U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- One thing to remember when legislation is introduced – it’s never just about what the stated goal is. You need to not only look at the text of the legislation but also who introduced it. Otherwise, it becomes very easy to walk into a trap that could cost us our rights.
One case in point is HR 3552, the Unlawful Gun Buyer Alert Act. This was introduced by Representative David Cicilline (D-RI). Cicilline has introduced a number of anti-Second Amendment bills, including the Untraceable Firearms Act of 2019. Such a track record means that he should not get the benefit of the doubt, even when the stated goal of the legislation is innocuous – or even praiseworthy.
The Unlawful Gun Buyer Alert Act purports to require that law enforcement be informed when a prohibited person tries to acquire a firearm (or actually does). Now, this is a laudable goal. Those who try to buy firearms in violation of the law ought to be punished. According to the text of the legislation, the local and state law enforcement agencies are to be notified, along with the local field office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Sounds good, right? Get the guy trying to illegally buy the firearm and hit him with the appropriate sentence after conviction. Well, there’s just a couple of problems. First, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives are nowhere to be seen – and isn’t that the agency that’s supposed to be handling that sort of thing?
That’s a minor problem. Beyond that bit of bureaucratic stuff comes the big issue: Not all of the denials issued by the National Instant Check System are legit.
In fact, a significant number of them are erroneous, and there is no effective appeals process for those who are caught up in those denials.
Now, there is legislation, the Firearms Due Process Protection Act that has been covered here on Ammoland, that would fix those problems, which you’d think would be a good thing so as to prevent wild goose chases – or worse, wrongful convictions that could land people some serious time in federal prison.
But Cicilline’s legislation lacks those measures that provide a modicum of fairness for people wishing to exercise their Second Amendment rights that have become the victims of a bureaucratic mix-up. The fact is, Cicilline’s poor track record on Second Amendment issues means his bill, as written, is a complete non-starter.
This is not to say that some notification when a prohibited person tries to buy a firearm isn’t warranted, but Cicilline’s bill is not the place to start, given the problems NICS has with erroneous denials. Therefore, Second Amendment supporters should contact their Senators and Representative and politely urge them to oppose HR 3552 and to instead support the Firearms Due Process Protection Act.
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.