House Democrats passed a series of strict gun regulations this week, banning so-called “high capacity magazines” and instituting a handful of “protections” to keep guns out of the hands of undesirable potential owners, but behind the scenes, prominent Dems are backing away from proposals that would create a national ban on the sale and ownership of “assault” weapons.
Bearing Arms reports that House Democrats, led by Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), passed three “gun control” bills on Tuesday: “a measure offering grants to states to set up ‘red flag’ laws, a prohibition on gun ownership for those convicted of misdemeanor hate crimes, and a ban on magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.”
The bills have little hope of becoming law; Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has already said that, while the Senate will consider possible gun control legislation, it is not planning on adopting any bills authored and passed exclusively by Democrats — and that includes the three bills that passed the House this week. The bills have their own problems: it’s not immediately clear that either “red flag” or “hate crime” restrictions on gun ownership pass constitutional muster, and leftists are notoriously hard to pin down on what they consider a “high capacity magazine.”
But the point is, of course, to put pressure on both McConnell and the White House to tackle gun control ahead of the 2020 elections, largely because the issue appeals to many middle-of-the-road Americans who believe America lacks strict gun laws, and because the issue splits Republicans. While many have expressed skepticism with any proposed gun regulation, the president and prominent leaders like Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), have promised that some gun control legislation will be forthcoming.
The White House is, reportedly, still championing the idea of passing a national “red flag” law that could give the friends and family of gun owners and law enforcement officials the ability to petition to have a gun owner’s rights revoked and their weapons confiscated. Critics have repeatedly pointed out, however, that the law appears to be a violation of the constitution’s guarantee of due process, and could unnecessarily infringe on Second Amendment rights.
But even as Democrats celebrate their “victory” over guns in the House, the regulations they’ve passed seem strangely minimal. Democrats have a clear majority in the House and, with twenty-five or more candidates for president on the campaign trail, can easily dominate the media. But instead of passing major gun reform — like, say, a ban on so-called “assault” weapons — they’re sticking to the small issues.
That may seem surprising, but it turns out that, while Democratic presidential candidates are publicly championing extreme-left gun policies, like a national “buyback” program that could naturally result in mass weapons confiscations, prominent Democratic lawmakers are backing off any major movement on gun control, especially that assault weapons ban.
The New York Times reports that some moderate Democrats — especially those running for office next year in decidedly purple districts — won’t sign on to a blanket assault weapons ban, leaving Democrats around ten votes shy of getting the ban passed in a branch of Congress that they control.
That’s right: the ban is so unpopular that Democrats aren’t able to marshal their own to support a bill that has no hope of passage.
“Let’s be honest,” Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) told the NYT. “Every other bill that we’ve done tries to keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them. This is the one piece of legislation that keeps a particular weapon out of the hands of law-abiding citizens. A lot of people have enormous objections to that.”
Notably, Dems aren’t proposing other major gun control legislation to expand federal background checks or close the “gun show loophole” so that even private sellers would be required to run a background check.