“To end the epidemic of gun violence and build safer communities by strengthening Federal firearms laws and supporting gun violence research, intervention, and prevention initiatives,” the purpose statement to H.R.5717, the “Gun Violence Prevention and Community Safety Act of 2020,” reads. Of course, it will do no such thing and not even come close, but that’s never stopped Democrats from pushing for citizen disarmament edicts before. And this one is a doozy.
The bill’s sponsor is Georgia Rep. Hank Johnson, the same politician who called Operation Fast and Furious “another manufactured controversy by the Second Amendment, NRA Republican Tea Party movement.” During a December 2011 House Judiciary Committee hearing with then-Attorney General Eric Holder testifying, Johnson further tried to divert blame and misdirect attention by claiming, “There is a hole in our gun control laws that is so large that you could drive or fly a space shuttle through it. And it is called the gun show loophole.”
To digress for a moment, that exchange contains another incident of Holder committing perjury via a “lie of omission,” when Johnson asked “How many automatic assault rifles walked away during Fast and Furious?” Rather than correcting him and saying they were semi-automatic, not NFA firearms, Holder replied “I think the number that has generally been reported is about 2,000.”
That, of course, is an intentional bit of deception introduced by Josh Sugarmann of the Violence Policy Center back in 1988, when he noted “The weapons' menacing looks, coupled with the public's confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons—anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun—can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons.”
Johnson is also justifiably ridiculed for a contention he made while questioning Admiral Robert Willard, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, about a proposal to move 8,000 Marines from Okinawa to Guam during a March 2010 House Armed Services Committee meeting.
“My fear is that the whole island will become so overly-populated that it will tip over and capsize,” Johnson asserted. Only after people started making fun of him did Johnson and his apologists try to save face by claiming he was “joking.” In any case, no one laughed at the time, at least with him.
Johnson’s not joking about H.R.5717, and neither are the 18 Democrat co-sponsors, even though this travesty of a bill is as ridiculous as it is offensive and divisive. Considering the “security of a free State” core purpose the Founders assigned to the Second Amendment, I’d also call anything eviscerating that to the benefit of foreign and domestic enemies treasonous.
What’s so bad about the bill? First off, now that gun owners know about it, there is no excuse any have for not reading it. Do an internet search on H.R.5717 and read the text. While you’re at it, note who Johnson’s partners in subversion are, and where the bill currently resides in the legislative process (At this writing, it’s listed as “Referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security”).
If you don’t want to be bothered with the details and just want the CliffsNotes version, Gun Owners of America gives us a pretty good overview, including what caving on any of the points will mean. Among the infringements:
Due process-denying “red flag laws” and attendant forceful police raids those will cause.
“Universal background checks,” which will enable those raids and be used to create a centralized register if the Democrats succeed in repealing the U.S. Code prohibition against maintaining, recording and transferring records of firearms, owners, transactions and dispositions.
Licensing, which will accomplish all that and create “felons” out of Americans who refuse to surrender their birthright to those who have no Constitutional and moral authority to demand it.
A “wish list…including a semi-auto ban, a ban on standard capacity magazines and suppressors, a one-gun-a-month limitation, and much, much more.”
GOA is right about it being a “wish list.” Where it’s instructive is the bill shows the next incremental steps the gun-grabbers want to plot out on their push to total disarmament and an unchallengeable monopoly of violence. That's why it also mandates a 30% tax on firearms and a 50% tax on ammunition (with a separate license required for that), a burden it makes clear will not apply to government.
All this shows why it is imperative to ignore false accusations that “the gun lobby” is never “willing to compromise,” no matter how seemingly small the transgression.
“Compromise” is NFA ’34, GCA ’68, FOPA ’86. The Brady Act, the Clinton “Assault Weapon” ban, the Trumpstock ban, all the state and municipal-level infringements and more, and then noting no one is yet in open rebellion. That’s curious, considering how Second Amendment advocates are continuously smeared as violent extremists and terrorists by oath-breaking politicians and enforcers, Astroturf gun-grab groups and their lying media cheerleaders.
What we should have learned by now that any ground given up will be used by the enemy (and that’s what they are) to launch its next incursion. Any gutless Republican ceding that to show how “reasonable” he is, is at best a fool. Next election cycle, Democrats patting him on the back now will be back to painting him as an uncompromising rightwing extremist. Knowing that, why not use bully pulpit of office to educate constituents on why the Second Amendment was included in the Bill of Rights and how the swindlers are fast-talking them out of their birthrights?
Besides, the very presumption that a compromise will stop the push for more demands is absurd and belied by all experience. It makes as much sense as throwing a scrap of flesh to a circling pack of jackals and expecting they’ll be satisfied and go away, as opposed to being emboldened, smelling fear and moving in closer.
The thing is, you wouldn’t know it if you hear the way the neocons are arguing that prior restraints are fine as long as we “compromise” on “due process.” It recalls nothing so much as a line from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland:
“‘No, no!’ said the Queen. ‘Sentence first — verdict afterwards.’”
GOA also reminds us of one other thing to temper the urgency conveyed by some warning us against “Gunpocalypse!” (I prefer “Disarmageddon.”)
“[Y]ou don’t need to worry about H.R. 5717 — yet,” they admit. That comports with information about the bill posted at Govtrack.us, an indispensable legislative tracking site that all serious political activists should bookmark and consult. Their prognosis gives it “a 23% chance of being enacted.”
That’s something I’ve noticed about other bills with significantly smaller chances of passing but are still hysterically pushed by groups whose purpose is all too often to ask for money. Be aware of such legislative proposals, certainly, but focus limited resources and time on more immediate threats that will hurt us badly if we don’t stop them.
Right now, the more immediate threat is to stop the Democrats from gaining the majorities needed to pass abominations like H.R. 5717. Bafflingly, plenty of Republicans and President Trump himself sure seem to be doing a lot to douse the fire in the bellies of core supporters who swept him to victory in 2016. That, I don’t have an answer for.
It’s interesting that the president threw us a bone recently, by having DHS's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency update its “critical” designations guidance to include “Workers supporting the operation of firearm or ammunition product manufacturers, retailers, importers, distributors, and shooting ranges.” What everyone seems to be missing in all the whoop-de-do and high-fiving is the “Yuge” caveat that comes with it:
“This list is advisory in nature. It is not, nor should it be considered, a federal directive or standard.”
It’s not like Fed enforcers are going to be dispatched to frog-march Gavin Newsom to detention the way they would if he were abusing his office to deny other civil rights. As much as I’d pay to see that.
Of course, no one wants Biden, or whomever the Democrats replace him with after they decide the dolt presents too many liabilities to either win or be reliably managed. That said, past contradictory actions on the Second Amendment make it fair to ask: If Donald Trump wins in November and no longer needs us, what won’t he find “negotiable”? Especially after another high-profile massacre in a “gun-free zone” that we all know is a matter of “when,” not “if,” as our overstressed society gets even crazier under pressures that only seem to be increasing.
About David Codrea:
David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating / defending the RKBA and a long-time gun owner rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament. In addition to being a regular featured contributor for Firearms Newsand AmmoLand Shooting Sports News, he blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” and posts onTwitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.