The Republicans are floating a bill to make gun trafficking more illegal. This is something that ATF and federal prosecutors have crowed about for years, namely that there’s no specific federal trafficking statute, even though all the components that go into trafficking a firearm are already illegal.
During a press event, the bill’s sponsors — Reps. Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.), Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), Scott Rigell (R-Va.) and Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) — said their legislation would create a single section of federal code to give law enforcement the ability to prosecute gun traffickers.
The thing to watch for is their definition of “gun trafficker,” because if anything like this is poorly drafted, there is the potential for the otherwise law-abiding to get caught up in it. I doubt this is an attempt at screwing us, but is rather an attempt by GOP lawmakers in tough districts (like Meehan) to say they did “something,” without that “something” being things like banning private transfers, registration, magazine or gun bans.
In our communications with lawmakers, I think it should be stressing “No new gun control!” as simply and directly as possible. Something may still get through, given the resources we’ve had lining up against us, but the stronger message we send, the more likely it is we’ll take a slap rather than a punch in the gut. If all the other side gets out of this is a bill making gun trafficking more illegal, they’ll have a tough time spinning that as a real win. Also, see this about the Senate effort:
Barring an unexpected turn of legislative affairs, a ban on military-style semi-automatic assault weapons will not make it into law, top Hill aides and gun policy advocates say [...] The other three — a universal background check for firearms sales, a federal trafficking law, and a ban on high-capacity magazines — are likely to be part of a final bill, Democratic aides say, though there is growing concern about whether a ban on high-capacity magazines can make it into law.
I am sincerely hoping that the plan is for the GOP to float this trafficking measure as their “See, we did something,” bill and for the Senate to float their bill, and say “See, we did too,” and for each respective body to hew and haw, and for neither body to take up the bill of the other. But that’s a lot of speculation and wishful thinking on my part, and I absolutely would not count on it. Keep calling, especially your Senators. The more people they hear from, the less likely it’ll be that anything horrid comes out of the sausage grinder.
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