The National Shooting Sports Foundation and the NRA are raising warning flags over impending gun control legislation in the House of Representatives. They’re hearing that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will attempt ram a bill through the House Cuomo-style, sidestepping the House Judiciary Committee and bringing the legislation directly to the floor for a vote.
What will the bill(s) look like? That isn’t clear, but it’s a good bet that a version of House Majority Whip James Clyburn’s “Charleston Loophole” legislation will be part of it. That’s not a universal background check bill. Instead, it would give the FBI the ability to delay any gun sale for as much as 30 days.
If you don’t think that power would ever be abused and twisted into a de facto national waiting period, I have some beautiful oceanfront property in Saskatchewan I’d like to talk to you about.
Clyburn first introduced that bill in the last Congress where it died a merciful death.
The NSSF’s Larry Keane had this to say about Clyburn’s bill . . .
“If the bill is the same as what was introduced in the last Congress, we will be opposed to it now as we were then. This bill increases the burden on small business firearm retailer owners and flips the burden of proof on its head. This would make it incumbent upon the law-abiding citizen to prove his or her innocence to the government to exercise their Second Amendment right to purchase a firearm instead of the government being responsible for proving an individual is prohibited. This could potentially deny a law-abiding citizen their rights for up to a month, while they are saddled with the burden of proving their innocence. That’s un-American.
“Rather than placing further burdens on retailers and law-abiding gun owners, Congress should focus on adequately resourcing NICS. NSSF is the only organization that has successfully advocated for NICS to have the necessary resources to perform its mission in a timely manner.”
Clyburn’s original language isn’t the only possibility, of course. He could introduce a new bill incorporating the “Charleston Loophole” language into a larger bill mandating universal background check which would outlaw private sales of all firearms without a background check. A background check that could then be delayed by up to 30 days by the Charleston language.
See how that works?
There are, of course, other bills pending in the House such as Sheila Jackson Lee’s infamous HR 127 with its “assault weapons” and hi-cap magazine bans, retroactive registration of all guns, federal purchase permits, mandatory insurance requirement, psychological evaluations for gun owners and more. But that’s probably a bridge too far, even for Pelosi who won’t want to eliminate her chances of retaining the Speaker’s gavel after the 2022 midterms so early in 2021.
Still, any gun control bill that Pelosi manages to ram through the lower chamber will have to clear the Senate’s filibuster hurdle and get 60 votes for passage. That doesn’t seem likely if it’s presented as a clean gun control bill.
The question then becomes whether Democrats are anxious enough to pass a gun control measure to attach it to another “must-pass” bill like, say, a debt ceiling extension bill. That would make voting against it much more politically difficult for gun rights supporters. Would the GOP be willing to risk a government shutdown to oppose more restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms. We may be about to find out.
UPDATE: Clyburn has reintroduced his bill this morning with language that would increase the time the FBI has to complete a background check from three to ten days. And California Rep. Mike Thompson introduced a universal background check bill that would outlaw private firearm sales.