On Thursday, the U.S Senate passed a sweeping package of gun control measures. The text of the legislation was only unveiled Tuesday evening. And while much of the 80-page bill did indeed seek to address underlying issues with our nation's mental health system and funding for improved school security, the legislation contains a sweeping set of gun control measures. It is because of these gun control measures that NRA is opposing the package.
The package includes three main gun control provisions:
Unconstitutional Red Flag Laws
The gun control package would allow states to use federal taxpayer dollars to implement state-level gun confiscation orders, i.e. “red flag” laws. The legislation provides insufficient safeguards to prevent states with the lowest standards of procedure from qualifying for the funding, including those that currently have “red flag” laws allowing ex parte confiscation orders. Under such orders, lawfully-owned firearms could be seized before the accused had so much as an opportunity to contest the accusations against them. (Additional background on “red flag” laws can be found here and here).
Discretionary Waiting Periods for Law-Abiding Adults
The legislation would also create unnecessary, ineffective and arbitrary waiting periods for certain law-abiding adults who are not prohibited from purchasing firearms. The text would give anti-gun Attorney General Merrick Garland the discretion to delay firearm sales for mere “cause,” in order to do a secondary background check on juvenile records. Nothing in the legislation prevents DOJ and FBI from finding “cause” to delay all such purchases, with the practical effect of becoming a waiting period, with only the possibility, not a guarantee, the nonprohibited purchaser will be able to receive the gun.
NICS Expansion for Misdemeanors
Additionally, the gun control package would significantly increase the number of Americans who are federally barred from possessing firearms by expanding prohibitions for non-domestic, non-violent misdemeanor convictions. Virtually no other constitutional right is taken away for misdemeanor convictions and this legislation would treat the Second Amendment as a second-class right. (Additional background here).
The bill is now being sent to the U.S. House of Representatives, where it is expected to be voted on tomorrow.