Broad consensus exists for federal gun legislation that would improve background checks. But that consensus doesn’t take the anti-gun crowd even close to where it wants to go.
Accordingly, as Charles Cooke reports at NRO, Chuck Schumer acted at the last minute to crowbar oppressive amendments into S. 374, the Senate’s background check legislation. The legislation was then approved by the Judiciary Committee on a 10-8 straight party line vote.
Schumer’s amendment operates to limit transfers of guns from one person to another. But the definition of “transfer” — it encompasses providing the opportunity for others to possess one’s guns — and the penalties attached to violations make the legislation draconian.
If, for example, a gun owner leaves his home for more than seven days — leaving his firearms with his roommate, or gay partner, or landlord — he’ll be committing a felony that carries a five-year prison term. And while married couples are exempted from falling afoul of that provision, the family exemptions apply only to recorded “gifts” and not to “temporary transfers.” In order to avoid making felons of millions of couples, the government would, at the very least, need to spell out clearly what constitutes “gifting” a gun within a family and what constitutes a “temporary transfer,” thus regulating an area that has hitherto largely been left alone.
And that’s not all:
It would be illegal to lend a gun to a friend so that he can go shooting. Want to give your pistol to your neighbor so he can pop down to the range for a few hours but don’t have time to go with him? Sorry, better make sure you look good in orange. Need more than the allowed 24 hours to report a stolen gun to the authorities?…You’re a felon…Sharing guns between buddies on a hunting trip? Five years inside for you.
And, Cooke adds, once S. 374 has made you a felon, you can’t own firearms without the explicit permission of the state.
Fortunately, S. 274, as amended by Schumer, has little chance of making it through the Senate and surely no chance of passing the House. Presumably, Schumer just wants to give it the old college try and to have the opportunity to stand in front of a few more microphones.
As a side benefit, he has offered us another harrowing glimpse at the kind of regime change the left contemplates for America.