Democrats Introduce Gun Control Bill To Boost GOP Popularity

Fresh from their electoral victories on Tuesday, Democrats are about to roll out a bill to aid President Trump’s ebbing fortunes. In a move that is apparently calculated to keep Republicans from becoming too unpopular, Senate Democrats intend to introduce gun control legislation that is similar to bills that Americans have rejected many times previously.

The Washington Examiner reports that, true to form, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calf.) is leading the charge on a bill that would ban more than 200 types of semi-automatic (the trigger must be pulled for every bullet fired) guns and magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. The bill would also ban devices that increase the rate of fire like the bump stock used by Stephen Paddock in the Las Vegas massacre as well as require background checks for private gun sales and mandate “safe storage” for other guns.

“We’re introducing an updated Assault Weapons Ban for one reason – so that after every mass shooting with a military-style assault weapon, the American people will know that a tool to reduce these massacres is sitting in the Senate, ready for debate and a vote,” Feinstein said in a statement.

With Republicans in control of both houses of Congress and a president who is at least nominally pro-gun, Feinstein’s bill has approximately no chance of becoming law. It is far more likely that the bill will instead inspire gun owners to get out the vote to resist Democrats in 2018. Voters who might have stayed home due to their unhappiness with the ineffective Republican administration in Washington will be more likely to go to the polls because at least the Republicans aren’t “gun-grabbers” like Feinstein and the Democrats.

While a recent Politico poll found a slight majority in favor of new gun controls after Las Vegas, almost half of independents say that protecting gun rights is more important than limiting gun ownership. Respondents were equally split on which party better handles the gun issue.

Feinstein’s new “assault weapons” ban follows on the ban instituted by the Clinton Administration in 1994. The ban did not cause a drop in the crime rate and, when it expired 10 years later, there was no corresponding increase in crime. In fact, the definitive study on the gun ban, by Christopher Koper of George Mason University in 2004, found that the ban “had not had a discernible impact on gun crime during the years it was in effect.” So Dianne Feinstein is proposing to revisit an old policy that is ineffective as well as unpopular.

What the Feinstein bill may effectively do is remind blue collar voters why they voted for Donald Trump in the First place. The president is not popular and Democrats in Congress have all but shut down the Republican agenda. Nevertheless, a new assault weapons ban is the sort of overreach that can generate enthusiastic resistance for Republicans among gun owners.

Dianne Feinstein, the stereotypical SanFranciso anti-gunner, has provided the NRA with a villain for decades. Now, as Republicans struggle to give their base a reason to vote for them in 2018, it is Feinstein who rides to the rescue with the stereotypical San Francisco solution to any problem involving crime or violence, namely taking guns away from law-abiding citizens.

President Trump should send her a thank you note.

 

Brussels Has Further Restricted Gun Rights in the E.U.

The European Union (E.U.) recently took drastic measures to further restrict gun ownership throughout its 28 member states.

E.U. interior ministers decided on June 10th to tighten current gun control laws in place—a move viewed negatively by several member states. If ratified by the European Parliament, this proposal will include an EU-wide regime on deactivated firearms—a move slated to harm collectors and hunters. They argue this proposal will make it easier to track illegal guns and discourage people from purchasing semi-automatic firearms, citing their use in the two terror attacks. However, several member states have serious doubts about proposed rule changes.

The E.U. already forbids most fully automatic firearms, along with several popular semi-automatic firearms enjoyed by many here in the United States. How will imposing greater restrictions on semi-automatic firearms make Europe safer if current gun control laws in place have failed to deter terrorists in Paris and Brussels?

Not all E.U. member states plan to comply with this directive.

Members states like Czech Republic and Poland have taken issue with this directive. Finland and Switzerland have also expressed doubts in the proposed legislation. Unlike other member states comprising the E.U., these countries have more liberalized, pro-gun laws. Moreover, these countries have less overall crime in their respective societies thanks to the presence of pro-gun laws in spite of current E.U.-wide restrictions.

Here were proposed gun control measures the E.U. had deliberated earlier this year in wake of the Paris and Brussels terrorist attacks, according to CNN:

1. More categories of semi-automatic weapons will be subject to an outright ban. The new ban will apply to “B7” weapons, or “semi-automatic firearms for civilian use which resemble weapons with automatic mechanisms.” EU countries will still be able to issue licenses for some semi-automatic rifles for hunting, collecting and museums.

2. Deactivated weapons are currently treated as pieces of metal that can be traded freely across European borders. That will no longer be possible. “Under no circumstances will civilians be authorized to own any of the most dangerous firearms (e.g. a Kalashnikov), which is currently possible if they have been deactivated,” the proposal states.

3. Gun brokers and dealers will have to be licensed to deal in weapons. Collectors will have to get a license and face background checks even if they only own deactivated weapons. There will also be new limits on the ability to buy gun parts and ammunition online.

4. Tracing guns should become easier thanks to enhanced rules on how guns must be marked and registered. And blank firing weapons will be regulated for the first time because they can be converted to fire live ammunition.

Other E.U. member states have also expressed interest in extending firearms privileges and rights to members of the military—a move expected to be challenged by the E.U.

The Baltic Republic of Lithuania, which was the first country to declare its independence from the Soviet Union, is looking to allow its military volunteers to private own semi-automatic firearms at home. Both Lithuania’s parliament, Seimas, and military personnel have expressed their desire to allow military volunteers to privately own semi-automatic firearms—especially in wake of Russia trying to reassert itself in the Eastern Bloc.

Looking to the United States as an example, the European Union should permit greater gun rights—not fewer gun rights. Why should Brussels dictate gun rights for 28 vastly different countries? Individual member states should be able to allow gun rights in their respective countries based on need, not based on Brussels’ desires for disarmament.

As opposition to banning AR-15 semi-automatic rifles is mounting here in the U.S. following the Orlando terrorist attack, opposition to further gun control measures should equally be met in the European Union.  It’ll be interesting to see if Thursday’s Brexit vote will propel more E.U. member states to reconsider their membership–especially if the E.U. decides to further encroach on limited gun rights that remain in the region.