Democrat Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee (TX) introduced a gun control bill near the start of the current Congress that, if passed, could make California’s strict gun control laws seem tame by comparison.
H.R.127 states that its purpose is to “provide for the licensing of firearm and ammunition possession and the registration of firearms, and to prohibit the possession of certain ammunition.”
The bill calls for the U.S. Attorney General to establish a licensing and registration system through the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), which would increase the federal government’s ability to monitor gun owners’ purchases and the location of their firearms by requiring them to inform the government of the “make, model, and serial number” of the firearms that they own and adds that the firearm owner must tell the government “where the firearm is or will be stored.” In order to obtain a license, individuals must also complete “at least 24 hours of training.” Individuals can be stripped of their license and must get their licenses renewed.
The bill states that the information collected in the registration will be provided to all Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies and will also be provided to all branches of the United States Military.
In order to obtain a license to possess a firearm, an individual would need to be at least 21 years old and, in addition to undergoing a background check, would require that the individual undergo “a psychological evaluation” which could potentially involve “other members of the household in which the individual resides.” Under the bill, a person could have their constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms stripped from them if they’ve been hospitalized with a wide range of psychiatric disorders, including depression.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, approximately 17 million Americans suffered from a major depressive episode in 2017. That number is likely far higher at the current moment given the fact that the coronavirus pandemic has isolated many individuals and led to an increase in unemployment, factors that are generally associated with an increase in depression and suicide rates.
The bill also bans ammunition that is .50 caliber or larger and bans people from being able to possess magazines that are able to hold greater than 10 rounds of ammunition. The bill also forces people to pay an $800 fee to the government that insures them “against liability for losses and damages resulting from the use of any firearm by the person during the 1-year period that begins with the date the policy is issued.”
Lee has been criticized in the past for demonstrating a lack of understanding of firearms, saying in September 2019: “I’ve held an AR-15 in my hand, I wish I hadn’t. It is as heavy as 10 boxes that you might be moving. And the bullet that is utilized, a .50 caliber, these kinds of bullets need to be licensed and do not need to be on the street.”
AR-15s typically weigh on the high-end around 10 or 11 pounds but can be as light as 5.5-6.5 on the low-end. They do not fire a .50 caliber round, rather, they fire a significantly smaller .223 caliber round.
“I held an AR-15 in my hand, I wish I hadn’t. It is as heavy as 10 boxes that you might be moving. And the bullet that is utilized, a .50 caliber, these kinds of bullets need to be licensed and do not need to be on the street.” – Rep. @JacksonLeeTX18 pic.twitter.com/U71ir6BHZH
— Jason Howerton (@jason_howerton) September 23, 2019