By Congressman Markwayne Mullin
The right to bear arms is a constitutional right and it is one that I do not plan to give up any time in the near future. Unfortunately for those of us who are ardent supporters of the Second Amendment, Democrats controlling the House of Representatives have different plans for gun owners.
Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats put forth a bill to turn law-abiding gun owners into criminals. H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, is a completely misguided piece of legislation that harms those who lawfully carry and does nothing to stop criminals from accessing firearms.
By requiring background checks for temporary transfers of possession, it would trigger penalties of up to a year in prison and/or a $100,000 fine for simply handing a firearm to another person. Even transferring a firearm to someone during a life-threatening emergency could be deemed a crime by a federal prosecutor or judge if the transfer wasn’t “immediately necessary to prevent...imminent death or great bodily harm.”
H.R. 8 also claims that “universal” background checks will prevent recent gun tragedies, but these checks are nothing more than a sham. Current law already requires a background check on every commercial gun purchase in America. H.R. 8 does nothing to fix the loopholes in the background check system and instead introduces more red tape for gunowners to cut through.
The bill does nothing to keep criminals from gaining access to firearms. A mere 6 percent of career criminals bought their firearms through non-dealers at gun shows and flea markets, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Moreover, 77 percent of criminals in state prisons for firearm crimes got their firearms on the black market, on the street, from a drug dealer, or through theft, according to the Department of Justice.
Unsurprisingly, House Democrats don’t want to hear from conservatives about their take on gun violence. Minority Whip Steve Scalise, a victim of gun violence at a congressional baseball practice in 2017, was not allowed to testify at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on H.R. 8. Whip Scalise himself offers that H.R. 8 would not have prevented his shooting as his shooter purchased his firearms legally in the state of Illinois.
For House Democrats, H.R. 8 is nothing more than a messaging tool and a blatant infringement on the Second Amendment rights of Americans that is dead on arrival in the Senate. I will continue to be a defender of all Americans’ Second Amendment rights and speak out in opposition to this misguided legislation.