While many Americans are complaining that Congress is still getting paid while not working during the COVID-19 pandemic, a bold measure to further restrict the rights of law-abiding gun owners once again proves what many of us have known all along—Americans are always safer when Congress is not in session.
H.R. 5717, introduced by Rep. Hank Johnson, D-GA., and cosponsored by 18 other Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives, is basically a wish list of nearly every anti-gun scheme ever conceived by gun-ban advocates intent on disarming law-abiding Americans. And its consideration during a time when most Americans are under shelter-in-place orders makes it even more egregious.
“The Gun Violence Prevention and Community Safety Act will save lives and make our country safer—without infringing on any law-abiding individual’s right to own firearms,” Johnson said in a news release. “This comprehensive bill is a compilation of the best ideas to create a workable set of laws that will strengthen life-saving background checks, protect communities with bolstered enforcement, improve mental health services and fuel research to make guns safer.”
In fact, that might be the biggest lie you hear all day, unless you tune in to CNN for a couple of hours. A quick look at just the first-page synopsis of the legislation, misleadingly called the “Gun Violence Prevention and Community Safety Act of 2020,” tells firearms owners everything they need to know about the proposal. Among other things, provisions in the bill call for government licensing for gun and ammunition purchasers, raising the minimum age to purchase firearms or ammo to 21, establishing so-called “universal” background checks for all gun transfers, and a “red-flag” law that allows the government to infringe on a citizen’s right to bear arms without cause or due process of law.
As the old infomercial saying goes, “But wait, there’s more!” The measure also restricts manufacture and sale of so-called “ghost guns,” puts further onerous restrictions on firearm dealers, rolls back the law prohibiting lawful gun manufacturers from being sued for criminal use of their firearms, places firearm safety features under the Consumer Product Safety Commission and seeks to roll back the provision that forbids the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from advocating or promoting gun control. Throw in a semi-auto ban, bans on normal-capacity magazines that come with many guns, and restrictions on purchasing more than one firearm in a 30-day period, and you begin to get an idea of how all-encompassing Johnson’s bill really is.
Most people interested in the gun debate already know the dangers of every one of these proposals, so dissecting each one is unnecessary. Suffice it to say that each would chip away a bit more at the Second Amendment, which has already been infringed to a disastrous degree.
Having restrictions in place like those proposed by Rep. Johnson would be especially disastrous during emergency situations like we are currently experiencing. Consider all those measures heaped on top of gun sales already being restricted by government in many areas, prisoners being released prematurely and law enforcement numbers dwindling because of officers contracting or being exposed to COVID-19, and you can easily see what a dangerous situation would exist.
In the end, since Congress seldom rolls back any of the laws currently infringing on the Second Amendment-protected rights of Americans, the more they stay home, the better.
A freelance writer and editor, Mark Chesnut is the owner/editorial director at Red Setter Communications LLC. An avid hunter, shooter and political observer, he has been covering Second Amendment issues and politics on a near-daily basis for the past 20 years.