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
Your Members of Congress Need to Hear from You on the Hearing Protection Act of 2017

News  

Friday, January 13, 2017

Your Members of Congress Need to Hear from You on the Hearing Protection Act of 2017

On Monday, Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) – joined by co-sponsors Sens. Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Rand Paul (R-KY) – introduced S. 59, the Hearing Protection Act of 2017 (HPA). Similar legislation was introduced in the ...

Alert: WA State Proposes Draconian Gun Ban Bills

News  

Friday, January 13, 2017

Alert: WA State Proposes Draconian Gun Ban Bills

Inspired, perhaps, by Oscar Wilde (“Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess”), Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson has announced two new sweeping gun control bills, with Sen. David Frockt (D-Seattle) and Rep. ...

New Hampshire: Constitutional/Permitless Carry Bill Passes Senate!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

New Hampshire: Constitutional/Permitless Carry Bill Passes Senate!

Today, Senate Bill 12, legislation eliminating the requirement to obtain a permit in order to lawfully carry, passed the Senate without amendment, by a 13-10 vote.  SB 12 will now go to the House of ...

National Concealed Carry Reciprocity Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them

News  

Friday, January 13, 2017

National Concealed Carry Reciprocity Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them

On January 3rd, Congressman Richard Hudson (R-N.C.8th) introduced H.R. 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, which simply allows lawful firearm carriers from any state to carry a concealed firearm in any other state. The bill ...

Virginia: Senate Committee to Hear Numerous Gun Bills Tomorrow

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Virginia: Senate Committee to Hear Numerous Gun Bills Tomorrow

Tomorrow, January 18, the Senate Courts of Justice is expected to hear and possibly vote on several firearm-related bills.

Kansas: Bill Introduced Attempting to Repeal Pro-Self-Defense Law

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Kansas: Bill Introduced Attempting to Repeal Pro-Self-Defense Law

In 2013, the Kansas Legislature passed the Public Building Security Act, pro-gun legislation that amended the Personal and Family Protection Act. 

Supreme Court Asked to Review California’s Restrictive Carry Regime

News  

Friday, January 13, 2017

Supreme Court Asked to Review California’s Restrictive Carry Regime

On Thursday, the NRA-supported case Peruta v. California took an important step towards restoring the right to bear arms in California.  The plaintiffs in the case, California gun owners and the California Rifle and Pistol ...

NRA Statement on Nomination of Ryan Zinke to Secretary of the Interior

News  

Friday, December 16, 2016

NRA Statement on Nomination of Ryan Zinke to Secretary of the Interior

Chris W. Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action, issued the following statement on the nomination of Congressman Ryan Zinke to be the Secretary of the Interior

Indiana: Legislative Session Begins with Numerous Pro-Gun Bills Filed

Friday, January 13, 2017

Indiana: Legislative Session Begins with Numerous Pro-Gun Bills Filed

With the 2017 Indiana legislative session underway, we are happy to report that a number of pro-gun bills have been filed.

Oregon: State Employees Left Defenseless by New “No Firearms” Policy

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Oregon: State Employees Left Defenseless by New “No Firearms” Policy

Earlier this month, Oregon Governor Kate Brown’s Department of Administrative Services released a memorandum announcing a new policy prohibiting state employees from possessing a personal firearm in the workplace, even if they have a concealed handgun license.  This policy strips ...

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.