With Reciprocity/FixNICS Bill, NRA Makes Concession on ‘Background Checks’ It Can’t Walk Back

Rep. Goodlatte acted as the chief advocate for the “pro-gun” side. (C-SPAN screenshot)

I spent a good part of yesterday afternoon watching House proceedings on C-SPAN for the national concealed carry reciprocity/”Fix NICS” combination bill. It passed 231 to 198 and now goes on to the Senate.

It’s always interesting to watch the debates, if for no other reason than to see the hypocrisy and conflation that anti-gun Democrats indulge in. Standing out for me were the number of objections that had nothing to do with concealed carriers, except maybe as further evidence that the massacres being recounted conveniently occurred where no armed citizens were present. It was also interesting to watch Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee take a rare break from blaming law enforcement for the ills that plague her constituents so that she could feign concern for the welfare of cops. Not to be outdone, Rep. Val Demings also played on that theme, conveniently not mentioning how she had threatened to sue a website for publicizing she was censured for having her department-issued gun and ammunition stolen back when she was chief of the Orlando PD.

I think those who believe in the right to keep and bear arms can all agree that laws that forbid the carrying them are infringements. It’s also obvious that those infringements happened incrementally, and that realistically, rolling them back via the political and judicial remedies designed into the Constitution is going to be a process. What I’m not going to get into here, except for briefly mentioning them, are all the arguments pro and con about the approach of this bill. You can read those in plenty of places, starting here, which provides a pretty good summary of all sides.

I’d instead like to address something fewer people are talking about, and that’s the spirited defense for “FixNICS” being offered by the National Rifle Association, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, and the “pro-gun” politicians defending the need to have the bill, and for that matter, an undelegated NICS prior restraint power the government has created for itself (a whole ‘nother argument).

From John Cornyn’s press release:

“For years agencies and states haven’t complied with the law, failing to upload these critical records without consequence,” Sen. Cornyn said. “Just one record that’s not properly reported can lead to tragedy, as the country saw last week in Sutherland Springs, Texas.”

If that’s the case, what Cornyn and his NRA supporters are saying is that citizen disarmament works. That’s not only unsupported and refutable, it contradicts the NRA position that it does not – unless it’s “NRA-brand”TM “gun control”?

Further, with that admission, they have just thrown private sales under the bus and made the case for “universal background checks.” If they really believe “just one record” is all it takes, how can they turn around with a straight face and oppose “universal background checks”?

My belief is that will be a concession offered up eventually. My feeling, due to discussions I was privy to after Sandy Hook, was that was a hill they wanted to greenlight a surrender on, but couldn’t without risking a member revolt.

But that doesn’t mean they won’t keep trying – on “mental health” and on “No Fly/No Buy” when the time is right, but for the immediate future on “bump stocks.” There’s “study” language in “FixNICS” plus ATF is being pressured by AG Sessions to reevaluate its initial ruling, the very tack endorsed by NRA.

And as for the victory many gun owners are celebrating, you might want to temper the jubilation. It’s got to get through the Senate where GovTrack gives it a “35% chance of being enacted” and Democrat gun-grabber Chris Murphy says it will be “dead on arrival.” That means the horse trading isn‘t over.

It also means all that eventually gets signed into law could end up being an “improved” disqualifying reporting system. And, of course, things won’t change a bit as far as reducing criminal violence goes.

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David Codrea’s opinions are his own. See “Who speaks for Oath Keepers?”

Categories: 2nd_amendment, All

About Author

David Codrea

David Codrea blogs at The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance (WarOnGuns.com), and is a field editor/columnist for GUNS Magazine. Named “Journalist of the Year” in 2011 by the Second Amendment Foundation for his groundbreaking work on the “Fast and Furious” ATF “gunwalking” scandal, he is a frequent event speaker and guest on national radio and television programs.

Comments

  1. Woody W Woodward 7 December, 2017, 15:41

    John Cornyn no longer represents the people and the state of, Texas. He is a full fledged member of the DC Swamp People. He began showing his true colours when he refused to support Ted Cruz in Senator Cruz’s attempt to expose the RINOs in DC for what they really are. Cornyn is next in line for the GOP leadership position in the Senate and apparently will do anything he deems necessary to achieve that goal – – to include turning Judas goat on not only the people of Texas but the entire country. It appears that the NRA leadership is walking in his shoes as well.
    [W3]

    Reply this comment
    • whirlwinder 8 December, 2017, 10:38

      Woody, did you attend DTS?

      I agree that Cornyn is a RINO and swamp critter.

      Reply this comment
    • DowntoEarthThinking.com 8 December, 2017, 14:40

      He is just one of the many in DC.

      NRA is not what most people think it is, close but no cigar ! Many orgs get corrupted for various reasons and it is always about the supposed leadership.

      Reply this comment
    • Charlie BROWN 8 December, 2017, 15:41

      Woody, It is amazing how many swamp creatures.traitors and unneeded ABC soup organizations are truly not only needed, but a determent, to the Republic and Constitution. In other words we are surrounded by boogie men.No matter what you may think of the President, he has brought out the horror of what our country has become and how badly the house needs cleaning.

      Reply this comment
  2. Liberty4Ever 7 December, 2017, 15:52

    Government screws up by not reporting a violent mentally ill person and then they use that to leverage more gun control legislation at the expense of the individual right to keep and bear arms. As an added bonus for them, they also use this as an excuse to transfer more tax dollars to government agencies. When we’re paying for their mistakes, what’s their incentive to do better? After they “Fix NICS”, some loser will not be able to buy a gun at the gun store, so he’ll buy it from an individual, and they’ll use that as an excuse to “close the gun show loophole” via universal background checks. Then some criminal will steal a gun and use it for an evil purpose and they’ll use that as an excuse to ban some guns outright and “Mr. and Mrs. America, turn them in.” It just never ends with tyrants. We lose every attempt to compromise with them, and I am sick of the NRA assuming their right to compromise on my behalf.

    Reply this comment
    • SheepDog 8 December, 2017, 10:18

      The NRA doesn’t compromise on my behalf because I shucked their jive years ago.

      Reply this comment
      • Da Kraut 8 December, 2017, 11:16

        SheepDog ~ As an NRA Member, I echo your your Position. The NRA does Not have, Nor CANNOT Waive MY Constitutional Rights.

        Reply this comment
      • actor44 8 December, 2017, 12:14

        Yes ! Gun Owners of America . The fools eating the B.S. as usual .

        Reply this comment
  3. Jaymz 7 December, 2017, 16:40

    Not entirely true. In order for the Bill to make it to the President’s desk, the Senate must pass the identical Bill sent to them by the House. It will hit Trump’s desk as-is, or it will essentially go back to square one.

    Reply this comment
  4. P.O’d citizen 8 December, 2017, 07:08

    And still no word on correcting the Lautenberg unfinished rule, that makes a misdemeanor worse than a felony….

    Reply this comment
  5. emee 8 December, 2017, 10:49

    and still the 2nd Amendment is not enforced… we get offered a “federal bill HR38” then NICS is added… cutting to the chase HR38 is not the 2nd Amendment rights of the US Constitution… Maybe thats where the saying comes from when one heads to the “john”….”to take a constitution” It seems like our Blood bought Founding Docs might be useful only for toilet paper… DISGUSTING.

    Reply this comment
  6. Cavadus 8 December, 2017, 11:16

    This is exactly why I’ve never supported the NRA but *DO* support the Gun Owners of America. Please, NRA members, rescind your membership and contribute to an organization whose literal tagline is, “The only no-compromise gun lobby in Washington.”

    Help the Gun Owners of America. The NRA does not represent us any longer.

    Reply this comment
  7. Nick 8 December, 2017, 11:19

    I am concerned as I read through the comments, not only here, but on other forums where the tone is nothing more than noting what is wrong rather than what we should be doing.
    The Founders did not place the ‘Sword’ of ‘Sovereignty’ in the hands of the State. It is in our hands, and if we refuse to abide our duty to the rule of law, then the fall into tyranny will continue unabated.
    It might be slow, or it may move at warp speed when congress, and the various legislatures are sure that “We the People” will do nothing to stop the tide.
    As I see it, we are no different than those who infringe on our rights. We allow them to usurp the law for our own failure to understand the role we were given.
    Are we waiting for the time when blood will be spilled in unnecessary violent revolution?
    Edwin Vieira commented on “Retired Standing Army Brass Urge Congress to Neuter Militia with Infringements.” The question is whether or not there are others who recognize what is taking place, and see the noose tightening. It’s not only is our history, but in our law. When do we wake up and take the proper action?

    Reply this comment
  8. Rob 8 December, 2017, 11:22

    THE CONCEAL CARRY RECIPROCITY SHOULD HAVE JUST BEEN BASED ON THE 2ND AMENDMENT AND NOT A WARPED VERSION OF THE COMMERCE CLAUSE!

    The Conceal Carry Reciprocity Bill now in Congress virtually destroys a States control over our Gun Rights and nullifies Kansas Second Amendment Protection Act and Statues like it in other States. Soon it will have the Feds controlling all our Gun Rights in the States…

    WHY IN THE WORLD WOULD THEY DISTORT A CLAUSE OF THE CONSTITUTION WHEN IT ALREADY CONTAINS ALL THE AUTHORITY THEY NEED IN THE 2ND AMENDMENT! BECAUSE AGAIN IT IS ALL ABOUT THE FEDS CONTROLLING THE STATES AND THE PEOPLE!

    “The current draft bill conditions the right to carry a concealed handgun on whether the handgun was shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce. H.R. 38 does not directly regulate “Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States,” U.S. Const. art. I, § 8, cl. 3. Instead, it assumes that a handgun’s past movement in cross-border commerce subjects the handgun to federal regulation forever after.

    This is a broad and unjustified assertion of federal power. David Engdahl of Seattle University has called this the “‘herpes’ theory” of interstate commerce, whereby “some lingering federal power infects whatever has passed through the federal dominion.” D. Engdahl, The Necessary and Proper Clause as an Intrinsic Restraint on Federal Lawmaking Power, 22 Harv. J.L. & Pub. Pol’y 107, 120 (1998). As Chief Justice Roberts wrote of the health insurance mandate, Congress has “power to regulate class[es] of activities, not classes of individuals, apart from any activity in which they are engaged.” NFIB v. Sebelius, 132 S. Ct. 2566, 2590 (2012) (alteration in original) (citations and internal quotation marks omitted). Those who lawfully carry concealed handguns within the body of a state are not engaging in commerce across state lines, and Congress should not treat them as if they were.

    By stretching the limits of the Commerce Clause, the current draft unnecessarily limits the bill’s support among constitutional conservatives. (We believe that Rep. Amash, among others, has criticized prior versions of the bill on these grounds.) If Congress can confer a right to carry firearms that once crossed state lines, regardless of state law, then a future Congress could restrict the carrying of firearms that once crossed state lines, regardless of state law. Indeed, the federal government could even purport to regulate how Americans brush their teeth, so long as their toothbrushes had previously been shipped across state lines. (Or just the bristles, or the crude oil that was made into plastic, or . . . . ) In light of precedent, courts are unlikely to strike down every statute that claims this power. But that is no reason for Congress to enact more.”

    Reply this comment
  9. Rick Anderson, Tucson 8 December, 2017, 12:15

    Nobody should be concerned about ANY anti-gun law or policy enacted by any federal/state/county/city in this country. ALL of these laws are null and void by the 2nd Amendment to our Constitution. We do not need to fight them or contribute our hard earned money to any group so they can pay themselves huge salaries and great benefits (I have belonged to the NRA for years, but will let my current membership expire). All We the People need to do is follow my lead and example of ignoring all laws that violate the 2nd Amendment. I am fully prepared to use all my firearms in the manner deemed necessary by our founding fathers. End of discussion.

    Reply this comment
  10. greg k 8 December, 2017, 17:40

    Gun Owners of America is running a donation match right now. Maybe they do that all the time, but I gave $25 that is, in my opinion, well spent!!

    Reply this comment
  11. Reader 8 December, 2017, 17:49

    I believe that in its haste to mock the effectiveness of background checks, the NRA shot all gun owners in the foot other than its members only.
    I am heartily opposed to any serialization or registration by any governmental agency.
    I am not opposed to background checks to ensure persons making inquiry in anticipation of buying a firearm are legally competent to do so.
    I do disagree that any further information is necessary to be exchanged, the firearm’s make, model, serial number, or even whether it was purchased or not.
    That is information that is not necessary to be in possession by any government agency!
    For merchantability requirements or warranty a manufacturer would reasonably be in possession as would an authorized representative or dealer in firearms. But that would be only only for their needs of identification as best accommodates them.
    Likewise, a holder of a firearm would wish to have a means of notifying authorities in case of theft or other loss as necessary.
    Their is no legitimate government need to “track” all firearms in possession by persons competent to be in possession.

    Reply this comment
    • Cal 9 December, 2017, 05:14

      Colin Greenwood, in the study “Firearms Control”, 1972: “No matter how one approaches the figures, one is forced to the rather startling conclusion that the use of firearms in crime was very much less when there were no controls of any sort and when anyone, convicted criminal or lunatic, could buy any type of firearm without restriction. Half a century of strict controls on pistols has ended, perversely, with a far greater use of this weapon in crime than ever before.”

      Reply this comment
      • Reader 10 December, 2017, 22:30

        Back in the good oil’ days when law enforcement was a local sheriff the, objects of his intentions were those of accident, or public drunkedness, or disputes between neighbors and perhaps a pan handler or two, we enjoyed a period of relative peace in our communities.
        Then came the gangsters and racketeers. Often they chose overwhelming force to ensure they would not face the embarrassment of confrontation and loss of control from angry citizens, law enforcement, or adversaries of their own kind.
        Arising out of this came the G-Men and subsequently firearms controls. Limitations were established as to the type of firearms one may have in possession, and modifications that may be made if any. It was a knee jerk reaction to the bad guys and it remains with us today.
        I am frankly against any firearms controls.
        There is a Biblical answer to what we routinely are confronted with today but that counsel has been rejected and replaced by burdening our citizens with unreasonable controls and restrictions.
        There should be no reciprocity legislation because we should already be in possession of the freedom to carry a firearm concealed or otherwise wherever our two feet carry us. Other than trespass, there is no reason whatsoever that a person willfully deprive himself of the right to have a firearm in his possession. You don’t want me in your restaurant with a firearm, I will oblige you and go elsewhere. If I elect to carry one concealed into your restaurant, I will do that irrespective of your personal feelings or warnings of trespass. Should I be discovered to be in violation of trespass then I would expect to be asked to leave, otherwise I will just finish my steak and eggs, pay my bill and go, with no one the wiser.
        I cannot begin to tell you how many persons have stood beside me while I was armed, with none the wiser.
        Every church service I have attended for some years now, has me sitting there among fellow worshippers who have had absolutely no knowledge I am armed and it is just as well.
        It hasn’t changed since before the time of Christ as the Lord Himself made clear when he told the disciples to buy swords. Upon the disciples telling Him they had two in their possession, He said that was enough, ” for the scripture saith, He was reckoned among the transgressors.” To be in possession of a sword back then automatically brought you under suspicion, even as firearms are thought “bad” as well the persons carrying them are today.

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  12. JPB 11 December, 2017, 03:52

    Article 4, section 1 ….. why does this not apply to carry concealed reciprocity???

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