As this is being written, our nation is in crisis. Unemployment numbers are at near-Depression numbers and racial tensions are tearing cities apart. Neither situation bodes well for incumbent politicians, especially in the majority party.
Depending on which poll you’re looking at, Democrats are currently enjoy an eight- to 10-point advantage on a generic congressional ballot. More than 50 percent of likely voters disapprove of President Trump, which isn’t quite former-President Jimmy Carter’s numbers, but they’re close. Unless something significant happens, it is very possible that we will wake up on November 13, 2020, with a Democrat President-elect, an increased Democratic majority in the House and, if things go really bad, a Democratic majority in the Senate. Down-ballot races could flip state houses from red to blue in states such as North Carolina, Minnesota and West Virginia. In other words, we are steaming toward a worst-case scenario for America’s gun owners.
Let’s assume for a moment that the polls are correct and Democrats run the table. In January 2021, the 117th U.S. Congress will convene with Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) as the Senate Majority Leader and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) remains in charge of the House. Former Vice President Joe Biden, who authored the 1994 semiauto ban as a senator, would be president. That’s right, middle America would be governed by coastal anti-gun politicians.
Semiauto & Magazine Bans
To start, both chambers of Congress would likely pass a ban affecting many semiautomatic firearms and detachable-box magazines. They may wait for a mass shooting to give them political momentum to support their farthest reach, or simply steam-ahead and pass a bill in January. We don’t have to guess what the language will look like, we need only to refer to H.R. 1296, which currently sits in the House Judiciary Committee with 216 co-sponsors. (Bill S.66, a similar bill to the House’s, sits in the Senate.) H.R. 1296 would make it a crime to knowingly import, sell, manufacture, transfer or possess a semiautomatic “assault weapon” or Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device (LCAFD). LCAFD’s are defined as detachable magazines with capacities exceeding 10 rounds.
Firearms designated as “semiautomatic assault weapons” would be grandfathered, but they would require a background check to transfer ownership. When one of these firearms is transferred to another owner, law enforcement would be notified. The language of the bill is far more restrictive than the 1994 ban, allowing far fewer loopholes. The 1994 defined “assault weapons” as semiautomatics with at least three features including a pistol grip, flash hider or bayonet lug. Anti-gun Democrats have learned their lesson as this bill only requires one feature. Think about that: Any semiauto rifle with so much as a pistol grip would be banned as would handguns with threaded barrels. Additionally, LCAFDs would not be transferrable, which means that when you die or move to a state with its own restrictions, your magazines become contraband. In one generation, such items are circulated out of existence as they educate and socially influence the next.
A ban on suppressors is a real possibility. So-called “Red Flag” or Extreme Risk Protective Order legislation, likely with few (if any) due-process protections, is a near certainty. Universal background checks would pass by broad margins. The Lawful Commerce of Arms Act that was passed in 2005 to protect the American gun industry from predatory lawsuits would likely be repealed, setting-up an economic disaster for gunmakers. Public-nuisance lawsuits have become the flavor of the decade for Plaintiff lawyers who are joining forces with state Attorneys General to file predatory lawsuits against the U.S. firearm industry. Our firearm and ammunition manufacturers, the same companies who arm our military and law enforcement, would become bankrupt. Without these innovative companies, access to newly designed and manufactured products for law-abiding citizens to exercise their Constitutional rights would be reduced.
Gun owners have all grown tired of hearing that each election is “the most-important election ever.” Unfortunately, this statement is no cliché. Every election is crucial, but it’s not an exaggeration to say that a real crisis may be on the horizon. Please, do what you can. Volunteer your time (or money) to pro-gun candidates in your area and contact your elected representatives to let them know your position on these specific issues. Educate your friends and colleagues about the importance of this election, especially those who are new to gun ownership. By all means, go out and vote in November.
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