By: José Niño
The Wuhan virus outbreak has given gun owners a close-up look at the level of demagoguery politicians will stoop to during a time of crisis.
Petty despots at the state and local level took full advantage of the pandemic to spearhead gun grabs while the population was in a state of desperation. Gun owners thankfully caught a break when the Trump administration declared the firearms industry to be critical infrastructure.
Nevertheless, there are still several elected officials who view the Second Amendment with scorn and have channeled the same anti-gun energy their state and local level counterparts have done.
Let’s just look at the U.S. Senate. Although it’s in Republican hands, Democrats continue to use their positions to advance gun control measures. On April 2, a trio of anti-gun Senators — Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA) — sent a letter to officials at FBI and ATF begging them to put the clamps on gun sales across the nation. The senators were incensed at law-abiding Americans making peaceful decisions to stock up on firearms as uncertainty loomed on the horizon.
Americans have been buying record numbers of firearms during the Wuhan virus. According to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), a whopping 3.7 million background checks were conducted in March alone, which represented a single-month record. In addition, many of these purchases were made by first-time gun buyers.
Americans are rightfully arming themselves at a time when politicians are conducting some of the wildest social experiments in recent memory: namely, the opening of the prison floodgates, which many politicians claim is necessary to contain the spread of the virus. Never mind the social consequences of letting out some of society’s most violent criminals.
The latest firearms purchase trends are giving anti-gun Democrats fits. Sen. Blumenthal complained to the media, “[T]here is no reason that Americans need more guns at a time of COVID-19 than they did before.” Unlike many rational state governments and our federal government, Blumenthal believes “retailers selling guns are not an essential service.”
Because of the obstacles before them, Blumenthal and his anti-gun cronies have had to get creative by requesting the FBI and ATF subvert people’s right to bear arms in underhanded ways.
The NRA Institute for Legislative Action highlighted the first request that anti-gun Democrats sent to the aforementioned government agencies:
“First, the senators asked ATF to issue guidance urging Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) to forego the three-day safety-valve provision and suspend delayed firearms transfers indefinitely.”
According to federal law, when a background check is delayed for further investigation, and the FBI’s NICS division cannot determine that the prospective firearm buyer is barred from possessing firearms under federal or state law, the firearms transfer can go forward at the dealer’s discretion. This streamlines the overall background check process and prevents arbitrary delays in firearms transfers.
Under the senators’ proposal, however, a major wrench would be thrown into this already flawed and unconstitutional federal background check process. Consequently, an overwhelming majority of law-abiding Americans would be subject to background check delays, thereby depriving them of their right to bear arms. As the saying goes, “A right delayed, is a right denied.“
The NRA-ILA provided a big picture overview of what scrapping the three-day safety-valve would do to FFLs:
Some may point out that the letter is only asking that ATF issue guidance to FFLs to forego the three-day safety-valve and that FFLs would still be able to decide whether to go forward with a transfer before NICS has made a final determination. However, the proposed guidance would come from the agency that controls an FFL’s license. This leaves the gun dealer little choice – comply or risk their livelihood.
For Second Amendment activists, this episode of gun control looks familiar. Back in February 2019, the House passed H.R. 1112, which would have scrapped the safety-valve protections.
The sneaky gun grabs don’t end there. These same Senators are pushing the FBI to gut protections that prevent the creation of a federal gun or gun owner registry by keeping records of firearms transaction data longer that what is allowed under federal regulations. Under current law, incomplete background check records must be erased from the NICS check within 90 days.
The senators’ letter contended, “Because the pandemic and recovery may last longer than 90 days, the FBI should issue an emergency directive to maintain all background-check information related to transactions with an ‘open’ status for 90 days beyond the current state of emergency as the president proclaimed under the National Emergencies Act.”
If the Democrat trio had their way, law-abiding gun owners’ information could be kept for an indefinite period of time. By holding gun owner data indefinitely, the federal government will be well on its way to establishing a gun registry.
The Democrats’ anti-gun maneuver is nothing new. Back in 2009, New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg introduced S.2820, which would have kept the information of all NICS background check transactions for 180 days, and the information on a subgroup of approved background checks for an indefinite period of time.
Democrats are back to their old tricks. But as we know in politics, relentlessness pays off in the long-term. That’s why when the anti-gun Left pushes their gun-grabbing legislation, they must be met with superior resistance on the part of gun owners each and every time.
José Niño is a Venezuelan American freelance writer based in Austin, Texas. Sign up for his mailing list here. Contact him via Facebook, Twitter, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Get his e-book, The 10 Myths of Gun Control, here.