JONESBOROUGH SUN.COM – A sweeping gun control bill stoking red-state resistance may prove more of a blessing than a curse for Second Amendment supporters.
Since Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, introduced the Sabika Sheikh Firearm Licensing and Registration Act on Jan. 4, news reports have triggered a swift backlash. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott cited the legislation in a recent speech, calling for the Lone Star State to declare itself a “Second Amendment sanctuary state,” and a similar measure has already been drafted in Alabama.
Lee’s bill would require gun owners to buy liability insurance to the tune of $800 a year; institute a federal firearms registry with stiff criminal penalties for noncompliance; ban magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition; and require training, licensure and a psychological exam in order to own many common types of semiautomatic rifles.
This Texas lawmaker’s wish list is all hat and no cattle. More than a month after filing the legislation as H.R. 127, Lee hadn’t secured a single co-sponsor. GovTrack’s policy analytics partner Skopos Labs gives the bill a scant 3 percent chance of becoming law.
Despite its lack of traction, the Library of Congress website ranked H.R. 127 its most-viewed bill for the last two weeks. More Americans looked up the proposed gun restrictions than read the House resolution to impeach former President Donald Trump in the days before his Senate trial.
The gun lobby scarcely made a peep when Trump’s Department of Justice enacted a rule banning bump stocks in December 2018, suggesting careful, incremental changes could succeed.
But likely alternatives to Lee’s bill are still too extreme.
Caricatured as an affable moderate, President Joe Biden is decidedly left of center on gun laws. A plan on the Biden-Harris campaign website calls for a stricter version of the 1994 assault weapons ban, a limit on magazine capacity, a gun buyback program and an expansion of so-called “red flag” laws that undermine due process.
The president’s sales pitch drips with hysterical language, referring to consumer-grade semiautomatic rifles as “weapons of war.”
Guns like the AR-15 bear a cosmetic resemblance to fully automatic military rifles, but that’s where the similarity ends, Campbell University law professor E. Gregory Wallace explains in a Tennessee Law Review article published last year. “The AR-15’s rate of fire is virtually identical to non-banned semiautomatic handguns, rifles, and shotguns,” Wallace wrote. “Its accuracy is better than some firearms, but worse than others.” [full article]