New York – -(AmmoLand.com)- It seems there are a lot of efforts to attack so-called “gun trafficking.” This isn’t to say that guns don’t get smuggled to places like Chicago, New York City, or Baltimore. But “gun trafficking” is one issue that a lot of politicians use to make noise, and “solve.”
With rare exceptions, like the STOP Straw Purchasers Act (which increased penalties for straw purchases), most of the proposals to address this problem involve either direct attacks on Second Amendment rights (see gun rationing schemes like the one Virginia re-imposed), they involve some sort of registration scheme, or they simply add new laws when existing ones aren’t enforced.
One of those that falls into the third category is HR 4116, introduced by Representative Robin Kelly (D-IL). We’ve covered some of her past legislation, including the Keeping Guns From High-Risk Individuals Act and the Urban Progress Act. With that track record, this legislation clearly cannot be given the benefit of the doubt.
Here’s a reason why: One of the things Kelly does is to add another category of prohibited persons under 18 USC 922(d). This time, according to her legislation, it would be someone who “intends to sell or otherwise dispose of the firearm or ammunition in violation of a Federal law, or to sell or otherwise dispose of the firearm or ammunition to a person in another State in violation of a law of that State.”
Now, this seems unobjectionable at first. But first impressions can be deceiving. Where it gets tricky – and becomes a land mine for any honest Federal Firearms Licensee – is the fact that in the case of a straw purchaser, the person actually buying the gun is legally able to own a firearm. How is an FFL supposed to get that “reasonable belief” the gun is really going to someone else? Mind reading?
In addition, there are already plenty of tools that can be used to address a convicted felon who is running guns from Indiana to Chicago. Let’s just look at a few from 18 USC 922:
- 18 USC 922(a)(6) makes it a federal crime to make any false statement or to present a false ID to a FFL. Penalty: 10 years in prison.
- 18 USC 922(d) makes it a federal crime to provide a felon a firearm. Penalty: 10 years in prison.
- 18 USC 922(g) makes it a federal crime for a felon to possess a firearm. Penalty: 10 years in prison.
Then there are these provisions from 18 USC 924:
- 18 USC 924(b) provides for a 10-year sentence to ship, transport, or receive a firearm in interstate or foreign commerce if they know or have reason to believe a felony would be committed in that transaction.
- 19 USC 942(h) provides for a 10-year sentence for anyone provides a firearm knowing or having reason to believe it will be used in a crime of violence or drug-related crime.
Add it up and smuggling just one gun can put an undeniably bad guy away for a minimum of 20 years, and as many as 50 years. You can bet the folks who run guns from Indiana or other neighboring states to Chicago, or up I-95 to Baltimore and New York City aren’t just running one gun per trip. They’re probably carting a fair amount to make the trip worthwhile. There’s a similar calculation the NRA ran in 1999.
We really don’t need to discuss the other provision of Kelly’s bill – the new section 932 she would add – although it should be noted it makes giving your best friend a firearm as a gift illegal. It goes without saying that Second Amendment supporters need to contact their Senators and Representative and politely urge them to oppose HR 4116, and to instead support efforts like Project Guardian.
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.