The bill originated in the US Senate by a group of ten Republicans led by Texas Senator John Cornyn and ten Democrats led by Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy. All Democrats in the Senate voted for the gun control bill. Fifteen Republicans crossed party lines to back the bill blocking a filibuster and sending S2938 to the House of Representatives for approval.
Nancy Pelosi’s House swiftly passed the bill and sent it to President Biden’s desk for his signature. Once the President signs the bill, the act will become law.
This act is the most significant gun control measure passed by Congress since the 1990s. Anti-gun groups celebrated the gun control victory.
Almost all gun rights groups opposed the bill even though John Cornyn claimed to have worked with gun rights groups. The bill has several provisions that these groups claim violate America’s Second Amendment rights, the equal protection clause, and the due process clause of the Constitution.
The first trouble section of the bill will provide funding for states to enact already proven deadly “red flag” laws. The laws allow the police to remove firearms from the homes of people they believe to be a threat to themselves or others. Red flag laws are also known as extreme risk protection orders (ERPO). Some gun rights groups refer to these orders as gun confiscation orders.
A judge signs these orders in secret, and the gun owner doesn’t have the ability to defend themselves in a court of law or even know about the hearing until the police raid their home and take their property. Gun rights advocates claim that these orders violate a person’s civil rights by violating the Fifth Amendment and the due process clause of the United States Constitution.
A second troubling provision of the bill is the closing of the so-called “boyfriend loophole.” This provision expands on who is prohibited from owning a firearm to someone who is dating or has “recently” dated a person who is prohibited from owning a gun. The idea is to stop a person who is prohibited from possessing a firearm from getting their significant other to buy a gun for them.
The problem is that the law punishes someone for the actions of another person. Also, the future law isn’t clear about what it considers “dating” and doesn’t define “recently.” If someone breaks up with a violent person, the law prevents them, the potential victim, from getting a tool to defend themselves!?
The law also changes who must get a federal firearms license (FFL). The future law requires anyone that buys a gun to make a profit to get an FFL. Many collectors will purchase firearms at a good price that they plan to sell in the future for a profit. Many worry that the new requirements will prevent this practice.
The law also enacts enhanced background checks on gun buyers under 21. The juvenile records of the gun buyer will be examined. The enhanced background checks will take around three days but can take up to ten days. Some believe this provision violates the Equal Protection Claus of the Constitution.
Also, gun owners will lose their gun rights for five years for a domestic violence misdemeanor. This provision expands on who is a prohibited person. If the gun owner doesn’t have any additional charges, the person will have their gun rights restored after five years.
The next stop for the bill is President Joe Biden’s desk, where the President is expected to sign it into law.
About John Crump
John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, or at www.crumpy.com.