By Daniel Bobinski
On January 30, HR-5717 was introduced in the House of Representatives. The “Gun Violence Prevention and Community Safety Act” is like the PATRIOT Act and the CARES act. Sounds great on the surface, but if enacted, the bill violates part of the Constitution.
The bill’s stated purpose is to, “end the epidemic of gun violence and build safer communities by strengthening Federal firearms laws and supporting gun violence research, intervention, and prevention initiatives.”
As I said, sounds great. But according to congress.gov, here’s what the bill does:
- generally requires individuals to obtain a license to purchase, acquire, or possess a firearm or ammunition;
- raises the minimum age—from 18 years to 21 years—to purchase firearms and ammunition;
- establishes new background check requirements for firearm transfers between private parties;
- requires law enforcement agencies to be notified following a firearms-related background check that results in a denial;
- creates a statutory process for a family or household member to petition a court for an extreme risk protection order to remove firearms from an individual who poses a risk of committing violence;
- restricts the import, sale, manufacture, transfer, or possession of semiautomatic assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition feeding devices;
- restricts the manufacture, sale, transfer, purchase, or receipt of ghost guns (i.e., guns without serial numbers);
- makes trafficking in firearms a stand-alone criminal offense;
- requires federally licensed gun dealers to submit and annually certify compliance with a security plan to detect and deter firearm theft;
- removes limitations on the civil liability of gun manufacturers;
- allows the Consumer Product Safety Commission to issue safety standards for firearms and firearm components;
- establishes a community violence intervention grant program; and
- promotes research on firearms safety and gun violence prevention.
To start with, most of the bullet points on this list (taken verbatim from congress.gov) violate four simple words found in the second amendment: “shall not be infringed.” Specifically, the second amendment wording is,
"A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
For supporters of Nancy Pelosi, Google tells us that “infringed” means, “act so as to limit or undermine (something); encroach on.” But if we want to swing back to Daniel Webster’s 1828 dictionary, “infringe” also means to violate an agreement.
With that in mind, we must remember that the Bill of Rights (the first ten amendments) was written to assure the states of what the Federal Government could not do. Each state had its own militia, and they didn’t want the Federal Government instituting standing armies in their states like King George had done, and thus overrule their own state militias.
Thus, the Federal Government put it in writing that people had the right to keep and bear arms.
Do states still have militias today? Yes, they do. Living in Idaho, I find a clear definition of a militia in my state’s Constitution:
Article XIV, Section 1: PERSONS SUBJECT TO MILITARY DUTY.
All able-bodied male persons, residents of this state, between the ages of eighteen and forty-five years, shall be enrolled in the militia, and perform such military duty as may be required by law.
The same is true for anyone living in California:
Military and Division Code, Division 2, Part 1, Chapter 2, Article 1, Section 122:
The militia of the State consists of all able-bodied male citizens and all other able-bodied males who have declared their intention to become citizens of the United States, who are between the ages of eighteen and forty-five.
Same as for anyone living in Texas.
Government Code, Title 4, Subtitle C, Chapter 431, Subchapter A, Section 431.001:
(1) "Reserve militia" means the persons liable to serve, but not serving, in the state military forces.
(2) "State militia" means the state military forces and the reserve militia.
Title XVII, Chapter 250, SECTION 02:
(1) The militia consists of all able-bodied citizens of this state and all other able-bodied persons who have declared their intention to become citizens.
(2) The organized militia is composed of the National Guard and any other organized military forces that are authorized by law.
(3) The unorganized militia is composed of all persons who are subject to military duty but who are not members of units of the organized militia.
Space does not permit the printing of each state’s militia code, but as can be seen by these state’s laws, the second amendment was not about deer hunting. To this day, state constitutions declare that everyone aged 18 through 45 who can serve in the military but isn’t serving in the military can be called organized, unorganized, or inactive militia.
HR-5717 violates state laws
Look again at the second bullet point in HR 5717: It raises the minimum age—from 18 years to 21 years—to purchase or possess firearms and ammunition.
If HR-5717 were to pass, younger members of each state’s militia would not be allowed to fulfill their obligation to their state.
In Idaho, where I live, each county is supposed to have its own militia. In my county, organized (non-military) militia members must have at least one sidearm and at least one long gun, plus have a supply of ammunition. HR-1517 would immediately make criminals of everyone aged 18, 19, and 20 who are active members of our organized militia.
HR-5717 endangers members of state militias
From a practical standpoint, HR-5717 would severely endanger law-abiding citizens and militia members and restrict them from serving their governors and protecting their state’s interests. As stated:
[HR-5717] restricts the import, sale, manufacture, transfer, or possession of semiautomatic assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition feeding devices;
Criminals will not care about these restrictions. Those watching the events of CHAZ / CHOP in Seattle, saw semi-automatic “assault” weapons being handed out to random people. It doesn’t take much thinking to realize that a law-abiding militia member with a single shot rifle protecting his or her state’s interests is going to be at a serious disadvantage facing a street thug who’s firing an AR-15.
HR-5717 encroaches on common sense
Under HR-5717, a license would be required simply to purchase or possess ammunition. Want to buy your brother a couple of boxes of ammo for his birthday? Not without a license.
It also removes civil liability restrictions from gun manufacturers. This part of the proposed law would allow people to sue a gun manufacturer because of death or injury caused by someone using that manufacturer’s gun. Here’s a parallel analogy, see if it makes sense to you: A crazed ex-wife drives her Mercedes-Benz over her newly remarried ex-husband, and the dead man’s new wife sues Mercedes-Benz.
Also, if the Consumer Product Safety Commission is empowered to issue safety standards for firearms and firearm components, runaway rules will be created and capriciously enforced. It wouldn’t take long for citizens to endure random inspections by low-level government employees, complete with confiscations by people justifying their jobs – or being told to confiscate weapons by corrupt officials or political opponents.
Anyone who’s heard the nightmare stories coming out of the old Soviet Union will get to experience similar police-state tactics right here in America if HR-5717 becomes law.
Without a doubt, one could write a book on how much this bill violates the 2nd amendment.
In closing, it should be noted that the epidemic of gun violence will not be quelled by stricter gun laws. Sixty years ago, high schools in America had shooting clubs with high-schoolers regularly bringing their guns to school. Guns were common and violence was not.
Yet today, cities in America with the strictest gun control laws have the highest crime rates and the highest murder rates per capita.
What’s the difference between then and now? Wickedness has increased. The hearts of many have grown cold. And no legislative bill can fix that.
FOOTNOTE: For those who care, HR-5717 was introduced by Rep. Henry C. "Hank" Johnson, Jr., the same Congressman who openly stated his concern that the island of Guam might capsize if we stationed too many Marines on it.
Daniel Bobinski, M.Ed. is a certified behavioral analyst, best-selling author, columnist, corporate trainer, and keynote speaker. He’s also a veteran and a self-described Christian Libertarian who believes in the principles of free market capitalism – while standing firmly against crony capitalism.