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February 11, 2013

U.S. House Democrats’ Task Force Issues Recommendations, While Senate Democrats Proceed at More Deliberative Pace


After almost two months, the U.S. House Democrats’ Gun Violence Prevention Task Force released its plan on Thursday, not at the U.S. Capitol but from the Landsdowne Resort in Leesburg, Va., to minimal fanfare. While the 15 principles begin with two promising statements of support for the Second Amendment and recognition of legitimate firearms ownership for hunting, shooting sports and self-defense, there was also a call for banning modern sporting rifles and magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds. Here is the report.

NSSF met with Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.), who chaired this task force. While we have the utmost respect for Rep. Thompson, who has been very helpful on hunting and conservation policy, it was clear from our meeting that — like Vice President Biden’s task force — the policy positions outlined Thursday were preordained and no honest dialogue occurred.

Meanwhile, many Democrats in the U.S. Senate have been hesitant to embrace the far-reaching anti-gun legislation introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and have instead opted to push for measures less polarizing, such as fixing mental health record gaps in the FBI NICS system and expanding background checks. There has been no shortage in gun-control legislation introduced in both the House and the Senate, but progress on these bills will be at a measured pace in large part to Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and his more careful approach to the issue.

NSSF has briefed Republican Senate staff members of the Second Amendment Task Force on a range of gun-control issues likely to be discussed later this month in committee and later this year on the Senate floor. NSSF presented the industry’s perspective on issues such as the ban on modern sporting rifles, magazine-capacity restrictions, requiring background checks on all firearms sales and transfers and improvements to NICS.