No More Pro-Rights Action in 2017?

By Jeff Knox

Judicial Watch Calls upon Office of Congressional Ethics to Investigate Whether Rep. Schiff and Rep. Speier Disclosed Classified Information

Firearms Coalition

Buckeye, AZ-( Congressional staffers are quietly trying to lower expectations of gun owners for the 2017 session of Congress.

While rights activity took a big bounce in the first month of the Trump administration, it didn't take long for rights to move to the back seat.

The two bills most touted, and enthusiastically received by GunVoters, are national carry reciprocity and deregulation of silencers.

Both of those proposals received quite a bit of attention from politicians, the media, and rights groups – both pro and anti – but neither of them is making much progress.

Other good legislation, like Rep. Rob Bishop's bill to remove “sporting purpose” language from the Gun Control Act, haven't even been introduced this year, or have been mostly ignored.

The big surprise this year was the wide support for the Hearing Protection Act, H.R.367. This is something that we at The Firearms Coalition have been working on for at least a decade.

The legislation was first introduced by Arizona Rep. Matt Salmon in the 114th Congress, but it didn't generate a whole lot of interest. Salmon retired last year, and there was some question as to whether a similar bill would be brought up in the 115th Congress. Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) ran with it straight out of the gate though, and it quickly gathered steam in the post-election euphoria.

As of this writing, H.R.367 has 137 cosponsors, including 3 Democrats (of 435 members of the House) and is languishing in the Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations. It is also worth noting that when I went to to check the cosponsor count, H.R.367 was listed as Number 3 in the list of most viewed bills.

H.R.38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, came in at Number 6 on that list. This demonstrates that there is definitely public interest in these bills, while there's not much action.

The Senate companion bill to H.R.367 is S.59, introduced by Mike Crapo (R-ID). It currently has 13 cosponsors, none of them Democrats, and is on hold in the Senate Finance Committee.

As to the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, which was NRA's flagship bill going into the 115th Congress, it currently has 188 cosponsors, including 3 Democrats, and is also stuck in the Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations.

A somewhat different version of the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act has been introduced in the Senate by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) as S.446. It has 36 co-sponsors, and has been relegated to the Senate Judiciary committee.

Another set of bills that have been introduced and are of interest to GunVoters, are H.R.1537 and S.162, labeled as the Second Amendment Enforcement Act of 2017. This matching legislation was introduced by Rep. Thomas Garrett (R-VA) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL).

They deal exclusively with Washington D.C., taking authority for certain firearm restrictions away from the D.C. government, and authorizing D.C. residents to purchase firearms in Maryland or Virginia. It also would make D.C. a “shall issue” district. The bills have only one cosponsor in the House, none in the Senate, and show little sign of life at all.

So, the big question now is: How do we get national reciprocity and hearing protection out of committees and onto the floors of the House and Senate for votes, and ultimately to President Trump's desk for his signature?

Everyone realizes that Congress has quite a bit on their plates right now, but the reality is they always have a lot on their plates, and there are always plenty of excuses as to why they can't act on our legislation right now. Another reality is that passage of either of these bills in the Senate is very unlikely.

Chuck Schumer would undoubtedly call a filibuster, requiring us to get 60 votes to pass these. If all of the Republicans in the Senate, and all of the self-proclaimed “pro-gun” Senate Democrats were to vote for them, we would probably still fall at least one vote short.

The good news is that forcing a vote in the Senate could significantly impact the 2018 elections, and shift the balance of power farther in gun owners' favor. Mathematically, Republicans have a huge advantage in 2018, because 27 Democrat-held seats (including 2 “Independents” who caucus with the D's), and only 7 Republican-held seats, will be up for election.

There are 7, supposedly “pro-gun” Democrats from solidly pro-rights states, among that 27, and all of them are considered vulnerable. There are also vulnerable Democrats running in 3 other strong pro-rights states. Pushing a vote now would put them all on record before the election, increasing the odds that GunVoters would rise up and ensure their defeats.

What's more, the fear of GunVoter reprisals at the polls, just might be enough to push one or two of those vulnerable, anti-rights senators into bucking their party and voting for passage of these bills. It's a win for gun owners either way, and there's no downside for Republicans.

The Senate is where action is needed and where action will make a difference, so call your Senators every week and tell them you want votes on S.59 and S.446. The Capitol Switchboard number is 202-224-3121, or find them on

Neal Knox - The Gun Rights War
Neal Knox – The Gun Rights War


About Jeff Knox:

Jeff Knox is a second-generation political activist and director of The Firearms Coalition. His father Neal Knox lead many of the early gun rights battles for your right to keep and bear arms. Read Neal Knox – The Gun Rights War.

The Firearms Coalition is a loose-knit coalition of individual Second Amendment activists, clubs and civil rights organizations. Founded by Neal Knox in 1984, the organization provides support to grassroots activists in the form of education, analysis of current issues, and with a historical perspective of the gun rights movement. The Firearms Coalition is a project of Neal Knox Associates, Manassas, VA.


  • 9 thoughts on “No More Pro-Rights Action in 2017?

    1. SO, THE BOTTOM LINE IS THAT WE ARE CLOSE – BUT WE NEED 1-3 MORE VOTES IN THE SENATE. (This count includes all of the Dems up for reelection in 2018 from pro-gun states.)

      My proposal is simple: In order to gain those few votes in the senate, we combine CCW reciprocity, suppressor reform and an optional limited expansion of background checks in the same bill. This would almost certainly draw those votes needed to end a filibuster and gain us both CCW reciprocity and suppressor reform. If it doesn’t nothing changes – because it’s all in one bill.

      My proposed “expansion” of background checks would have the following features:

      1) Background checks on private sales WOULD NOT BE REQUIRED. They would be completely optional. No new crimes would be created. You would be completely free to sell to anyone you can legally sell to now, without a check.

      2) While background checks would not be required, conducting one would completely exempt the seller from legal liability.

      3) Checks would not be conducted directly through the government. Instead, they would be conducted through a new non-profit corporation – run jointly by the NRA and NSSF. This new corporation would act in exactly the same way a FFL does, They would receive the seller, buyer and firearms information – but as with a dealer, only the buyer’s information would be submitted to NICS.

      So, how would this work in practice?

      Well, if you know the buyer well, you would likely not chose to do a check. On the other hand, if the buyer is a total stranger, you might want to do one – but it would not be required.

      Effectively, we would trade a completely optional background check system for CCW reciprocity and suppressor reform. We lose nothing and gain a lot. I think it would be a smart move.

      1. Interesting idea. Worth discussing. I’ve had some similar ideas.
        It’s really important to cut the FFLs out of the loop. That’s where the gun-controllers will piggy-back the 4473 form. What do the voters really want? B-Cs? Forms? If they really want forms then it’s no-deal. If they really want B-Cs, well, we might be able to bend a little there. I thought of proposing to open the NICS check to anyone on the internet. Or, to notaries-public, hardware stores, gas stations.
        Another wrinkle I thought of was to make it a crime to UN-knowingly transfer to a prohibited-person; with a safe-harbor if you run a B-C on the buyer. Like your idea, that would make it voluntary; unlike your idea, there would be a “bite” to skipping the B-C if the buyer turned-out to be a prohibited-person. The important feature of this idea is that it gives 99% of us a “no-harm/no-foul” feature. We can lend/sell guns to our friends and relatives provided we trust them not to be felons.
        In any case, your “bundle” is a good idea. Our position becomes: “We offered you UBC; you wouldn’t take it”.
        I think it’s bad strategy to argue about NICS-checks at FFLs. These won’t go away until the public realizes that they are a waste of money. In stead of arguing against NICS at FFLs because WE don’t LIKE them we ought to tell our fellow voters how they are wasting their money on NICS at FFLs. That – eventually – might work. Telling voters that WE don’t LIKE NICS at FFLs isn’t going to motivate them.

    2. Well, I believe I said it a few weeks ago, this is going nowhere this year and a large part of the problem is what are we hearing from the NRA? I believe the answer is crickets chirping. Going down that chain, have there been a million phone calls to NRA Headquarters demanding something be done? Answer to that, nope! Now, just in case one million want to call the NRA and tell them to start moving or no more money (they do understand that), the number is 703-267-1000 and ask for ILA.

    3. Historically the Republicans have appealed to single issue ‘gun rights voters’ in order to achieve victory over Democrat challengers. Aren’t you tired of being pi$$ed on after the election is over?

      1. Yes, but I am still thankful Hillary is not president. Nobody said it was going to be easy to restore our rights and freedoms. It’s a marathon, not a sprint and we must work to pass the baton on to future generations to build on our work and win the race against the liberals, socialists, communists and all that would diminish and shackle We The People.

    4. I am not optimistic at all. Sure we seem to be much better off with Trump than Clinton but I remember NRA endorsed member George Bush 1st’s “No new gun laws!” promise in 1988 only to see him ban all imported “assault weapons” and we still have that law in place today. I’ll bet that the only thing we will get maybe is the Hearing Protection Act in Trump’s 2nd term if he has one and then we will be on par with England, Finland, Ukraine, New Zealand, etc. regarding silencers which is really not a purest win for the 2nd Amendment. The NFA will not go away and the sporting purposes language as well as other quick fix ATF reforms like the ones needed at the Technology Branch where ATF writes law will never happen. What about rights restoration for non-violent felons who are now “free” and have “paid their debt to society” and “done their time?” The NRA won’t even touch that one even though their main spokesman/boardmember and felon Ollie North got his gun rights back before Schumer defunded the program in 1992. If you don’t think that this is important, consider that many politicians would love to strip your gun rights away for getting parking tickets (in PA with a DUI charge you lose your gun rights for a year). No one loses thier right to free speech if they are convicted of felony perjury or mail fraud so why does a non violent felon, no matter the federal felony (with the exception of one), only lose the 2nd Amendment for life and no other rights? That’s because the government still does not consider the 2A a right no matter what the NRA and Fudd Republicans say. Even in Canada, a felony charge will not keep you from owning hunting guns as well as many modern sporting military style semi-auto rifles.

    5. Clearly, the Republican leadership in the Senate and House must be held responsible.
      OK, we got it. The Republican leadership is impotent on: ObamaCare; TaxReform; the Wall; Trade; AND, any gun right beyond Social Security recipients and Vets. Thanks for the last two; now we want more. We would be happy if you just shut-down the Federal Government until you can get around to considering the gun rights legislation. But, if you won’t do that, well, then how about our gun rights now?
      Apparently, what we need is a Congress with Republicans that can pass some 2A and other liberty-promoting bills. Since the RINOs won’t do it; we will have to find some real-Republicans to run for the RINO’s seats in the Primary elections. If we can’t find any, we can allow the Democrats to take over either or both chambers. We don’t really need RINOs when we could have – instead – the genuine article: Democrats.
      It may take a few more biannual elections for the Republican message to understand how little purpose they serve if they can’t pass any of the items on Trump’s agenda. We aren’t asking for much; we just want our 2A back. We don’t want a slice of the budget they vote for their contributors. We aren’t asking for a tax-cut. We are’t asking for control over our own health-care. But, if the RINOs won’t even give us our 2A back, what purpose do they serve?

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