Sound Policy over Sound Bites

By Larry Keane

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., talks with reporters outside of the senate luncheons in the Capitol, November 18, 2014. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call) (CQ Roll Call via AP Images)
Larry Keane
Larry Keane

Newtown, CT -(AmmoLand.com)- U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) recently introduced the “Responsible Transfer of Firearms Act,” a bill designed to impose even stricter rules on law-abiding firearms retailers.

The measure was offered in response to the senseless shooting of two Virginia journalists. Unfortunately, it is a piece of misguided legislation that would have done nothing to stop that tragedy.

The junior senator’s bill proposes to hold a gun dealer or private transferor liable for crimes committed with the firearm they sold, unless they took “reasonable steps” to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands. Essentially, the bill seeks to add illegality to an already illegal act. It is already a federal offense to sell guns to individuals you know, or have reasonable cause to believe, are barred from having them.

Even more perplexing is that Kaine calls for firearms retailers to be required to take “reasonable steps” to ensure the people to who they sell are allowed to own firearms, but doesn’t say what those steps should be. He says he will leave it up to others to figure that out.

The vague language leaves key aspects of the proposal open to interpretation. If guns retailers and transferors are to be held criminally responsible under this bill, constitutional Due Process and common sense requires that you have to let them know the added due diligence required for each sale. Should a seller take buyer out to coffee? Or administer a personality test? On top of all of the other shortcomings of this bill, studies show that the vast majority of criminals do not acquire firearms from legal sources.

All this suggests that Kaine did not take the care required to propose a serious bill but also did not want to miss the type of political play acting that generally garners uncritical media attention. The senator’s efforts would be better directed at working to ensure that all the records that are supposed to be sent to the FBI-run National Instant Criminal background Check System (NICS) are actually transmitted by responsible state-level agencies.

Instead, we see the singular accomplishment of a bill offering simultaneously redundant and unconstitutionally vague regulations.

NICS is the front-line system used to help ensure that firearms are kept out of the hands of those who should not have them. The records that need to be in NICS include mental health adjudications and involuntary commitment orders.

We don’t think that it’s too much to ask elected officials to brush up on the facts and put forward effective solutions to real problems. That would require seeking sound policy over sound bites.

About NSSF:

The National Shooting Sports Foundation is the trade association for the firearms industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of more than 12,000 manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations and publishers.

For more information, visit nssf.org.

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Elmer
Elmer
6 years ago

“This year will go down in history. For the first time, a civilized nation has full gun registration. Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead into the future” Adolf Hitler 1935

“When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.” –Thomas Jefferson

U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) recently introduced the “Responsible Transfer of Firearms Act,”
Please note that NONE of the 50,000 firearm laws already on the books have been able to prevent any firearm crimes.

RM Molon Labe
RM Molon Labe
6 years ago

“Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny”.

Thomas Jefferson
Molon Labe

Ron
Ron
6 years ago

The people of Va. should be proud of this idiot.

Bob
Bob
6 years ago
Reply to  Ron

I noticed a couple of comments with the spelling of IDIOT, a beyond STUPID, NumNuts nitwit with their head inserted in the rectum is a politically incorrect word. The proper defining word is DEMOCRAP.

Gene
Gene
6 years ago

He 1 0f 2 dumbass Sen. from my State. I cant belive this is the field of citizen that WE put in control of our great nation VERY VERY Sad What a piece of sh*t

Alex
Alex
6 years ago

Another Brain Dead Democrat ,… I guess he needs to justify his suit and tie somehow…. ” do something even if it’s wrong ” … Thats the mentality I see.

TEX
TEX
6 years ago

This little pissant should be thrown in jail for being an idiot.

Janek
Janek
6 years ago

Current NRA President Allan D. Cors sums the situation up best – “Real criminals get released while law-abiding gun owners are manufactured into felons”.