Ever since President Barack Obama announced that gun control will be a "central issue" of his final term in office, anti-gun politicians in Congress and state legislatures, who for the past four years have been holding their cards close, have finally laid them all on the table.
As you read this, New York has already banned magazines that hold more than seven rounds and expanded its "assault weapon" ban, and the NRA is working to defeat hundreds of bills that have been introduced in other state capitals. The most dangerous of the bills propose to ban guns or magazines; limit the frequency of gun purchases; repeal laws that protect the right to self-defense; impose taxes on firearm purchases; ban the purchase of ammunition online; impose gun registration; and require so-called "universal background checks" on all gifts, sales or trades of firearms, even between family members, friends, neighbors, co-workers and other personal acquaintances.
The NRA opposes any effort to diminish the ability of law-abiding Americans to keep and bear arms for legitimate purposes. Contrary to what some in the media suggested in March, that includes opposition to so-called "universal background checks." Criminals will never submit to a background check system, so despite its name, such a system will never be "universal." Further, we do not support criminalizing the private transfer of firearms between honest citizens, which is precisely what such a system would do. And lastly, if background checks become mandatory for all private transfers, it will be only a matter of time until we're fighting against bills calling for the federal government to maintain permanent records on all firearm sales, and only a matter of time after that until we are fighting against bills calling for those records to include the make, model and serial number of every firearm sold. Gun control supporters know as well as anyone that some touchdowns are scored with a single big play, but most points are earned by moving the ball a few yards at a time.
There's at least one crucial difference between a football game and politics, though. Football games end when time runs out in the fourth quarter. Politics is a never-ending battle, as demonstrated by the fact that on March 14, the United States Senate Judiciary Committee — which 20 years ago approved an "assault weapon" and magazine ban that studies showed didn't reduce crime, and which some anti-gun activists disparaged as a "joke," a "fictional ban," and a "charade" — approved yet another ban, by the same author, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).
Many in the media are describing Feinstein's new ban as a rehash of her federal "assault weapon" and "large" magazine ban of 1994-2004. However, the new "Assault Weapons Ban of 2013" (S. 150) — approved with Feinstein and the committee's nine other Democrats voting for it and its eight Republicans voting against it — has been expanded to prohibit almost all semi-automatic shotguns and detachable-magazine semi-automatic rifles (unless specifically exempted by name), various fixed-magazine and compact rifles, and various fixed-magazine and detachable-magazine pistols, along with magazines that hold 11 or more rounds, regardless of the firearms in which they are used.
The new ban would also prohibit people from selling, trading, or giving away "assault weapons" they currently own, unless they went through a licensed dealer. And it would prohibit owners of the magazines from selling them under any circumstances. Essentially calling for "confiscation without compensation," the bill would prohibit you from leaving them to your heirs in your will.
Along with the legislation to move America closer to national gun registration by imposing "universal checks" on all gifts, sales, trades or other exchanges of firearms, S. 150 now goes to the full Senate, which may be voting on the bills by the time you read this. Now is the time to call your U.S. senators and House members at (202) 224-3121 to state your opposition to these bills. You can also reach them through the "Write Your Reps" feature on our website, at www.nraila.org. The next four years are going to be some of the toughest the Second Amendment has ever faced. The time to take a stand is now.
Chris W. Cox is the Executive Director of the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action and serves as the organization's chief lobbyist. Please give your support to NRA-ILA today by going to www.NRAILA.org/donate.