Don’t Waste Your Time Worrying About H.R. 8

              Before everyone goes nuts and crazy about the amendment that the sore-loser Republicans inserted into the background-check bill (H.R. 8) which yesterday cleared the House, I’m going to explain what the language means and doesn’t mean. The problem is that what Jerry Nadler (D-NY) said about the background-check process (“Well, first of all, if he fails a background check because he’s illegally in the country, that means the system knows he’s illegally in the country. It means they already know that — so what’s the point of reporting him?”) isn’t really true. But what the GOP said about this stupid amendment also isn’t true.

              The amendment says that when someone fails a background check because he/she is an undocumented immigrant, that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, our new Gestapo known as the ICE, has to be notified so that the individual can be found, prosecuted and  charged with all sorts of things. I don’t believe, incidentally, that the amendment contains a specific method for making all of that happen.  In other words, after the FBI-NICS people fail to approve a transaction, who picks up the phone and calls the ICE?

              Here’s what happens when the (hated or beloved – take your pick) background check occurs.  The buyer of the gun fills out fields 1 through 10 on the form and gives name, address, date of birth, all the usual identifiers. The buyer then gives a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ to 9 questions covering the various ‘prohibited’ categories (i.e., felon, fugitive, mental ‘defective,’ – I love that one – and so forth.) If the buyer says ‘yes’ to any of those questions, the FBI denies the sale. If the buyer says ‘no’ to any of those questions but the person’s name turns up in one of the databases used by the FBI, the sale is also either prohibited or delayed (the notorious 3-day delay) until more information can be found.

              You should know, by the way, that neither the dealer nor the customer is told why a specific sale was denied or delayed. The customer will be told if he decides to appeal the decision, the dealer is left in the dark. And here comes the tricky part. The customer must also affirm or deny that he/she is a citizen and produce some kind of government ID to validate his/her current address. But there are currently 42 states which will issue a driver’s license to an undocumented immigrant either because they want everyone who drives to have a license, or because they have agreed to issue a license to anyone covered by the DACA program, which enrolls ‘illegals’ up to age thirty-one.

              So the guy who walks into a gun shop, produces a driver’s license and says he’s a citizen is going to fly through the background check process unless the FBI finds that he’s committed some kind of serious crime or is listed in their database for some other disqualifying event. In other words, the authors of that stupid amendment are simply grandstanding by inserting some language about reporting ‘illegals’ to the ICE when said individuals try to legally purchase a gun.

              Pace Jerry Nadler, the only way that someone could fail a background check because they are here illegally is if the individual actually admitted their illegal status at the time they were filling out the background-check form. And anyone doing that should be denied a gun simply because he’s beyond dumb.

If I were someone in the country illegally and wanted to get my hands on a gun, I’m not going to get anywhere near the FBI when it comes to buying a gun or when it comes to anything else. The FBI-NICS system has been operating for more than 20 years and everyone who hasn’t been brain-dead since 1998 knows what the phrase ‘law-abiding’ means when it comes to buying or owning a gun.

When it comes to gun violence, there are more important things to worry about than whether some GOP members of Congress want to score a few points with the anti-immigration gang.

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The 2020 Gun Battle Has Already Begun.

              Now that a gun-control bill appears to be rolling through the House, probably to be sidelined by the Senate, the two sides in the gun debate are beginning to sharpen their spears for what they assume will be the real-deal confrontation leading up to the 2020 Presidential campaign. It was kicked off by a broadside in The American Rifleman magazine, the NRA’s flagship publication, which has Nancy and Gabby flanked by a headline that reads: “TARGET PRACTICE – Congressional Democrats Target Gun Owners for Persecution with Extreme Firearms Ban,” obviously referring to the background-check bill (H.R. 8) that was introduced almost immediately after the 116th Congress took its seats.

              If the blue team can’t get enough votes to push this bill forward, they really should go home and declare their new House majority to be as good as dead. But if anyone thinks that the passage of this law is just so much strum und drang without any real significance behind it, just remember that the federal gun law passed in 1968 was first introduced in 1963.  I guarantee you that the guy or gal who ends up running against Trump next year will pledge to make H.R. 8 the next gun law.

              Actually, the American Rifleman blast that has Gun-control Nation so upset is a reminder that America’s first civil rights organization’ isn’t quite ready to throw in the towel. To be sure, the Russian stuff, the insurance mess and a loss of a number of commercial partners (car rentals, hotel discounts, etc.) made 2018 a pretty tough year. But nothing gets Gun-nut Nation angrier and more motivated than the idea that a bunch of tree-hugging, big-government types led by Nancy Pelosi want to take away their guns.  And for all the talk coming out of the liberal noise machine about how H.R. 8 is a ‘bi-partisan’ bill, so far there are 227 Democrats listed as co-sponsors, and a whole, big 5 (read: five) co-sponsors from the GOP. That’s some bi-partisan bill.

              Take a look at the 5 members of the GOP caucus who signed on to H.R. 8.  Four of them – King, Fitzpatrick, Smith and Mast come from districts where being against guns is an asset, not a liability. Peter King, the initial co-sponsor of the bill, is rated ‘F’ by the NRA.  Brian Fitzpatrick, who represents Bucks County, PA earned a ‘B’ rating and you have to work really hard to get less than an ‘A’ rating from the boys in Fairfax. Chris Smith from Joisey, got an ‘F.’  Get it?  By the way, all five of those turncoats signed on to H.R. 8 the very first day that it was introduced, which was January 8th. Nearly half of the Democratic co-sponsors committed to the measure after it had been floating around for at least two weeks. As for the remaining 191 GOP members? Zilch.

              The real reason why the NRA had trouble staying in the driver’s seat in 2017 and 2018 was not because they broke their piggy-bank by giving Trump so much dough in 2016. It was because when the Republicans control both Houses of Congress plus the Oval Office, it’s pretty hard to make the case that gun ‘rights’ are under assault. In a funny kind of way, the resurgence of the blue team last November is exactly what the gun-rights gang needed to get its mojo working again.

               By the same token, my friends in Gun-control Nation need to stop kidding themselves about the degree to which gun laws could ever be sold to gun owners as just a ‘reasonable’ response to the fact that, on average, eight different people somewhere in the United States pick up a gun every hour and shoot someone else.

              By any stretch of the imagination, this kind of behavior isn’t ‘reasonable,’ and sugar-coating it by calling for a ‘reasonable’ response will get you a bunch of blue votes, but won’t move the needle in places where lots of people own lots of guns. And in 2020, those votes will count too.

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