With the election of Donald Trump, the People of the Gun eagerly looked forward to moving the ball forward on gun rights. We had great goals of taking suppressors out from under the National Firearm Act. What's more, we saw national reciprocity as attainable. Obviously none of that has taken place. So what happened and where do we go from here?
In a nutshell, the pending bills from the last Congress died when that session ended. Why didn't we get votes on them? If I had to name one person as the primary obstacle, my finger would not point at Chuck Schumer or any of the Senate's radicals who hate guns. Instead, Kentucky's senior senator, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell killed them by sitting on them.
As bad as Paul Ryan showed himself to be, Mitch McConnell stabbed us in the back over and over last session. We had opportunities to pass all manner of gun rights legislation ranging from the Hearing Protection Act to National Reciprocity to plenty more. We had the votes to pass them by a simple majority in the Senate, either in straight up votes or as part of spending packages. And ol' Cocaine Mitch sat on them all and refused to grant a vote.
In my mind, when your friend stabs you in the back, it hurts a lot worse. Without fail, every time an election rolls around in Kentucky, ol' Mitch talks a great game about his pro-gun attitudes and credentials. And he brags how we're going to get things done in Congress.
Like so many politicians, too often their talk is worth the tank contents of your favorite Vactor Manufacturing sewage sucking truck.
Frankly, someone will re-introduce both the Hearing Protection Act and National Reciprocity this session. Oh wait, John Cornyn already did. And while they might squeak through the Senate one way or another, their passage in the House in today's political environment is somewhere between zero and none.
The Hearing Protection Act would take suppressors out of the National Firearms Act, making them much more readily available to regular gun owners. Some refer to suppressors as 'silencers'. Of course, suppressors don't really "silence" anything like Hollywood and fear-mongering, anti-gun politicians would have you believe.
Currently, someone wishing to own a suppressor must file the relevant NFA paperwork, pay a $200 transfer tax and wait. And wait. And wait a little longer for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to process the application.
Once again, the Hearing Protection Act of 2017 that would have ended that $200 tax and all the waiting has died. It had a whole lot of co-sponsors last session in the House of Representatives, but with the new Congress, we must start from scratch with a new bill.
National reciprocity would make your concealed carry license valid nationwide, just like your driver's license. Or your marriage certificate. Yes, plenty of us notice how state's rights suddenly become important to federal politicians when it comes to national reciprocity. If they didn't have double standards, they wouldn't have any at all.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, fresh off two wins this past week (State of the Union and the government shutdown) thinks she has a huge tailwind. Given how Republicans — especially establishment GOPers — fold like cheap suits, she may just rule the roost on more than just guns and immigration. Time will tell.
Sure, President Trump would sign either the suppressor bill or national reciprocity in a heartbeat, but that doesn't matter if the bills don't reach his desk.
On the contrary, Democrats have either introduced or plan to introduce all manner of gun control measures this session. Like the pro-gun bills, these will likely never see the light of day in the Senate assuming they ever make it out of the House. And even if they would pass both the House and Senate, President Trump would likely veto them.
One that our own Luis worried about, the "universal background checks" bill, quickly became a hot mess. HR8, enacts universal background checks (otherwise known as a ban on private gun transfers). Not content with just that, sponsors also worked in a ban on handgun ownership for under 21s, open-ended fees, and requires background checks (and fees, and state-level waiting periods) to loan someone a gun for a day's hunting. Then more background checks (and fees, and waiting periods) to return the loaned gun.
While universal background checks by itself might have had a tiny prayer of passage if the planets perfectly aligned, the heavy-handed over-reach of HR8 bill has given it the life expectancy of a drug mule who had his load confiscated by police.
In short, gun legislation — both good and bad — will almost certainly remain at a stand-still at the federal level in the newly divided Congress. Not unlike it was under unified GOP control. Short of another Las Vegas Mandalay Bay-type massacre, gun control won't move anywhere outside of the House. Meanwhile, both sides will duke it out in the states and, in some cases, the local level. Not to mention the media.