Current Legislation for Pro- and Anti-Gun Activists, Part 1 of 4

Hundreds of bills are filed in both the House and the Senate every session, but few come close to becoming law. Most are window-dressing filed to please anti-gun or pro-gun supporters. This series will examine 16 bills, eight from each chamber, both pro and anti, which deserve special attention.

This week we examine four anti-gun bills from the Senate:

S.176: Common Sense Concealed Firearms Permit Act of 2011
Sponsor: Sen. Barbara L. Boxer (D-Calif.)
Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.

This bill mandates a nation-wide concealed carry permit process, forcing states with less stringent permit laws to accommodate a more restrcitive federal standard.  Under this bill, Vermont could no longer allow concealed carry simply on the basis of American citizenship, and a permit applicant would have to prove he is worthy of the public trust.  Rather than assuming the right to carry for personal safety, in the words of the bill, gun owners will have to demonstrate good cause for requesting a concealed firearm permit.

S.436: Fix Gun Checks Act of 2011
Sponsors: Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), Kirsten E.R. Gilibrand (D-N.Y.) and John F. Kerry (D-Mass.)
Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.

This bill would withold federal justice funds from states which do not provide a sufficient number of names to the FBI’s InstantCheck system. It allows any lawful authority to deem a person mentally ill and unfit for firearm ownership, and additionally forbids possession to anyone who admits to using illegal drugs.  It also bans all private person-to-person sales of firearms, which would eliminate intrafamily sales and the typical transactions conducted at gun shows.

S.34: Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act of 2011 (Also H.R. 1506)
Sponsors: Sen.s Franklin R. Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Barbara L. Boxer (D-Calif.), Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), Diane G.B. Feinstein (D-Calif), Kirsten Gilibrand (D-N.Y.), Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), John F. Reed (D-R.I.), Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.)
Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.

This bill would give the attorney general the power to disallow the sale of a firearm or explosive if the he has a reasonable belief that the prospective transferee may use a firearm in connection with terrorism.  This bill has no provisions for due process and opens firearm sale to discriminatory profiling; the bill specifically states that the attorney general would never have to tell the permit-seeker why his or her request was denied.  If the permit-seeker does appeal, this bill permits the attorney general to withhold documents and only bring redacted evidence before the court.
S.35: Gun Show Background Check Act of 2011 (Similar to H.R. 591)
Sponsors: Sen.s Frank R. Lautenberg (D-N.J.), John F. Reed (D-R.I.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), Diane G.B. Feinstein (D-Calif), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Carl Levin (D-Mich.),  Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), Barbara L. Boxer (D-Calif.) and Ronald L. Wyden (D-Ore.)
Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.

A 2001 Bureau of Justice report states that less than .7 percent % of guns used in violent crimes originated at gun shows.  Regardless, the proponents of this bill wrote: “Gun violence is a pervasive, national problem that is exacerbated by the availability of guns at gun shows.”  This bill requires anyone who wants to hold a gun show to pay a special fee to the attorney general, buy a special license, and submit to continuous inspection, under penalty of fines or imprisonment.

All these bills remain in Judiciary Committee.  They must pass the Judiciary Committee and the House floor before they can move on to the full Senate.