Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN Legal & Legislation

Senate Judiciary Committee Holds Hearing on Schumer Registration and Rights Denial Bill

Friday, November 18, 2011

On Tuesday November 16, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism held a hearing on Sen. Charles Schumer’s (D-N.Y.) S. 436.  Dubbed by anti-gunners the “Fix Gun Checks Act,” rather than “fix” the current National Instant Criminal Background Check System, the legislation would eliminate private sales and gun shows as we know them and expand the range of persons prohibited from owning firearms.

For much of the hearing, Sen. Schumer and his witnesses, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Chief Advisor for Policy and Strategic Planning John Feinblatt, were reluctant to touch upon the drastic changes to federal gun laws contained in the bill. Instead, they pretended that the bill would ensure that states and federal agencies provide more accurate information to the NICS database.

Shredding through this misrepresentation of the bill was Second Amendment scholar Prof. David Kopel of the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.

Kopel first noted that S. 436 would require a background check for all firearm transfers. However, the overly broad wording of the bill would not only eliminate private sales and much of the lawful activity at gun shows, but as Kopel explained, could also extend the transfer requirement to situations such as letting a friend use your firearm at a range, sharing a firearm for self-defense or conducting a safety class in which students handle a firearm.

More insidious, a requirement for background checks for all firearm transfers would result in a system of gun registration, as the federal government would have access to information on all firearm sales. In his written testimony, Kopel noted that Congress has repeatedly rejected firearm registration and pointed out that federal law bars “any system of registration of firearms, firearms owners, or firearms transactions or dispositions.”

Kopel also testified that the bill has several provisions which violate the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee that no person is to “be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” The bill would require that firearm purchasers be denied for “an arrest for the use or possession of a controlled substance within the past five years.” Kopel points out that a mere arrest is not sufficient to bar someone of a constitutionally protected right, explaining that under the bill, a person who was arrested erroneously or arrested and subsequently found not guilty by a jury of his peers would still be barred from possessing a firearm.

Kopel further pointed out a provision of the bill that would ban gun possession by a person who has been ordered by a “lawful authority” to receive counseling. This could include a person whose employer or school administrator orders him to receive counseling as a condition of further employment or enrollment, regardless of the outcome of such counseling. An example, Kopel explained, could be a police officer ordered to receive counseling after using a firearm in the line of duty.

Kopel’s defense of the Fifth Amendment led to a spirited exchange with Sen. Schumer as to the contents of his own bill. Kopel repeatedly corrected the Senator as to the power to strip gun rights the bill would grant to school administrators and other “lawful authorities,” explaining to Sen. Schumer the exact page and line number where the provision could be found. After several denials by Sen. Schumer that the provision would grant this power, Kopel suggested that the senator redraft the text of the bill if it did not reflect his intent. 

As a practical matter, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) questioned witness David Cuthbertson of the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division on the completeness of felony conviction records being provided to the NICS database.  The exchange revealed that only 50 percent of arrest dispositions end up in the federal database. Sen. Sessions went on to infer that it should be of a higher priority that accurate data on convicted felons be available to NICS, explaining that there are already gun laws on the books that should be effectively enforced before the Congress contemplates additional restrictions on a constitutional right. 

Appropriately, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) spoke on a bill that actually would fix the current system of gun checks-S. 1707, the “Veteran’s Second Amendment Protection Act.”  The legislation, as Sen. Grassley noted, would correct the injustice where thousands of veterans, who had been entrusted by the federal government with firearms to defend the United States, have been barred from exercising their Second Amendment rights for simply being assigned a fiduciary to manage their finances. The House has already passed such legislation as an amendment to H.R. 2349 and Grassley expressed his hope that the issue will soon be taken up in the Senate.

The NRA-ILA will continue to monitor developments with S. 436 and help make sure this legislation never becomes law.

To watch the video of the hearing, please go to:  http://www.judiciary.senate.gov/hearings/hearing.cfm?id=9b6937d5e931a0b792d258d9b33d0484

Click Here to read more on S. 436.

TRENDING NOW
The Washington Post Gives Gun Control Group and U.S. Senator Three Pinocchios on Suppressors

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, March 24, 2017

The Washington Post Gives Gun Control Group and U.S. Senator Three Pinocchios on Suppressors

Last week, we wrote about Americans for Responsible Solutions’ irresponsible misinformation about The Hearing Protection Act on Twitter.  Apparently, we weren’t the only ones who took notice of ARS’s complete disregard for the facts on ...

Arkansas Action Needed: Anti-Gun Bill Which Undermines Concealed Carry Headed to House

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Arkansas Action Needed: Anti-Gun Bill Which Undermines Concealed Carry Headed to House

Today, the Arkansas Senate passed Senate Bill 724, an anti-gun bill which undermines some of the key advancements made with the passage and enactment of House Bill 1249.  SB 724 is now headed to the ...

Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee Embraces Heller and Originalism During Senate Hearings

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, March 24, 2017

Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee Embraces Heller and Originalism During Senate Hearings

Judge Neil M. Gorsuch, President Trump’s pick to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme court, asserted during his confirmation hearings this week that Scalia’s landmark Second Amendment opinion in District of ...

Oklahoma: Multiple Pro-Gun Bills Passed Out of the House

Friday, March 24, 2017

Oklahoma: Multiple Pro-Gun Bills Passed Out of the House

This week, the Oklahoma House of Representatives passed multiple pro-gun bills, including House Bill 1721, House Bill 2323, and House Bill 2322. 

Maryland: House Passes Pro-Carry Legislation

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Maryland: House Passes Pro-Carry Legislation

Yesterday, the Maryland House of Delegates passed House Bill 1036 by a 97-41 vote.

Illinois: Gun Seizure Bill Could be Heard by House at Any Time

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Illinois: Gun Seizure Bill Could be Heard by House at Any Time

The Illinois House of Representatives could consider House Bill 2354 at any time.

Continuing to Fight in California

Friday, March 24, 2017

Continuing to Fight in California

We are excited to inform you of our new California specific webpage – Stand and Fight California.   On this page you will find State Legislation, Legal Updates, and How to Get Involved, among other California ...

Utah: Governor Signs Self-Defense Legislation into Law

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Utah: Governor Signs Self-Defense Legislation into Law

Tonight, Governor Gary Herbert signed House Bill 198 into law.

More Firearms, More Firearms Owners, Fewer Fatal Accidents

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, March 24, 2017

More Firearms, More Firearms Owners, Fewer Fatal Accidents

The National Safety Council released the 2017 edition of its annual Injury Facts report this week, and it contains welcome news about firearm safety. 

Texas: Two Important Handgun Carry Bills to be Considered in Senate and House Next Week

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Texas: Two Important Handgun Carry Bills to be Considered in Senate and House Next Week

On Monday, March 27, the Texas Senate will convene after 2:00pm and is expected to take up and consider Senate Bill 16, NRA-backed legislation sponsored by State Sen. Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville) and Joan Huffman (R-Houston).

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -
NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.