House Democrats push new bill to criminalize private gun sales

February 7, 2019

The Democrats wasted no time after taking back the House in getting started on their radical gun control agenda. While their goal is plainly confiscation, the Democrats’ strategy involves starting off with modest-sounding proposals to whittle away at the Second Amendment.

Shortly after her party took back the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi endorsed HR 8, a gun control bill that would criminalize private gun sales. The bill headed to the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

Dems criminalize private gun sales

The benignly labeled “universal background check bill” calls for all gun sales and most gun loans, gifts and transfers to go through a licensed dealer for a background check. The plain text of the bill, proposed by California Democrat Rep. Mike Thomas, claims that it does not authorize the creation of a national gun registry, but the innocuously named bill is laced with legal traps that could jeopardize law-abiding gun owners.

In effect, the bill would criminalize private gun sales. With few exceptions, simply loaning a gun without going through a dealer could land law-abiding gun owners in jail. The bill lists certain exceptions, such as loaning a gun to a family member, but the scope of the bill is broad.

More concerning is that the bill could set the stage for a confiscation push by keeping records of all private gun sales and transfers. The bill would require the same record-keeping for private sales and transfers as if the transaction went through a vendor, essentially setting up a universal gun registry.

The bill makes an exception for self-defense but only in cases of imminent danger. Common sense would dictate that most life-threatening danger is unpredictable. This is a clever way of essentially rendering gun owners defenseless.

As David Kopel at Reason notes, the bill could also indirectly ban handguns for persons under 21. 18 to 20-year-olds are not prohibited from possessing handguns in most states, but dealers are prohibited by law from selling them to persons under 21. By making all gun sales go through dealers, the bill could impose an indirect handgun ban.

To top it all off, the bill establishes that there’s no cap on licensing fees from dealers for all the extra trouble it imposes on gun owners.

Attack on gun freedom

The House Judiciary Committee held a dramatic hearing on gun violence Wednesday where chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) promised a “new chapter” on gun control as Democrats discussed HR 8 and gave away their agenda by floating an assault weapons ban.

Shooting survivors and relatives of victims, including survivors of the Parkland school shooting, were at the hearing to agitate for reform. Republican Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), who survived a 2017 shooting, said that he was barred from testifying at the hearing and voiced his dissent against the bill.

“Whether intentionally or not, the gun control proposals in H.R. 8 could turn law-abiding citizens into criminals while also failing to achieve the stated purpose of reducing gun violence,” he said.

Most criminals get their guns through the black market, so the bill would do nothing to solve gun violence while unduly burdening law-abiding gun owners.

Existing background check laws haven’t stopped bad guys from getting guns, and this new law won’t make any difference either. This is yet another attempt by the left to attack the Second Amendment and the Constitution in the name of “common sense reform.”

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Matthew Boose

Matthew Boose is a staff writer for Conservative Institute. He has a Bachelor's degree from Stony Brook University and has contributed to The Daily Caller and The Stony Brook Press.