background checks. Whether that involves increased or mandatory inclusion of certain medical records is up for debate, but this is one of the things that can actually be accomplished legally with an EO. The Brady bill requires certain things to be checked during a NICS check, but not every state plays along and feeds them all the data they request. An EO might work its way toward fixing that without actually violating the Constitution.
Probability of Introduction: 95%
Probability of Enactment: 95%
“High Capacity” Magazine Ban
While an actual AWB might be out of the picture, there’s no doubt that politicians are looking for bits and pieces that they can vote for without enacting the whole bloody mess. One of the ideas that has taken hold is a “high capacity” magazine ban, probably stopping the manufacture of magazines over 10 rounds and restricting sales of existing mags. In order for it to pass I think it needs a grandfather clause (to get the “Gun Culture 1.0” politicians on board) and possibly a sunset provision, but that much is anyone’s guess.
Probability of Introduction: 90%
Probability of Enactment: 60%
Stopping Mail Order Ammo
Interstate commerce is what Congress is supposed to regulate, and the biggest commercial part of firearms is the ammunition, not the guns themselves. Stopping interstate sales directly to citizens is possible, but only through an act of Congress. I think one of the things working against this is that it was already tried and failed miserably.
Probability of Introduction: 70%
Probability of Enactment: 40%
Stopping Private Sales
Like I said, interstate commerce is the hook that Congress uses to pass their laws. All other non-constitutional duties are reserved to the states. I can see how they would craft the language, but the precedent of one or two states that have already given the middle finger to Federal control of things that start and stay within state lines puts a huge damper on this one.
Probability of Introduction: 50%
Probability of Enactment: 20%
It’s absolutely illegal under FOPA, but that doesn’t mean Congress doesn’t have the ability to change their mind. This is something I see the NRA and pro-2A politicians going to the mat over, especially armed with Canada’s recent scrapping of their own failed registry.
Probability of Introduction: 40%
Probability of Enactment: 10%
Neutered Assault Weapons Ban
I’ll get to DiFi’s impossible dream in a minute, but what is slightly more possible is a wholesale reinstatement of the old AWB. Its already been done, so politicians see some cover in that fact. Plus, a sunset provision would help to ease some Congresscritters off the fence. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still political suicide for the Dems in the midterm elections and all but guarantees a Republican president next time, but it’s a possibility. Not a good one, though.
Probability of Introduction: 35%
Probability of Enactment: 10%
Feinstein’s “Nuclear Option” AWB
Uh, yeah. Even some Democrats are calling it insane. The reason for the proposed legislation was to move the Overton Window (no, I don’t watch Glen Beck, the phrase pre-dates his book) further to their side. By pinning the top of the conversation so high, it allows for the possibility of something more substantial than anyone originally wanted to happen instead. But there’s no way in hell it actually makes it to the President’s desk.
Probability of Introduction: 100%
Probability of Enactment: 0%