It’s apparently the season for bipartisan bills, as lawmakers have been seized by the spirit of cooperation.
Several bipartisan bills have been going through local legislators and Congress, but the one that has received the most attention is undoubtedly the gun control bill introduced by Senators Chris Murphy of Connecticut and John Cornyn of Texas.
Considering gun control is one of the most polarizing issues in the nation, the fact that this bill has both Democrat and Republican support has received quite a bit of positive attention. Some see it as a stepping stone towards further cooperation by both parties.
Unfortunately, under more thorough examination, this bill doesn’t live up to the hype. It’s a small measure unlikely to do any good, and what’s even worse is how it results in more power being ceded to the federal government.
What This New Gun Control Legislation Proposes
The bill is essentially a response to the mass shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, which was perpetrated by Devin Patrick Kelley. Since Kelley had a conviction for domestic violence and a bad conduct discharge on his record, he shouldn’t have been legally able to purchase firearms, except the Air Force failed to report those to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
Those are far from the only pieces of information the NICS is missing, as one estimate has it missing at least 25 percent of all felony convictions in the country.
It’s a legal requirement that all federal agencies, which includes the Air Force, report felonies and other crimes to the NICS. This obviously doesn’t always happen like it should.
States can report felonies and other crimes to the NICS, but Congress can’t force them to do so.
The Murphy-Cornyn bill aims to get better compliance from both federal agencies and the states, using markedly different methods.
The bill proposes holding federal agencies accountable through penalties and funding cuts. States, on the other hand, can receive federal-grant preferences by working to upload their records into the NICS.
In a nutshell, federal agencies will face punishments if they don’t comply, whereas states will receive rewards if they do. Taken at face value, it seems fine. But the bill actually has some major issues.
The Bill Won’t Prevent Mass Shootings
The most obvious problem with this bill is that it will have a negligible effect on mass shootings and gun violence in general. Even leftwing outlets agree that this bill won’t prevent mass shootings, and they typically support just about any measure that mentions the words “gun control.”
All this bill does is attempt to get federal agencies and states to work with a system that’s already in place. Considering federal agencies were already required to submit their records to the NICS and many failed to do just that, it doesn’t exactly inspire confidence that this bill will make much of a difference. There could still be plenty of records that fail to get reported.
In an age when 95 percent of Americans shop online at least yearly, restrictions on owning guns are not going to stop people from buying guns from an online gun store. Just think about what would need to happen for this bill to stop a mass shooting.
A background check would need to prevent the prospective perpetrator from buying a gun based on information that wouldn’t have ended up in the NICS without this bill. And this scenario requires the perpetrator to stop trying there, instead of going to a gun show or buying a gun through a private party.
That’s such an unlikely scenario that it makes this bill a useless measure. And not only is it unnecessary, but it shifts more control over to the central government.
The Only Result is a More Powerful Central Government
Politicians are trying to present this bill as a crucial first step towards a safer nation. What will really happen is that states and, more importantly, law-abiding citizens, will be ceding more power to the central government.
That’s the true motivation of these politicians. They might claim that they’re coming together on this issue for the good of the nation, but they’re only united by a lust for power. They want more power and more control, and that starts with getting new gun measures in place. And since criminals won’t obey gun laws anyway, the only people to go after are the citizens who respect law and order.
This bill is just an example of politicians taking advantage of a tragedy to push their own agenda. They built a bill around a very specific set of circumstances in the Texas shooting, hoping it would appeal to people and win their support in a time of mourning.
A Better Solution
So, if this bill isn’t the answer, then what is? Despite what the left says, it’s not more gun laws. The argument for stricter gun control falls apart if you look at the statistics and see that all the most popular gun legislation proposals wouldn’t make much of a difference.
The smarter decision would be to let the people manage themselves. At a time when gun ownership is higher than ever, thanks in large part to many more women buying handguns, what we need is education, not further restriction.
There are plenty of issues plaguing the country, and mass shootings are obviously never acceptable. But it’s a mistake to put the focus on gun laws and blame gun rights advocates after a tragedy occurs. The focus should be on the perpetrator and what it was that led them to commit such a heinous act.
Better understanding of why people do these things make it easier to prevent future acts of violence. Passing ineffective gun control bills that may one day lead to much greater gun restrictions will do nothing but take away a tool, and then we’ll be left dealing with truck, bomb and knife attacks.