With the recent mass shootings there has been a flurry of proposals in congress for new laws aimed at tightening firearms regulations to try and prevent them in the future. A proposal to ban bump fire stocks gained some support but appears to have stalled out. A proposed reinstatement of the old Assault Weapons Ban is in the hopper but given how disastrously it failed last time that’s very unlikely. One proposal that seems to be gaining momentum is improving the data that goes into the existing NICS background check system.
A bipartisan group of senators are close to a deal on legislation that would improve background checks for gun sales, three Senate sources familiar with the effort said Wednesday.
The bill, crafted by Sens. John Cornyn, R.-Texas, and Chris Murphy, D-Conn., would incentivize states to strengthen the National Instant Criminal Background Check system to ensure all background check information is uploaded. The bill is expected to come Wednesday evening, with an official announcement Thursday.
The reason why this has a real potential to be enacted is that it doesn’t change any of the existing gun laws. Background checks for gun sales are a reality for firearms purchased through Federal Firearms Licensees, and this bill doesn’t do anything to extend or change those checks. All it does is improve the information being fed into that system.
Gun control activists will cheer because it “does something” to prevent “gun violence.” Gun rights folks will cheer because it is an example of the government doing what they asked, namely enforcing and improving the laws already on the books. It’s a slam dunk.
The variable: Democrats.
Every time a gun bill comes to the floor Democrats have a tendency to treat it like a Christmas tree, hanging every new gun related regulation and restriction their hearts could desire onto it as an amendment. Sometimes its because they see a small opening and want to try and cram as many new regulations through as possible. Other times its because the bill has support from the NRA and Democrats simply can’t stomach the idea of an NRA backed bill actually becoming law. Either way the Democrats have a track record of clutching defeat out of the jaws of victory.
What happens this time is yet to see, but there’s a good chance that this bill might actually pass. Which will be the greatest irony of all — Donald Trump’s administration would have done more to pass gun control legislation in one year than Barack Obama could accomplish in eight years of concerted effort.