In the wake of the Umpqua Community College mass shooting, sensing rival Bernie Sanders’ “weakness on guns,” Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is launching a war on guns. Speaking at a rally on Friday, Clinton promised to fight for “new, effective, gun control measures.” Channeling President Obama’s petulant post-Umpqua statement, Clinton set her sights on “the NRA and the gun lobby and the manufacturers they represent.” The Clinton campaign gave their BFFs at The Huffington Post a heads-up on their candidate’s four “new” gun control proposals, scheduled for their official debut at a town hall meeting later today. To quote Warren Zevon, it ain’t that pretty at all . . .
At the top of the list is a pledge to take administrative action if Congress fails to tighten the so-called gun show and Internet sales loopholes. Under current law, licensed dealers are required to conduct background checks and certify that potential buyers are not prohibited from owning guns. But unlicensed vendors, including some individual sellers at gun shows, don’t have to go through these steps.
Clinton plans to call for lawmakers to address the issue. But if they don’t, she will require that anyone “attempting to sell a significant number of guns be deemed ‘in the business of selling firearms,’” which would “ensure that high-volume gun sellers are covered by the same common sense rules that apply to gun stores — including requiring background checks on gun sales.” Asked what would constitute “a significant number of guns,” a Clinton aide responded, “There are a number of studies being conducted currently regarding illegal gun sales that could inform an eventual rule making.” . . .
[ED: Everytown for Gun Safety’s anti-gun agitprop arm, The Trace, writes today that ” The White House has been mulling a similar move, we hear, perhaps timed to coincide with the Sandy Hook anniversary in December.”]
Clinton’s second proposal would close a gap in the current background check process that “allows a gun sale to proceed without a completed background check if that check is not complete within three days.” The so-called “Charleston Loophole” has been pinpointed as a contributing factor in the mass shooting at the Emanuel AME Church in the South Carolina city in June, though some have also argued that the shooter would have been stopped from obtaining a gun had there simply been better communication between state and federal agencies . . .
Clinton will also call for legislation that prohibits domestic abusers from buying and possessing firearms. Such a bill has already been introduced in the Senate, where it has had a hearing before the Judiciary Committee. Similar legislation has been pushed in state legislatures as well, where the National Rifle Association has notably backed down from the fight. According to a report from the Center for American Progress, nearly 12,000 convicted stalkers can legally purchase firearms in the U.S.
Finally, Clinton will call for a repeal of the legal immunity that gun manufacturers and dealers currently enjoy under a 2005 law called the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. This could be the most politically provocative of the four proposals. Not only is the immunity a prized possession of the NRA, but it is something that Sanders voted for while a member of the House of Representatives. Clinton, who was a senator representing New York at the time, voted against it.
It should be noted that these proposals come to the Clinton campaign via Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s civilian disarmament crusaders at Everytown for Gun Safety (and its wholly-owned subsidiary Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America). Yesterday’s New York Times article Gun Safety Group Sees Room to Reinforce Existing Laws reveals the obvious overlap/transfer of gun control ideas.
That said, as HuffPo points out, Clinton’s proposals are weak beer compared to rival Martin O’Malley’s gun control platform, which calls for national gun registration. But really, what’s the difference? All Democratic presidential candidates support gun control initiatives in all their various flavors, including a renewed “assault weapons” ban. The only real question here: will Sanders defend voting for the Protection of Lawful Commerce Act?
Clinton’s proposals would do sweet FA to reduce “gun violence.’ They also represent duplication with existing gun laws. The former First Lady’s renewed enthusiasm for gun control will help drive Republicans to the polls in November – should the former Secretary of State make it that far and Republicans nominate someone the pro-gun side want to vote for (i.e. not Jeb Bush). Watch this space.