Presidential hopeful Rep. Eric Swalwell introduced his plan for more federal gun control. Repeating cookie-cutter promises of elections' past, Swalwell hopes to ratify yet another federal assault weapons ban, even though a resounding majority of Americans don't want one. Calls by Presidential candidates for assault weapons bans come and go every election cycle - never mind the original ban was ineffective.
Swalwell's proposals aren't as extreme as Sen. Cory Booker's proposal (which calls for imprisoning gun owners who refuse confiscation), but his plan directly targets gun manufacturers. Swalwell says the Protection for Lawful Commerce in Guns Act, which protects gun makers from civil liability, should be repealed. He also says that gun companies should be forced to stop production of "assault-style" rifles.
What's more, Swalwall's plan includes provisions for creating a national firearms registry, a policy many pro-gun groups like the NRA have long opposed. Ironically, the Congressman held a news conference near the NRA headquarters and reiterated the provisions of his plan, stating, "There's nothing that we propose here today that is at odds with what [the NRA] claims they stand for." But Swalwall's paradoxical anti-gun campaign started months ago with other strange statements: "I think the greatest threat to the Second Amendment is doing nothing," he said on CNN back in April. What?
Swalwall says his campaign attempts to do what every other candidate has promised yet failed to deliver: To curb mass shootings and urban gun violence. Swalwell also hopes to implement a restriction on how much ammunition an individual can buy at one time. More logically, Swalwell's plan does include provisions for funding public schools with protections against physical threats and potential shooters.
Considering bans are useless and school resource officers and school-assigned police are the most effective measure against shootings, we wish Mr. Swalwell would divert all of his efforts to implementing such funding instead.
Congress Unveils Two Big Gun Bills
Congress isn't waiting for 2020 to ramp up the gun debate in the House. Two massive gun bills were introduced to Congress Thursday. One calls for draconian screening requirements of potential gun buyers, and the other, a ban on the sharing and downloading of digital files used to 3D-print firearms. The former is a tired, reiterated piece of legislation, but the latter represents potentially dangerous implications for not only the Second Amendment, but the First.
The first bill, the Handgun Purchaser Licensing Act, would require any handgun buyer to first obtain a license before purchasing a handgun. Obtaining such a license would require an in-depth background check, a criminal history check, and a five-year renewal period. But the National Instant Criminal Background Check (NIC) System performs these inquiries and background checks when anyone buys a gun already. That makes this legislation look like little more than a money-grab disguised as an excuse to pass more gun control.
The second bill, the 3D Printed Gun Safety Act, would outlaw the publication of any digital instructions, code, or plans for manufacturing a gun with a 3D printer. The plans for building a 3D-printed gun aren't considered a firearm, so they can't be regulated by the Gun Control Act or the ATF. Importantly (and worryingly), this Gun Safety Act instead tries to ban a generic category of "instructions", written words and characters that are in no way a firearm, to enact real gun control. If passed, this could set a potentially dangerous precedent for the First Amendment.
Regardless, it's likely neither bill will leave the House in the near future. Facing a Republican-controlled Senate, neither piece of legislation has much hope of passing. But after 2020, a potentially Democratic administration and new Senate could pave the way for sweeping, ineffective, dangerous gun control like this.