United States – -(AmmoLand.com)- Some attacks on our rights can be so subtle, they can be missed at first glance, even in a relatively short piece of legislation. In fact, these are the ones worth studying, if only to be more aware of them.
One such attack is contained in HR 4271, the Gun Suicide Prevention Act, introduced by Representative Julia Brownley (D-CA). At first glance, this very short piece of legislation – all of three pages long in the PDF provided at Congress.gov – seems very innocuous. All it requires is that the phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline be provided on a warning label that is included with every firearm sold.
Much of the discussion when it comes to attacks on our Second Amendment rights concern the misuse of firearms – often for homicides. But suicides involving firearms kill about twice as many people as homicides involving the misuse of firearms. Either way, the deaths involved target our rights, and reducing them is in the interest of Second Amendment supporters.
But looking closely at the bill reveals a serious land mine. The requirement to include the warning label amends the Consumer Product Safety Act. Now, we see the trap that has been laid by Representative Brownley.
This is because some anti-Second Amendment extremists, like the Violence Policy Center, have long sought to give unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats the power to order gun bans and recalls. Even with the Congressional Review Act, such bans could be very difficult to defeat. For starters, there would be a limited amount of time to pass the resolution, and if the President is anti-Second Amendment, then you’d need the two-thirds vote to override a veto.
Any law that allowed the Consumer Product Safety Commission to regulate firearms would represent a major shift in power from elected officials that are relatively easy to hold accountable (they have to face elections) to those same unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats. What we have with HR 4271 is just the first small step.
On the PR front, it is a brilliant move. Everyone wants to see suicides reduced. Having the number more available could save lives (and certainly would have more efficacy than many of the usual anti-Second Amendment schemes). Furthermore, a warning label is far less intrusive than waiting periods, licensing schemes, or even outright bans. The releases upon the defeat (or veto) of this bill from the likes of Charles Schumer and Jerrold Nadler seem to write themselves in your mind, don’t they?
While preventing suicides is a laudable goal, even the slightest opening to give the CPSC any power over our Second Amendment rights needs to be shut down. Second Amendment supporters need to contact their Representative and Senators and politely urge them to defeat this legislation, and to instead fund suicide prevention via other means. Failing that, this is a bill that should be loaded up with pro-Second Amendment legislation as amendments, like the Home Defense and Competitive Shooting Act, the FOPA improvements sought by Senator Daines, HR 5301, and the Firearms Interstate Commerce Reform Act, and your Senators and Representatives should be politely, but firmly, encouraged to do just that.
About Harold Hutchison
Writer Harold Hutchison has more than a dozen years of experience covering military affairs, international events, U.S. politics and Second Amendment issues. Harold was consulting senior editor at Soldier of Fortune magazine and is the author of the novel Strike Group Reagan. He has also written for the Daily Caller, National Review, Patriot Post, Strategypage.com, and other national websites.