by Ted O’Neil
Democratic congresswomen from New York and Texas each introduced several pieces of legislation that they say are aimed at curbing gun violence.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney, who represents New York’s 12th Congressional District, introduced a package of five bills, three of which she also tried to get passed two years ago, shortly before the third anniversary of the shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida where 17 people were killed and another 17 injured by a former student.
“There is no honor in failing to take action on gun safety,” Maloney said in a news release. “There is no honor in buckling to the will of the NRA and refusing to act to save lives.”
Maloney said her legislation would, among other things, make it a felony to give false information when purchasing a weapon and promote “smart-gun technology” that would only allow authorized gun owners to fire a gun.
Maloney also wants to extend the time the FBI must maintain records in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, require gun owners to purchase liability insurance and close what gun-control advocates refer to as the “gun show loophole” through what they call universal background checks.
“Such checks would never be ‘universal’ since – surprise – criminals are notorious for not obeying laws,” the NRA wrote Tuesday on its America’s 1st Freedom blog. “Those who possess firearms could not even be compelled to register them, as such a scheme would be deemed an unconstitutional infringement against their right not to self-incriminate. The result is a drastic infringement on the rights of the law abiding, while criminals do what they do.”
The District of Columbia and 22 states currently have laws requiring background checks for some or all private gun sales, including those taking place at gun shows. In some states, these sales must be done through a federally licensed dealer, which includes a background check. In other states, buyers must first obtain a license from the state, which also includes a background check.
Illinois, for example, requires gun purchasers to register through State Police to obtain a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card. Illinois State Police, however, have been unable to meet required deadlines for issuing FOID cards and Concealed Carry Licenses, leading to monthslong backlogs for more than 200,000 applicants. Lawsuits are pending in federal courts over the backlogs.
The FBI conducted more than 39.6 million background checks on gun buyers in 2020, a record high, as President Joe Biden campaigned on gun control and violent protests broke out across the country.
Philip Van Cleave, president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, told The Hill that such legislation will increase gun sales.
“If suddenly they said you’re not going to be able to buy any more cereal, everyone would run out and clean out all of the cereal out of the stores,” he said. “Same thing with guns. Every time they threaten to take them away, people decide it’s time to buy one.”
Jackson Lee, of Texas’ 18th Congressional District, is sponsoring bills that would require a license to possess firearms or ammunition and the license could only be obtained by a person 21 or older who has gone through a psychological evaluation.
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Ted O’Neil is a contributor to The Center Square.