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June 10, 2022

House GOP Introduces True Gun Safety Bills

By Larry Keane

Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives are taking a different path on firearm safety legislation than the Democrats. Several Members introduced legislation to incentivize law-abiding gun owners to practice safe firearm ownership and secure storage. They’re taking a sober and thoughtful approach to policy to reduce tragedies.

“As a father of an elementary school kid I am absolutely devasted every time we have a school shooting,” said U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.). “I can’t imagine the pain and the horror of those parents…and that’s why I’ve worked so hard all these years to prevent these tragedies.”

Meaningful Progress

Congressman Hudson, along with House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) and Rep. Carol Miller (R-W.Va.), introduced the Firearm Proficiency and Training Act to incentivize responsible firearm ownership by providing up to $250 of tax deduction benefits for each cost involving training courses, permit classes and secure storage purchases. Rep. Hudson spoke of the effort at a press conference along with Rep. Stefanik, Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), the Chairman of the Republican Study Committee.

“There have been only two significant gun safety bills to recently pass Congress. Both were Republican bills, passed by Republican majorities and signed by Republican presidents,” he said. “House Republicans want to do something – that matters.”

Rep. Miller added in a press release announcing the bill, “Every American has the right to bear arms, and every gun owner should know how to use and store their firearm. As legislators, we will continue to advocate for proper firearm usage while defending our constituents’ Second Amendment rights.”

Smarter Approach

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) have plowed ahead with proposals that would do nothing to prevent tragedies, do not hold criminals accountable and have no chance of becoming law.

The approach is unsurprising. Reps. Nadler and Maloney are in a faceoff in a primary election and are trying to out-gun-control each other for political points. Each held committee hearings on gun control proposals that included implementing age-based gun bans, bans on Modern Sporting Rifles (MSRs) and standard capacity magazines, mandatory locked firearm storage in the home, expanding “red flag” laws that still do not adequately protect the Constitutional Due Process rights of the gun owners against false accusations, and implementing universal background checks that are not possible without also establishing a national firearm ownership registry.

During the committee hearings, antigun Democrats demonstrated they lack the basic understanding of firearms and responsible ownership and even dismissed witnesses with firsthand knowledge of how ineffective gun control laws are.

Witness Lucretia Hughes testified at Rep. Maloney’s hearing. She lost her 19-year-old son to a criminal who used an illegally-obtained gun to kill her child. “My son’s death resulted from a criminal with an evil heart and a justice system failing to hold him accountable for laws he had already broken,” Hughes said. “The laws being discussed today are already implemented in cities across the country. We have decades of evidence proving they do not work.”

In the Senate

At the House press conference, Republican Whip Scalise summed up the flawed approach of the Democratic House Majority.

“What we saw unfortunately in the minutes and hours after, by some people here in Washington, was a movement to promote their political agenda on the heels of those tragedies,” Rep. Scalise said. “They were trying to get Congress to move a bill… a gun control bill… that would have had absolutely nothing to do with the shooting.” Whip Scalise’s words are poignant. He survived an attempted political assassination when a deranged individual opened fire on the Congressional Republican baseball team at practice.

Senators across Capitol Hill are taking a more serious and sober approach as they try to reach an agreement that could prevent a tragedy. Senators are considering proposals that would strengthen the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) to include disqualifying records of minors, as well as expand extreme risk protection orders. They are also considering supporting states to craft their own “red flag” provisions while strengthening Constitutional protections for individuals who are falsely accused.

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), who led the effort to pass The Fix NICS Act in 2017, is working with Sens. Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.). Sen. Cornyn recently said the effort is moving forward with safety as the ultimate goal. Sen. Cornyn stated, “If we reach an agreement, law-abiding gun owners will not be impacted at all.”

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