Joe Biden
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

By Emily Taylor

On the third anniversary of the horrific Parkland massacre, the White House released a statement challenging Congress to pursue gun control in this legislative session. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee from Texas has already introduced HR 127, which is a gun-grabber’s dream bill.

HR 127 would be a nightmare for gun owners, but it is a long shot to pass. However, just because one bill is unlikely to pass doesn’t mean gun owners can relax. The White House’s statement specifically called for three avenues of attack on the Second Amendment: a repeal of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, a new assault weapons ban, and universal background checks. The White House statement echoes the President’s platform during the election.

Overturning the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act

Most people have never heard of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (“PLCAA”). The President mentioned repealing this law first in his policy statement during the election, which indicates it’s a high priority. Why is this law so important?

The PLCAA was signed into federal law by President George W. Bush in 2005 and provides protection for firearms manufacturers and dealers from legal liability if crimes are committed with their products. This protection does not extend to lawsuits against dealers and manufacturers for defective products, breaches of contract, criminal misconduct, or negligent entrustment.

The intention behind the law is to protect the firearms industry from liability resulting from criminals using their products to commit crimes. Previously, gun manufacturers and dealers were sued for negligence (somewhat successfully) by survivors or the family of victims for crimes where firearms were used. The prevailing theory was that the firearms industry should have known their products would be used by evildoers, and thus, should be held financially liable for their crimes.

This law has been unsuccessfully challenged by lawsuits several times since its enactment, but one case, Gustafson v. Springfield Armory, is still pending in the Pennsylvania Superior Court.

The PLCAA is an important piece of legislation protecting the firearms industry from what has been described as death by a thousand cuts. The ability to bury the industry in lawsuits could cause smaller companies to simply shut their doors under the legal burden of defending themselves.

Unfortunately, because few people have heard of the PLCAA, a bill to repeal it won’t generate hundreds of thousands of phone calls and letters to Congress like a new assault weapons ban surely will. Speaking of which . . .

A New Assault Weapons Ban

The very next item on the President’s policy list is a new assault weapons ban (“AWB”). It specifically mentions learning from the “mistakes” of the 1994 AWB, which then-Senator Joseph Biden helped pass.

Bill Clinton assault weapons ban
In this Sept. 13, 1994, file photo President Bill Clinton, center-right, shakes hands with Stephen Sposato as Marc Klaas looks on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington after he signed a $30 billion sweeping crime bill that was six years in the making and included a hotly disputed ban on assault weapons. Sposato’s wife was killed when a gunman invaded the San Francisco law firm where she worked, and Klaas’ daughter Polly was kidnapped and killed. “Today, at last, the waiting ends,” Clinton said then. “Today, the bickering stops, the era of excuses is over.” Two decades and so many gun tragedies later, the political fallout from that long-gone assault weapons ban still casts a long shadow over Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

The 1994 AWB banned outright the manufacture and transfer of certain specifically named semi-automatic firearms and created the “two feature” test to define “assault weapons” that weren’t mentioned by name. For example, a semi-automatic rifle banned under the statute had to first have a detachable magazine, and then two military-style features such as a threaded barrel and a bayonet lug.

It also banned the manufacture of new rifle or pistol magazines that held more than 10 rounds, unless those magazines were marked for military or law enforcement use.

This ban grandfathered in previously legally owned weapons, but no prohibited firearm could be acquired or manufactured after September 13, 1994. Thankfully, the drafters of the AWB included a “sunset provision,” which stated that the ban would expire 10 years later—in 2004. Attempts to renew the AWB thus far have been unsuccessful.

President Biden’s policy paper establishes that under the new AWB, existing so-called “assault weapons” would have to be registered as National Firearms Act (“NFA”) firearms, which would cost gun owners $200 for every “assault weapon” they own. The NFA currently requires a $200 tax for many items such as machine guns, short-barreled rifles and shotguns, or suppressors.

The new Biden AWB would call for a ban on the manufacture or sale of “assault weapons” and “high-capacity” magazines, regulate existing NFA items, propose a buyback of civilian-owned “assault weapons” and “high-capacity” magazines, and aim to reduce the “stockpiling of weapons.”

Universal Background Checks

Another legislative priority for the new administration is “universal” background checks. The Obama administration briefly attempted such a bill after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, but it was defeated in the Senate. President Biden’s policy paper lists universal background checks as his third highest priority.

In this April 10, 2013 file photo, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., left, and Sen. Patrick Toomey, R-Pa. arrive for a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington to announce that they have reached a bipartisan deal on expanding background checks to more gun buyers. Supporters try to salvage an expansion of background checks, the heart of Congress’ struggling post-Newtown effort to restrict guns. Forty-one senators are potentially ready to oppose the measure _ enough to sink it unless gun control forces figure out a way to attract more votes. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) is currently utilized in commercial firearms sales that require the completion of a Form 4473. However, many states allow the private sale of firearms that do not require any sort of background check. President Biden plans to close that “loophole” and require NICS checks on all firearm sales—including private sales.

Biden’s Additional Gun Control Plans

The plan also calls for banning those adjudicated by the Social Security Administration as unable to manage their affairs for mental reasons, fugitives from justice (already prohibited), and people convicted of misdemeanor hate crimes from owning, possessing, or transporting firearms.

Biden’s plan calls for an end to the “Charleston Loophole.” This so-called loophole allows a Federal Firearms License (“FFL”) dealer to complete a firearm transaction if a “deny” response from the FBI is not received within three business days.

Biden also plans to enact legislation to prohibit all online sales of firearms, ammunition, gun kits, and gun parts.

What About Congress?

The current political landscape is complicated. Democrats have a 10-seat majority in the House of Representatives. The Senate is a 50-50 tie between Republicans and Democrats, with the tie-breaking vote going to the Vice President.

Joe Biden Kamala Harris
(Kevin Lamarque/Pool via AP)

In 1994, passage of the federal Assault Weapons Ban was at least partly responsible for a 54-seat swing in the next election that switched control of the House of Representatives for the first time since 1954. Many current anti-gun Congressional leaders were serving at that time, and might be hesitant to repeat those events. Further complicating the passage of major gun control is the Senate filibuster.

The Senate filibuster is a procedure in which a group of senators, usually along political lines, attempts to delay or block a vote on a bill by extending debate on the proposed legislation. If new legislation is presented that would erode the Second Amendment, most Republican senators would likely join in a filibuster to stop its passage.

The last bump in the road for any potential gun control is the Supreme Court. With a presumptive pro-gun majority on the court, the thinking is that gun control advocates won’t want to risk a landmark decision that declares an “assault weapons” ban unconstitutional.

What’s Likely to Happen?

The most likely avenues of attack are repealing the PLCAA and passing a new universal background check bill, because an AWB with the potential to pass would generate intense political opposition and backlash. People write letters and make phone calls over assault weapons bans, but we don’t see the same level of engagement over obscure liability laws.

What Can I Do?

The first thing you can do is get to know your representatives. Don’t wait until there’s a gun control bill coming up for a vote. Send them a polite email now that lays out your concerns and why you support the right to keep and bear arms.

Go to town hall meetings, ask questions, and be polite and professional. Election day isn’t the only time for your voice to be heard, and putting a face to the name is an effective practice.

Another great option is to get involved locally. Many individual states have state rifle and pistol associations, many of which have been very successful at lobbying their state legislators and influencing key political decisions. Make sure to do your research on your state’s association, because not all of them are created equal.

Finally, be a living example of a “good guy” gun owner. When the media slanders gun owners as aggressive insurrectionist maniacs, be the person who pops into your non-gun owning friends’ minds: “Wait, Bob owns guns and he’s not like that.” Putting an actual name and a face on gun rights can change how people who otherwise don’t have an opinion on these matters vote.

The Future

Hope isn’t lost. Yes, the Second Amendment faces a tough federal battle for the next few years. That means now, more than ever, it’s important for law-abiding gun owners to get involved. Take someone shooting, join your state associations, call your representative, and most importantly, stay vigilant.

 

Emily Taylor is a partner with Walker & Taylor, PLLC

21 COMMENTS

  1. To the best of my knowledge, the word “sales” does not appear in the Brady Act, nor in the 1998 NICS Regulation (as twice amended) which implemented the NICS system specified by Brady. These laws along with USC Title 18, Section 922 all use the word “transfer.” Burdening all firearm sales is bad enough, but I think it’s much worse than that. They’re actually after transfers.

    • God observation. That’s a ‘phraseology’ trick because they don’t want to exactly say ‘Ban all PRIVATE’ transfers’. Because that would even wake up the Biden, ‘shotgun and .38 revolver’ ONLY Democrat voter gun owners, because that’s taking assault weapons, bans way too far because no Americans I know, even the commies and liberals, who for some reason, are so terrified and hateful of the semi-auto individual rifles that won our Country ‘Numbah’ one status in world infantry power, want the G to tell them what they can, or cannot pass on as gifts, trades, or family heirlooms. So you have to scam their ignorant asses into thinking it’s only those accursed evile vile AKs and ARs and the like, which must be banned or registered, taxed, & Geolocated for random inspections, and not anything else?

      Well, I guarantee the final text of whatever law they’re going to don a kamakazi vote and pass on will include the word ‘All’ transfers.

      And by the way, all these silly-ass comments about trying to beat new ‘gun laws’ if somebody comes looking for them by claiming that “oh, those guns? They fell off my fishing boat somewhere, or maybe i sold them cash and carry at a gun show or something because i don’t have them anymore”, won’t fly because their will be a sub-clause in the law that any firearms not reported missing, lost, or stolen with the attendant police report within 24 hours will be guilty of a mandatory minimum jail sentence and or very painful fine.

      Remember, these neo-Marxist gun grabbers are Not interested in banning guns for the good of public safety. Otherwise, they would focus on more realistic social efforts to enhance public safety first and foremost starting with The corrupted criminal justice system itself, and then the corrupted politicians who have no accountability and do not care about anything but their own personal agendas. Especially in light of the undeniable fact that so-called assault-style semi-auto sporting rifles Are NOT even statistically dangerous by comparison to the outrageous number of Vehicular deaths and physical mayhem per year! Or prescription drug malfeasance, or untreated mental illness, and so on and so forth!

      They simply want most at least, if not all if possible Americans disarmed in view of the future agenda of Totalitarian Communism to preclude and all resistance and dissent because of their inevitable Draconian plans for We, The People’, and that includes most of you democrats too!

      The article is correct about starting now to try to change the Congress and Senate in 2022.
      The Communists are already in advanced action mode on this. Which is how they got the ‘winning’ edge last time. Just recently their was news that Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin is already a ‘cancel’ target by a hedge fund Billionaire’s (i think he owns the Bucks team now) Son probing the situation to run against Johnson, of course with all-powerful virtually unlimited funds? And leftist Madison Newspaper articles are already publishing op-eds on ‘Why Ron Johnson Must Go’.

      I urge all Americans concerned with their future liberty and safety, and ability to prosper in a vibrant Free Enterprise and Free thinking Nation to consider an alternative strategy as well.

      It’s a little-known fact that the ultimate law enforcement of the land is NOT the Federal alphabet agencies. It is your local County Sherrif whom YOU elected.

      This is ultimately important for the final onslought against your Constitutionally guaranteed 2nd and 4th/A rights.

      I encourage everyone to get together and find out where their local Sherrif stands on the 2nd/A , and more importantly whether or not She-he will enforce illegal anti-Constitutional gun registration and control laws. (These and all future gun laws depriving Americans of any and all Constitutional laws are already punishable by USCC 18-242-241) You can simply contact their office to get an answer or get your local newspaper to ask them.

      Of course, not all will be willing to protect your rights or uphold their Oaths, especially depending upon their State and local political affiliations.

      To assist with this assurance it will be necessary to contact Sherrif Richard Mack, of ‘Constitutional Sherriff’ (.com/organization) and join and educate your local County Sherrif’s departments. Some are true Constitutional Patriots, who will stand by their Oath, but just don’t know how to do it effectively so as Not to be intimidated?

      Bet lets get going sooner, rather than later, as the article advises.

      Don’t forget that the old ‘Tortoise versus the Hare’ fairy tale we were brain smacked with constantly as kids when facing problems that slowed us down was intentionally subliminally programmed in our minds to be slow and weak, instead of fast and aggressive when it came to obstacles and problems. While students were encouraged to just take their time’ and you’ll eventually make it. There were elitists teaching their kids to move faster and more intensely in their concentration. The more realistic aphorism came later. “If you Snooze, you lose”.

      And of course, that’s how the 21’st Century Marxists got where they are today.

      We have to beat them at their own game.

    • You beat me to it! I was going to suggest Biden could sue Jeff Dunham for using that first image for Walter. That money might keep Hunter from having to work if he ever has to get out of his shady business dealings.

  2. I’ve been trying to donate a life membership amount to GOA and can’t get a call back. I have submitted email tickets twice, and called twice, each time speaking to a real person and receiving assurance that I would be called back. I’ve been at it for a month and have nothing to show for it.

    Does anyone know how to get someone’s attention who will have the pull to straighten this out?

    I will admit being unreasonable here if they have been keeping busy 12 hours/day processing donations that have been more than the ~$1000 required for a life membership. At that point it would be logical to ignore some until the situation calms down

    • Not telling you how to spend your money but you are probably better off supporting SAF & their sister organization CCRKB. These guys seem to get results and not just lip service and begging for more cash like the NRA and GOA. I say this as a life member of both the NRA and GOA.

      • As lifer of NRA and SAF…and one installment from being GOA……, the Second Amendment is BIG business for both sides of the gun issue. Probably better to let Senile Joe and Kameltoe pass whatever they want….send Butto O’Dork first through the gun confiscation door……then resolve this issue once and for all applying the 2A for which our Founding Fathers provided the 2A.
        In Thomas Jefferson’s letter of 1787 to William Stephens Smith, the son-in-law of John Adams, postulates on the newly drafted Constitution and what it will mean. One of his statements succinctly deals with our situation today, and I quote: “What country before ever existed a century and half without a rebellion? And what country can preserve it’s liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.!” Our Founding Fathers dealt with a plethora of issues, and provided guidance accordingly; hoping it would never come to this! America has been over run by anti-American forces as traitors from within per the following.
        “A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear.”
        An excerpt from “A Pillar of Iron” by Taylor Caldwell depicting the spirit of ancient Rome in its last days of glory. The hero of the story, the man called “a pillar of iron” is Marcus Tullius Cicero, the lawyer-statesman who tried vainly to save the republic he loved from the forces of tyranny.

        The new agenda for humanity requires that no one will have the capacity to fight back. It has been said: “Our Task of creating a Socialist America can only succeed when those who would resist us have been totally disarmed.” No other explanation is possible. Welcome to “common sense” gun control.
        History has repeatedly demonstrated that disarming good people in the name of making bad people harmless only eventually facilitates politicians shooting their own countrymen. History…learn from it or be doomed to relive it.
        For decades, the enemy has been sitting in the Command Post. Latest iteration is Senile Joe with Kameltoe waiting in the wings.

    • I had the same problem with my installments. Took three months to get a response. Call and ask specifically for Megan Browning, Membership Services Director, 703-321-8585. She seems to be responsible for at least some of the incompetence at GOA. One has to really, really work to give money away at times. That’s how you know they aren’t real politicians. Guess “the suit bill” or “trollop’s rent” isn’t due. Oh, excuse me, that’s at NRA. My bad. Never had to work to get NRA to accept my money. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  3. If they want to sue gun manufactures for illegal use of their products, I want to sue congressman for stupidity and lies

  4. IF this shit goes through, I’ll pushing doubly hard when congress swings back to overturning the NFA in its entirety. Up until now I could have cared less about the NFA but I see no reason not to repeal it.

  5. How does this new bill define “assault weapons”? I am wondering if the definition is less restrictive than the California definition, because then California semiauto rifles that are not NFA items would still be legal, but if the definition is broader, would it mean that all such rifles would fall within the California prohibition of the purchase or transfer of NFA items? As it is. “registered assault weapons” (as variously defined including full auto weapons) may not be transferred to anyone by any means within the state, and the most recent law prohibits them from being taken anywhere except the range or the gun smith. Excepted are designs that require the action to be opened to remove a mag, or “featureless” rifles (as defined), which do not need to be registered and are transferable.

  6. My house representative is solid R and a 2A supporter. My senator, on the other hand, is Dianne Feinstein, who still wants to ban the private ownership of all firearms. In either case, writing to either isn’t going to change any votes.

  7. HR127.
    21 million gunms sold in one year.

    I knew a girl named Nancy
    Her face was nothing fancy
    She took my money and stole my car

  8. THANKS ON COMMENTS , COVERS ALOT . YEP , WE THE PEOPLE WEAPON OWNER HAVE TO CHERISH OUR CONSTITUTION AND 2SD .
    NEVER THE WEAPON FAULT ITS THE CRAZY PEOPLE THAT CAUSED ALL THIS .
    WEAPONS , GET ON ANY BAND WAGON THEY WANT , GUNS , KNIVES , CLUBS , CARS , PLANE , OMG USE OF OUR HANDS , UUUH WITH OR WITH OUT FINGER OR BRASS NUCKLES
    .. JUST BE GLAD TO SEE SOME 22LR AMMO ON SHELVES SOME AT A FAIR PRICE , ?? ,SOME WHERE SO I CAN GO SHOOT SOME PAPER TARGETS . SOME WHER OVER OVER DA RAINBOW …

  9. If the Democrats had their way, they would get rid of the Second Amendment entirely. Then, they would go and round up every last firearm in America, and yes, they would shoot everyone who did not comply. Whether that is crazy or not is not something they care about. They hate it so much that us “useless eaters/little people” are “allowed” to have weapons to defend against them (the crooks), that the hatred is eating them alive. And nothing short of destroying this right we have, and those of us who believe in it, will satisfy them.

  10. “The Senate is a 50-50 tie between Republicans and Democrats, with the tie-breaking vote going to the Vice President.”

    I told you way back when the primaries were just getting started that we’d see that psychopathic whore on the Democratic ticket for the White House, and I was right. I didn’t predict *how* she’d get there, but I did predict why — deep connections to the massive power/control machine of big tech and an impeccable Stalinist resume.

    And now she’s the tiebreaker in the Senate. It’s not a conspiracy if they really are out to get you.

    • The good news is that, as I recall the Senate Dems, discussed getting rid of the filibuster and couldn’t get the votes.

  11. There is no need for any more gun laws! If anything enforce the laws already on the books. If you ban any type of firearm then the only people who will have those firearms are the criminals and the good guys will not be able to defend themselves against the bad guys!

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