WASHINGTON, D.C. – The first procedural vote on legislation combining a popular concealed carry reciprocity bill with a ‘Fix NICS’ bill was held on Wednesday, and key player Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC) is defending combining the two pieces of legislation against attacks from conservative stalwarts that are cautioning against the move.
Hudson pushed back against some gun rights advocates concerns about the move in an interview Tuesday.
“I’m not sure where Massie is coming from. He says that he discovered late Friday night this plot from leadership to combine the bills, but we whipped a combined bill on Thursday, so it’s been public knowledge.His basic claim is that federal agencies will determine who ought to be on the NICS list, they’ll be able to expand the categories.But federal statute specifies what the categories are of folks who are federally prohibited from possessing a firearm, and it also says that only a judge can categorize someone mentally unfit to possess a firearm – it can’t be done administratively, it can’t be done by a doctor, it only can be done by a judge.So there are protections in statute that prevent what Massie is claiming could happen.We’ve got the votes in the House; this is going to pass Wednesday. I feel like this is the best chance we’ve ever had to see this into law. If you look at it, Senator Cornyn had an amendment in 2013 for constitutional carry and it got seven Democrat ‘Yes’ votes that are still in the Senate.”
“Although this [Fix NICS] bill was introduced in the Senate by a Republican, it has as its co-sponsors Diane Feinstein and Chuck Schumer. That gives me a little bit of cause for concern; reading the bill gives me even more cause for concern. […] They say they’re doing this because it will have a better chance of passing in the Senate…well folks if you think that Diane Feinstein and Chuck Schumer, two of the most anti-gun senators in congress, are going to suddenly want to improve your Second Amendment because they get some some legislation they’ve co-sponsored attached to it, then I think you should think again.
I didn’t come here to vote to put any more restrictions on your right to keep and bear arms, and I’m personally afraid that’s what this Fix NICS bill does.”
Hudson, and other well-intentioned advocates for the Second Amendment, are defending the ‘Fix NICS’ portion and its combination with the reciprocity piece by pointing to its language and current statute that they believe prevents the feared abuse.
So what do other Second Amendment groups think of the bill? Well the National Association for Gun Rights seems to share the same concerns as Massie expressed – that the ability to prevent some from owning firearms could be easily abused under the legislation.
“In terms of the mental health records, nothing in the current bill fixes the issues from the Nics Improvements Amendments Act from 2008, which allowed informal administrative bodies to “adjudicate” people as barred from owning firearms with no requirement that such bodies offer due process.
In particular the bodies need not offer an attorney without cost, as is required for other adjudications that may result in a loss of gun rights or other civil rights.
In particular the NIAA added a definition to 27 CFR 478.11:
[Adjudicated as a mental defective.
(a) A determination by a court, board, commission, or other lawful authority that a person, as a result of marked subnormal intelligence, or mental illness, incompetency, condition, or disease:
(1) Is a danger to himself or to others; or
(2) Lacks the mental capacity to contract or manage his own affairs.
(b) The term shall include –
(1) A finding of insanity by a court in a criminal case; and
(2) Those persons found incompetent to stand trial or found not guilty by reason of lack of mental responsibility pursuant to articles 50a and 72b of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, 10 U.S.C. 850a, 876b.]
All of the categories of people barred from owning firearms are supposed to be way [sic] to identify anti-social or dangerous people, before they do something bad with a firearm.
Some are based on a lack of connection to the US, some are based on a prior showing of hostility to the US, some are based on past bad acts. In the case of mental illness, none of those are required, although past bad acts are a category.”
With support from the Establishment leadership behind the combination effort, it is likely, as Hudson said, that the motion will get a favorable vote in the House Wednesday. Marrying the two pieces of legislation may be an easy way for the Swamp to kill Hudson’s National Concealed Carry Reciprocity bill, which is popular among conservatives, Republicans, and even a few Democrats.
Like Massie intimated, do you think Diane Feistein and Chuck Schumer are really going to fight for reciprocity just to get their NICS Fix? Perhaps, or maybe it will kill reciprocity and Democrats can turn around and tar Republicans for failing to pass what they’ll frame as a common sense improvement on background checks.
Either way, it doesn’t bode well for gun rights. Hoping to be proven wrong.