Reader John Dingell III writes:
Attorney General Sessions had a long record as a friend of firearms owners when he was a U.S. Senator from Alabama. His firearms record as Attorney General is less clear, but BATFE did not perpetrate any outrages beyond the bump stock ban under his supervision. The bump stock ban appears to be a direct instruction from President Trump.
President Trump said yesterday that he intends to nominate William Barr as Sessions’ replacement. The choice has been greeted by applause from both Democrats and Republicans. Barr is a Bush 41 retread, having served as Assistant Attorney General, Deputy Attorney General, and finally as Attorney General. BATFE was under the Department of Treasury during Bush 41’s term and the Department of Justice had only limited authority over firearms.
Barr has said little about firearms or gun control during his career, but he is widely considered to be the author of PL 101-647, The Crime Control Act of 1990.
The Crime Control Act of 1990 had a number of firearms provisions. The Gun Free School Zone Act is the biggie, but probably the work of Senator Herb Kohl of Wisconsin – not Barr. The GFSZA’s strange rules set the context for MGO v. AAPS, despite SCOTUS finding much of it unconstitutional in Lopez.
The ban on domestic assembly of semiautomatic rifles prohibited from importation is Barr’s big aggravation in The Crime Control Act of 1990. This was a follow on to Bush 41’s 1989 prohibition of ‘unsporting’ long arms importation. Other provisions:
– Increased prison sentences for SBRs, SBSs, and destructive devices to 10 years.
– Barred firearms transfers to non-residents of the USA
– Banned firearms in federal court facilities
– Cleaned up bad grammar in previous gun control statutes.
We could have a problem here. We might get some idea of his positions on firearms issues from his responses during his confirmation hearings. Stay tuned.