I've been writing a bit lately (with more here) about the recent efforts (all of which have died screaming) in Virginia to close the mythical "gun show loophole." Now, everyone's favorite citizen disarmer, Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), along with Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), is trying the same thing on the federal level.
“It defies common sense that a loophole in federal law lets unlicensed dealers sell firearms at gun shows without running a background check on the buyer. Our legislation would require background checks for every gun purchased at every gun show across America. Without this change in the law, felons, fugitives and severely mentally ill people will continue to be able to buy guns – no questions asked,” said Sen. Lautenberg.Those "unlicensed dealers," of course, are no more "dealers" than someone who sells his used car is a car dealer, but far be it from a citizen disarmament advocate to stick to facts, when menacing hyperbole works so much better.
How far will this go? Hard to say. A House bill, H.R. 96 (discussed briefly here) was introduced almost a year ago, and has languished for months, drawing only five cosponsors so far.
Senator Lautenberg's bill (haven't yet found a bill number for it [UPDATE: it's S. 2577]), though, appears to be a more serious effort. Although just introduced yesterday, it already has (in addition to Lautenberg and Reed) nine cosponsors (the usual suspects). From Lautenberg's press release:
The Lautenberg-Reed measure is cosponsored by Sens. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Diane Feinstein (D-CA), Edward Kennedy (D-MA), John Kerry (D-MA), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Daniel Inouye (D-HI), Carl Levin (D-MI) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA).Also, as Rep. Carolyn McCarthy and Sen. Chuck Schumer have already stated, the "next step" after the NICS "Improvement" Act is the attack on gun shows.
And the "next step" after that? The Brady Bunch has made it clear that they want to require that all private sales (not only those at gun shows) to involve a background check. In the their press release praising the Lautenberg-Reed bill, Helmke spouted their motto on that subject:
“The bottom line should be: ‘No background check. No gun. No excuses.’”Catchy, isn't it?
It's funny, isn't it, that the citizen disarmament advocates, who routinely dismiss the slippery slope argument as paranoid fear-mongering on the part of gun rights advocates, refer to every gun law they pass as "a good first step." We certainly take a lot of "first steps," and if they had their way, would take a lot more.
UPDATE: Ryan has more.