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A Slide Fire bump fire stock for an AR-15

In the aftermath of the Las Vegas massacre, I posted Bump Fire Circular Firing Squad, wherein I noted the usual reluctance of members of The Stupid Party to actually put their rhetoric into law:

Speaker Paul Ryan will not allow Congressional action on national concealed carry reciprocity to move bills forward, Rep. Thomas Massie told host Mark Walters Thursday on Armed American Radio.  The reason given is Ryan thinks the timing isn’t right to consider H.R. 2909, the D.C. Personal Protection Reciprocity Act, a supplement to state reciprocity provisions of H.R. 38.

Massie introduced his legislation after the ball field shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise and other Republicans by an anti-Trump Bernie Sanders supporter in Alexandria, VA.’

The article explains Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell ‘appear to be blocking bills advancing the right to keep and bear arms.’ Apparently, they don’t think the time is right to pass national concealed carry reciprocity, and likely, the hearing protection act. When they might think the time is right for such things remains a mystery.  The Las Vegas attack is unlikely to infuse such invertebrates with political courage. Of course, loud noises, bad weather or their reflections in mirrors might also daunt them. As the article notes:

‘The thing is, depending on who gun owners listen to, both Ryan and McConnell are called ‘staunch supporters of the Second Amendment.’ Yet time after time, on guns, on Obamacare, on immigration, on any real change, they look like they’re taking positions directly contrary to why a critical mass of Americans got tired of standard Republican excuse-making fare and voted for Donald Trump.’

Obamacare is not an express provision of the Constitution. The Second Amendment is. Ryan and McConnell can’t repeal the unconstitutional Obamacare, and apparently don’t care to protect the Second Amendment.

It now appears we’ll have another opportunity to see if our elected Republican jellyfish are ready to act on an issue they have often claimed to care about: national concealed carry reciprocity. The NRA ILA reports:

Glock 43, 26, 17 (L to R)

In a huge win for Second Amendment supporters, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday held a mark-up of H.R. 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, and favorably reported an amended version of the bill to the full House. Anti-gun Democrats on the Committee offered a lengthy list of amendments to weaken or gut the bill, all of which were defeated.

The last 30 years have seen a continual expansion of the right to carry concealed handguns for self-defense within the United States, even as the nationwide violent crime rate has plummeted during the same period.

Every U.S. state now has a legal mechanism whereby its residents may carry concealed handguns, and 42 states and the District of Columbia broadly recognize a right of law-abiding citizens to do so.

The remaining eight states, however, treat the right to carry for self-defense as a privilege reserved for the elite, the connected, or those who can ‘prove’ extraordinary circumstances to the licensing officials.

In these states, a pressing need to protect one’s life, and the lives of those they love, from the Democrat-sponsored criminals besieging them, is never considered sufficient cause for a concealed carry license.

Indeed, anti-gun committee members made many revealing arguments during the lengthy proceedings, displaying both their ignorance and their refusal to accept the bearing of arms as a constitutional right.

Multiple committee members began their attack on the bill by falsely claiming it would prevent police officers from doing their jobs, or even from verifying permits, and that the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) opposed it. When Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) corrected the record to explain the FOP does not, in fact, oppose the bill, the anti-gun members pivoted to the argument that groups representing the executive and political classes of law enforcement still did.

All working cops act as though everyone with whom they come into contact is carrying concealed weapons. It doesn’t make them paranoid, just alert, and it’s the only way to be reasonably safe. Working cops also, by an enormous margin, fully support the Second Amendment and know the law-abiding are no threat to them. However, the NRA is correct in that police executives/politicians, particularly in large, Democrat-ruled cities, owe their jobs to the Democrat politicians that appointed them. Even if they take seriously their oath to uphold and defend the entire Constitution, they can’t act on it or speak the truth about it, not if they wish to remain employed.

The bill would have no effect on officer’s ability to do their jobs. With reasonable suspicion or probable cause, their ability to make stops and speak with people is unaffected. Except, that is, in Democrat cities where the police are now prevented from exercising the most basic discretion, particularly where it involves proactively dealing with favored minority/victim group criminals. The arguments of the anti-liberty contingent of the committee were as predictable as they are dumbfounding:

Another telling moment came when Rep. Darrell Issa (R-49) offered an amendment to include federal judges within the protection of the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act, which since 2004 has allowed qualified active and retired law enforcement officers to carry concealed firearms interstate. Anti-gun committee members immediately launched attacks against the amendment, with their arguments devolving into thinly-veiled attacks on the character and reliability of the judiciary.

Ranking member Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) elaborated at length on the supposed risks federal judges pose of drunk driving, domestic violence, and senility. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) echoed his concerns, focusing on their potential for instability, domestic violence, and ‘abuse of dating partners.’

When Rep. Issa offered to clarify that the rule would apply only to judges who are not federally prohibited from receiving a firearm and explained that police officers are already covered by similar provisions, Nadler responded that he doesn’t agree with LEOSA as it applies to police officers, either.

If Democrats truly believe most federal judges are senile or otherwise dangerous, they have the power to impeach them. One wonders why they so seldom use that power?

Yet perhaps the most eye-popping claim came from none other than Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), who claimed, ‘if there is a domestic violence case, and there is a gun – 500% chance of there being a homicide.’ Lest anybody think she misspoke, Lee repeated the assertion later in the hearing, ‘if it’s a domestic violence situation, and you have a gun, it’s a 500% chance it’ll end in homicide.

500%. Right. Allow me, gentle readers, to apologize, once again, for Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee. We Texans are embarrassed—continually.

H.R. 38 simply seeks to shift the law to the side of those who obey the rules so they – and not just the criminals – can exercise what the U.S. Supreme Court called ‘the right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation’ in any state where their travels may take them.

Well, yes. There’s that pesky Second Amendment again. The bill also has substantial support from the nation’s attorneys general:

Today, H.R. 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, gained support from a coalition of America’s highest-ranking law enforcement officers. Twenty-four attorneys general from across the country signed a letter spearheaded by Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley supporting this common sense legislation. [skip]

The letter states that H.R. 38 is a much-needed solution to a problem facing gun owners and poses no threat to public safety.  ‘The exercise of Congress’s power is particularly warranted in this case because too many states refuse to allow law-abiding visitors to carry concealed firearms. These states leave people without any real option for self-defense. Allowing concealed carry across state lines will not result in an increased risk of crime, as those states that have reciprocal concealed-carry agreements have not encountered any significant safety issues.

Quite so. Whenever a state adopted concealed carry, anti-liberty activists screamed blood would run in the streets. Every traffic accident would result in a shootout, every minor disagreement, a war. None of that has come to pass, and preventing anti-gun lunatics from harassing the law abiding for exercising a fundamental, unalienable right will likewise fail to unleash a torrent of blood.

H.R. 38 would eliminate the confusing patchwork of state laws that make it difficult for law-abiding gun owners to travel across the country with their firearms for personal protection. The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act affirms that law-abiding citizens who are qualified to carry concealed firearms in one state can carry in other states that allow residents to do so.

A copy of the letter signed by attorneys general from Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming can be found here.

This legislative action is encouraging, but by no means a sure thing. If the bill makes it to the full House, it may pass, but it still must get through the Senate, where its prospects would be far more iffy. Repealing Obamacare was beyond the ability of The Stupid Party majority, and while tax reform might pass, that too is not a certainty. Even if reciprocity does pass, we’ll have to wait to find out what’s in it. Failing to pass this bill would go a long way to dooming any Republican majority. Whether they’re smart enough to realize that is another matter.

Anti-liberty fascists often compare the right to keep and bear arms with the privilege of driving. Fascinating, isn’t it, that we enjoy reciprocity for that privilege, but not for the one unalienable right, express right that protects all other rights. Unfortunately, there is another issue that may actually cause some conservatives to vote against reciprocity, as Rep. Thomas Massie reports on Facebook:

As Chairman of the Second Amendment Caucus, I’m blowing the whistle on the swamp. Last week, Republicans in the House fast tracked through committee HR 4477, a gun bill titled “fix-NICS.” The Senate version of this bill is cosponsored by Senator Dianne Feintstein and Senator Chuck Schumer and it will send $625 million over 5 years to states to expand the national background check database. The bill will also advance former President Obama’s agenda of pressuring every branch of the administration (such as the Veteran’s Administration) to submit thousands of more names to the NICS background check database to deny gun purchases. The House bill is identical in every way to the Senate bill except the House bill will also commission a study on bump-stocks.

What you don’t know, and what virtually no one in Washington wants you to know, is that House leadership plans to merge the fix-NICS bill with popular Concealed Carry Reciprocity legislation, HR 38, and pass both of them with a single vote. Folks, this is how the swamp works. House leadership expects constituents to call their representatives demanding a vote on the reciprocity bill, when in fact the only vote will be on the two combined bills.

If Feinstein and Schumer are for it, Americans concerned about the rule of law must oppose it.

How fast did Fix-NICS, HR 4477, move through the Judiciary Committee? This bill broke the previous records for fast track legislation. It was voted out of committee within hours of being introduced in the House. Check the dates on this link: https://www.congress.gov/…/115th-congr…/house-bill/4477/text . That means the text of the bill wasn’t even discoverable by the public on congress.gov until after the bill passed out of committee! The text was however available over in the Senate where you will find Senator Diane Feinstein and Senator Chuck Schumer are cosponsors. https://www.congress.gov/…/115t…/senate-bill/2135/cosponsors

If that’s not odd enough, consider this: the fix-NICS bill was introduced in the House by a Democrat two weeks ago. https://www.congress.gov/…/115th-congr…/house-bill/4434/text . But, in a very unusual move, the bill was re-introduced verbatim by a Republican two weeks later, with language added to it to commission a bump-stock study. Six Republicans in Judiciary Committee weren’t persuaded by the switcheroo, and voted No. However, because every Democrat voted yes and some Republicans voted yes at the urging of the Chairman, the bill made it out of committee. The deed will be complete this week when the bill is quietly added to the Reciprocity bill, HR 38, and passed without the knowledge of those who would oppose the legislation if they knew what was in it.

But The Stupid Party wouldn’t be a party to such underhanded legislative chicanery, right? Right?

In my opinion, #5 is the biggest problem. The bill encourages administrative agencies, not the courts, to submit more names to a national database that will determine whether you can or can’t obtain a firearm. When President Obama couldn’t get Congress to pass gun control, he implemented a strategy of compelling, through administrative rules, the Veterans Administration and the Social Security Administration to submit lists of veterans and seniors, many of whom never had a day in court, to be included in the NICS database of people prohibited from owning a firearm. Only a state court, a federal (article III) court, or a military court, should ever be able to suspend your rights for any significant period of time. [skip]

If we continue to give the executive branch more money and encouragement to add names to the list of people prohibited from buying a firearm (without a day in court) and if the gun banners achieve their goal of universal background checks, one day, a single person elected to the office of President will be able to achieve universal gun prohibition.

House leadership should immediately de-couple the fix-NICS legislation from the concealed carry reciprocity legislation. People hate it when Washington combines bills like our leadership plans to do this week.

Could this be why Ryan is apparently willing to let this come to the House Floor for a vote? Massie notes, correctly I think, Feinstein and Schumer will never vote for a reciprocity bill, even with their bill attached. Democrats are not used to compromise. They’re used to winning on the fecklessness and stupidity of Republicans.

Here’s a dangerous scenario that’s more likely to play out: The House uses the popularity of reciprocity (HR 38) to sneak fix-NICS through, while the Senate passes fix-NICS only. The Senate and the House meet at conference with their respective bills, with the result being fix-NICS emerges from conference without reciprocity. Fix-NICS comes back to the House and passes because all of the Democrats will vote for it (as they just did in Judiciary Committee) and many Republicans will vote for it. Because Republicans already voted for it once as part of the reciprocity deal that never came to pass, they won’t have a solid footing for opposing fix-NICS as a standalone bill. Then we’ll end up with fix-NICS, which is basically an expansion of the Brady Bill, without reciprocity.

That’s precisely the sort of thing The Stupid Party would fall for.

If our House leadership insists on bringing the flawed fix-NICS bill to the floor, they shouldn’t play games. We should vote separately on HR 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Bill, and HR 4477, the fix-NICS bill. And we should be given enough time to amend the fix-NICS bill, because it needs to be fixed, if not axed.

Members of The Stupid Party need to hear from us in ways that tend to be spine stiffening.