COMPASS: House to vote on gun control measures next week

May 31st, 2022

Good afternoon from Capitol Hill.

The House and Senate are both out of session this week, but Democrats in both chambers are actively working on gun control bills to be considered next week. On Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee will hold an emergency markup to consider eight gun control bills under the heading of the “Protecting Our Kids Act.”

From Punchbowl News this morning:

The omnibus package includes bills to raise the purchasing age for semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21; ban the import, sale, manufacture, transfer or possession of high-capacity ammunition magazines, although existing magazines are “grandfathered” in; requires existing bump stocks be registered under the National Firearms Act and bars the manufacture, sale, or possession of new bump stocks for civilian use; amends the definition of “ghost guns” to require background checks on all sales, as ATF is trying to do through rulemaking; beefs up federal criminal penalties for gun trafficking and “straw purchases”; and establishes new requirements for storing guns at home – especially with minors present – while providing tax credits for storage devices.

The package will receive a vote in some form – either together or as separate packages – when the House returns next week. It goes without saying that this package of bills currently has no support in the Senate, where it would need 60 votes to overcome a filibuster.

Negotiations appear to be ongoing in the Senate, where Democrat Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) is reaching out to willing Republican senators to try and cobble together a more slimmed down policy proposal, which may include expanding background checks and state based red flag laws. Republican leader Mitch McConnell has directed Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) to engage with Murphy on a “bipartisan solution” to gun violence. President Biden has called McConnell and Cornyn examples of “rational Republican” senators he can work with on this issue.

But Biden is also suggesting that “high-caliber weapons” like 9mm handguns ought to be banned. In doing so, the president is effectively calling for a ban on most handguns sold and carried in the United States – not quite the recipe for bipartisan legislation.

In the meantime, it has become clear just how badly the Uvalde police failed to address the active shooter in their school. Regardless of what laws were or were not in place, the “good guy with the gun” theory failed to manifest. Ben Boychuk reflects on what that means in American Greatness:

If it’s true the Uvalde case proves there is no such thing as a “good guy with a gun,” as the sneering anti-gun Left and the smug NeverTrump “Right” tend to say, does that mean police as the only viable protectors of the vulnerable is also a myth? If so, perhaps the “defund-and-abolish” crowd is right. (Spoiler: They aren’t.) 

But if the protectors have “no duty to protect” a person from harm, as the courts have maintained, then we’re left with no choice but to protect ourselves. The Supreme Court has also characterized self-defense as a “natural, inherent right”—not that we needed the justices to say so in order for it to be true.  

So don’t be surprised when people take the next logical step and do just that, with or without the sanction of the law. (Which is one reason gun stores do brisk business after incidents such as this.) 

All of this occurs against the backdrop of a major Second Amendment opinion that is expected to be released by the Supreme Court in the next few months, dealing with New York state’s tight limits on concealed carry of handguns. I wrote about this case – and how the left views gun rights in America – late last year after the Rittenhouse trial. 

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One More Thing…

Hillsdale College’s Washington DC campus is accepting applications for its Madison Fellowship. For more information and to apply, see here.