By Larry Keane
Two antigun New York Members of Congress are facing off in a primary election next month that will end the loser’s political career. The matchup encapsulates why gun control efforts on Capitol Hill continue even after President Joe Biden signed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act into law.
For gun control, the rights of law-abiding Americans remain in the crosshairs while criminals are ignored.
U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Reform and called three firearm industry leaders to testify in the near future at what would be a show hearing on gun control. She’s demanding gross revenue and profit from sales of Modern Sporting Rifles (MSRs). She also wants spending on advertising and marketing, on federal and state lobbying and on their donations to gun rights groups.
“Your company is continuing to profit from the sale and marketing of weapons of war to civilians despite the harm these weapons cause,” Rep. Maloney castigated.
What Rep. Maloney ignores is that they don’t have a role in criminal violence. Criminals do.
If Chairwoman Maloney was concerned about the role of criminals who illegally obtain and misuse firearms, she could look closer to home for witnesses.
Meanwhile, House Committee on the Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), who’s facing Rep. Maloney, is refusing to play second fiddle on the Second Amendment attacks. Chairman Nadler is holding his own committee hearing this week.
Rep. Nadler’s committee will mark up a new Assault Weapon Ban bill, H.R. 1808. The bill would ban the manufacturing or sale of “any new semi-automatic rifles, including those that can accept a detachable magazine…” The proposed legislation lists a series of cosmetic features that would classify a firearm for the ban. The bill would also ban standard capacity magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition.
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The Assault Weapon Ban is a response to President Joe Biden’s repeated calls for it, even though the previous one he helped pass in 1994, which also banned standard capacity magazines, expired after 10 years and did little to nothing to reduce crime. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the impact on gun violence of renewing the ban would possibly be “too small for reliable measurement.”
Americans’ support for a so-called “Assault Weapons” ban is historically low. A Gallup poll from last month showed support for a ban only registered 55 percent while an Associated Press poll from May showed only 51 percent did. Moderate Democrats like Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) are leery of banning certain classes of firearms. “I don’t believe in bans on weapons,” Rep. Cuellar told The Hill.
Chairman Nadler would trample on the Constitution to save his political career despite the recent U.S. Supreme Court’s Bruen decision holding that laws, like this bill, that infringe on the Second Amendment that are not grounded in the text, history and national traditions at the time of the founding of our nation, will not pass Constitutional muster.
Across the Capitol in the U.S. Senate, Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) is holding a hearing of his own titled, “After the Highland Park Attack: Protecting Our Communities from Mass Shootings.” Sen. Durbin’s hearing is expected to cast blame on the firearm industry for the criminal acts of deranged individuals and call for a reinstatement of the “assault weapon” ban as well.
“The point that they were making to us, and to everyone, is: this is madness—to allow individuals to have this type of weapon who are not members of the military, not policemen—and to use these weapons on other Americans is unthinkable,” Sen. Durbin said. One might expect the chairman to have bothered to read Heller, McDonald and Bruen before opining.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) has said the Senate is done with gun control and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) has vowed not to end the filibuster. The prospects of any legislation passing both chambers are nearly zero.
Antigun Democrats continue to show they aren’t serious about addressing criminals actually committing the crimes. They only want control and to restrict the rights of Americans already following the laws. Our God-given rights are mere rungs on their political ladder. The upcoming committee hearings are examples of why Americans continue to take up their Second Amendment rights in historic numbers.
Larry Keane is Senior Vice President of Government and Public Affairs and General Counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry trade association.