New Bill Gives the Attorney General the Power to Block Gun Sales to ‘Suspected’ Terrorists

More than two dozen Democrats in the House and Senate — and one Republican — want to give the U.S. attorney general the power to block the sale of guns and explosives to known terrorists, and also to anyone who is “appropriately suspected” of being a terrorist.

The Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act was introduced this week by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.). They say it makes no sense that people on the terrorist watch list are prohibited from boarding airplanes in the United States, but are still free to buy guns and explosives.

“Federal law already prohibits nine categories of dangerous persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, including the mentally ill and criminals,” said King. “Yet, after almost 14 years, we still allow suspected terrorists the ability to purchase firearms. It’s time for common sense to prevail before it’s too late.”

Feinstein and King noted that according to GAO, people on the terrorist watch list who tried to buy a weapon in 2013 and 2014 were successful about 93 percent of the time.

But it seems unlikely that a GOP-led House and Senate will agree to give the attorney general the power to stop gun sales, especially with President Barack Obama still in office for the next two years.

Under the bill, the attorney general would be able to stop the transfer of a gun or explosive to a “known or suspected” terrorist if it’s possible the person might use the firearm in connection with terrorism. The bill language says the attorney general can stop the transfer if he or she “has a reasonable belief that the prospective transferee may use a firearm in connection with terrorism.”

Sales could be blocked to anyone known to be involved in terrorist activities, or anyone who is “appropriately suspected.” That term is used throughout the bill but is never defined, and would likely be a cause for alarm by defenders of the Second Amendment who might worry about giving the attorney general too much discretion in deciding who is “appropriately suspected” of terrorism.

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Cornyn Introduces Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act In Senate

Texas Senator John Cornyn has announced the “Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act” today, a bill that will establish the same sort of “common sense” acceptanace of concealed carry permits that everyone in the country currently enjoys for driver’s licenses.

It would be utterly absurd to think that a drive from New York to Florida would require you to go through the process of driver’s education, a driving test, and obtaining a driver’s license for New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, but that is exactly the problem currently face by concealed carriers in the United States today.

Thanks to a bizarre patchwork of “may issue” and “shall issue” laws, and arbitrary and ever-changing reciprocity agreements between various state attorney generals, it is functionally impossible to know from month-to-month or state-to-state where a citizen with a concealed carry license can legally carry a firearm. If his or her information isn’t up to date, an otherwise law-abiding citizen could run afoul of obscene and parochial local laws, as did Shaneen Allen did when she crossed a bridge from Pennsylvania as a lawful concealed carry permit holder, only to become a “criminal” the moment she touched New Jersey soil.

Cornyn’s bill—and several similar reciprocity bills soon to be introduced into the House of Representatives—will go a long way towards establishing safe and sane carry laws within the United States.

The bill will allow law-abiding citizens to exercise their rights without running into local reciprocity “traps” that could turn them into felons, while concealed carriers would still be subject to the laws of the states in which they are travels in regards to the laws that they must follow in terms of keeping it concealed, where they can carry, and when they may use force.

It’s also important to note what Cornyn’s bill does and does not do:

Does not establish national standards for concealed carry.
Does not provide for a national concealed carry permit.
Respects state laws concerning specific types of locations in which firearms may not be carried and types of firearms which may not be carried by the visiting individual.
Protects states’ rights by not mandating the right to concealed carry in places that do not allow the practice, like Washington, D.C.
Does not allow a resident to circumvent their home state’s concealed carry permit laws.
If under current law an individual is prohibited by federal law from carrying a firearm, they will continue to be prohibited from doing so under our bill.
There is broad-based, bipartisan support for this legislation in the Senate, and it is expected to easily pass.

It remains to be seen what version of a reciprocity agreement will come out of the House of Representatives, but the eventual bill in the house should be easily reconcilable with the Senate version.

If the bill passed and reconciled in both houses of Congress as is expected, the reciprocity bill will then head to President Obama’s desk… where the most anti-gun President in American history is likely to veto the popular legislation.

It will then become very interesting to see if Congress can then amass the votes to push the Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act into law by over-riding President Obama’s expected veto.

I am cautiously optimistic.

Update: The NRA has offered immediate support for the legislation, saying in part:

“The current patchwork of state and local laws is confusing for even the most conscientious and well-informed concealed carry permit holders. This confusion often leads to law-abiding gun owners running afoul of the law when they exercise their right to self-protection while traveling or temporarily living away from home,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA-ILA. “Senator Cornyn’s legislation provides a much needed solution to a real problem for law-abiding gun owners.”


BREAKING: Federal Ban on Standard Capacity Magazines Introduced by Congressional Democrats

It looks like the anti-gun Democrats are back at it in Congress once again. This time they are looking to bring back the federal ban on magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds. Those of you who lived through the first federal “assault weapons ban” know how troublesome this legislation is.

The new bill is sponsored by Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) in the Senate. In a released statement he said:

“There is no place in our communities for ammunition magazines designed for military-style shootouts, which have been used inside Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Aurora, in Fort Hood, and in Tucson – and it is well-past time for Congress to listen to the American people and put this high-capacity magazine ban back in place.”

In the House, the legislation will be introduced by Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-CT). She compared gun deaths to car deaths. In a statement she said, “This year is the first year in U.S. history that gun deaths will exceed car deaths. We should be ashamed.”

What Etsy didn’t mention is that stat is likely true not because deaths associated with firearms are going up (they aren’t), but because new safety technology has greatly reduced the number of automotive deaths over the last two decades. An extremely misleading statement.

Click here for the full text of the House version of the bill in PDF format.

The bill has no grandfather period for existing magazines. Existing magazines would be illegal to own and would be purchased by the federal government (using taxpayer money of course).

Fortunately, the GOP has a solid majority in both houses of Congress so this probably isn’t even going to make it out of committee, let alone pass multiple floor votes. However, it is an important reminder that there are plenty of lawmakers at the federal level that would like to see your Second Amendment rights limited.


U.S. Representative Massie Proposes Repeal of Federal Gun-Free School Zones Act

esterday, Congressman Thomas Massie (R-KY) introduced H.R. 86, the Safe Students Act, which would repeal the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990.

The bill, originally introduced by Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) in 2007, repeals the Gun-Free School Zones Act (GFSZA) of 1990, which makes it “unlawful for any individual knowingly to possess a firearm at a place that the individual knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, is a school zone.” In 1995, the Supreme Court held the GFSZA unconstitutional, which prompted Congress to amend the bill in 1996. The Supreme Court has not ruled on the constitutionality of the amended Act.

“Gun-free school zones are ineffective. They make people less safe by inviting criminals into target-rich, no-risk environments,” said Massie. “Gun-free zones prevent law-abiding citizens from protecting themselves, and create vulnerable populations that are targeted by criminals.”

Representative Massie concluded: “A bigger federal government can’t solve this problem. Weapons bans and gun-free zones are unconstitutional. They do not and cannot prevent criminals or the mentally ill from committing acts of violence. But they often prevent victims of such violence from protecting themselves.”

As John Lott, author of More Guns, Less Crime writes, “Ask yourself: Would you feel safer with a sign on your house saying ‘this house is a gun-free zone’? But if you wouldn’t put these signs on your home, why put them elsewhere?”

Original Cosponsors include: Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-MS), Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK), and Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC).

Congressman Massie is Chairman of the Second Amendment Caucus in the 114th Congress.


2015 Texas Pre-Legislative Roundup

The following bills relating to firearms have been filed for the upcoming January 13 – June 1, 2015 Texas legislative session. Bills are still being written at this time, and can be submitted as late as March 3, 2015 for inclusion in this legislative session.

  • HB 195
    Relating to the carrying of handguns; providing for the open carrying of handguns; removing the requirement that a person who may lawfully possess handguns obtain a Concealed Handgun License in order to carry a handgun lawfully in the state of Texas, and conforming changes.
  • HB 164
    Relating to the authority of a person who is licensed to carry a handgun to openly carry the handgun; providing penalties.
  • HB 422
    Relating to the enforcement of certain federal laws regulating firearms, firearm accessories, and firearm ammunition within the State of Texas.
  • HB 106
    Relating to the authority of a person who is licensed to carry a handgun to openly carry the handgun; providing penalties.
  • HB 198
    Relating to the carrying of concealed handguns by certain persons attending a school board meeting.
  • HB 216
    Relating to the eligibility of a person for a license to carry a concealed handgun.
  • HB 266
    Relating to certain offenses relating to carrying concealed handguns on property owned or leased by a governmental entity; providing a civil penalty.
  • HB 206
    Relating to an exemption from the sales tax for firearms and hunting supplies for a limited period.
  • SB 124
    Relating to certain criminal offenses concerning the unlawful transfer or purchase of certain weapons.
  • SB 179
    Relating to the handgun proficiency required to obtain or renew a concealed handgun license.
  • HB 176
    Relating to protection of the right to keep and bear arms within the State of Texas.
  • HB 278
    Relating to authorizing certain attorneys representing the state to openly carry a handgun.
  • HB 308
    Relating to the places where a person may carry a handgun if the person is licensed to carry a concealed handgun.
  • HB 291
    Relating to the authority of a person who is licensed to carry a handgun to openly carry the handgun; providing penalties.
  • HB 284
    Relating to the handgun proficiency required to obtain or renew a concealed handgun license.
  • HB 172
    Relating to municipal regulation of electric stun guns, knives, and personal defense sprays.
  • HB 413
    Relating to protection of the right to keep and bear arms within the State of Texas.
  • HB 353
    Relating to the application of certain weapons laws to certain volunteer emergency services personnel licensed to carry a concealed handgun.
  • HB 415
    Relating to the authority of a person who is licensed to carry a handgun to openly carry the handgun; providing penalties.
  • HB 421
    Relating to exempting the intrastate manufacture of a firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition from federal regulation.
  • SB 228
    Relating to an exemption from the sales tax for firearms and hunting supplies for a limited period.
  • SB 229
    Relating to the unlawful seizure of a firearm by a governmental officer or employee; providing penalties.