On Wednesday, the Republican controlled house voted to further federalize gun laws in this country.
While Ryan McMaken has noted the danger in further centralizing gun legislation, there is another deeply troubling aspect to this bill: it expands the ability of the Federal government to restrict Americans’ right to bear arms.
During the legislative process, the NRA supported merging the bill aimed at nationalizing concealed carry permits with another piece of legislation aimed at “fixing” the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS.) Obviously this legislation was inspired by the failure of the US Air Force to report the criminal record of Devin Kelley, who went on to commit a horrific shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas. While the motivation to do something after this atrocity is entirely natural, unfortunately this bill is simply another example of the Federal government using its own failure to justify expanding its own power.
After all, the “Fix NICS” bill doesn’t seek to punish the US Air Force for its failure to properly process paperwork. Instead, it provides $760 million in additional funding for the Department of Justice to establish new guidelines to ensure compliance among Federal agencies. That funding can also be used “to ensure maximum coordination” between State government and Indian tribes with the NICS.
While the idea of bolstering the already existing Federal gun registry may strike some as relatively benign, it’s important to understand how it has been used in the past.