Rights, privileges and the licencing of gun owners

If anyone was wondering when the first anti-gun legislation would hit the floor in the U.S., the wait is over.

From the NRA:

U.S. Representative Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) recently sponsored H.R. 45, also known as “Blair Holt’s Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act.” The bill is, at its core and as its name implies, a licensing and registration scheme.

The measure calls for all handgun owners to submit to the federal government an application that shall include, among many other things: a photo; an address; a thumbprint; a completed, written firearm safety test; private mental health records; and a fee. And those are only some of the requirements to be licensed!

The bill would further require the attorney general to establish a database of every handgun sale, transfer, and owner’s address in America. Moreover, the bill would make it illegal to own or possess a “qualifying firearm” — defined as “any handgun; or any semiautomatic firearm that can accept any detachable ammunition feeding device…” [emphasis added] without one of the proposed licenses.

Additionally, the bill would make it illegal to transfer ownership of a “qualifying firearm” to anyone who is not a licensed gun dealer or collector (with very few exceptions), and would require “qualifying firearm” owners to report all transfers to the attorney general’s database. It would also be illegal for a licensed gun owner to fail to record a gun loss or theft within 72 hours, or fail to report a change of address within 60 days. Further, if a minor obtains a firearm and injures someone with it, the owner of the firearm may face a multiple-year jail sentence.

H.R. 45 is essentially a reintroduction of H.R. 2666, which Rush introduced in 2007. H.R. 2666 contained much of the same language as H.R. 45, and was co-sponsored by several well-known anti-gun legislators–including Barack Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel. H.R. 45 currently has no co-sponsors.

With the 2nd Amendment of the U.S. constitution being confirmed by their Supreme Court, I look at what this legislation is trying to accomplish and I wonder if it passes the test.

In Canada we learned the difference between rights and privileges a number of years ago when our Federal Firearms Act came into being. We had always talked about our “rights” to own firearms. But they weren’t constitutionally protected as in the U.S. and when licencing came into effect we found to our dismay that our perceived “right” had overnight been converted to a “privilege”. Ergo, you don’t have a right if you have to apply and pay for it.

With that in mind, it seems to my layman thinking that Rep. Rush’s bill, when it talks about licencing to say nothing of all the compliance conditions, is in direct conflict with the constitutional right embodied in the 2nd Amendment.

Hopefully this bill – so far with no co-sponsors – will be nipped in the bud and save a whole lot of legal wrangling.


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3 Responses to “Rights, privileges and the licencing of gun owners”

  1. Alphecca » Gun Control Crowd: Yes We Can! Says:

    […] Democratic Congress respects the Second Amendment SO MUCH that they are rushing to introduce handgun registration. How do you like it, so […]

  2. Anti-Gun Knuckleheads Crawling out of the Wordwork « Truth, Lies and In Between Says:

    […] Democratic Congress respects the Second Amendment SO MUCH that they are rushing to introduce handgun registration. How do you like it, so […]

  3. dtmf Says:

    Bobby Rush is an ex Black Panther party leader by the way.
    Just an interesting fact I thought was worth passing along.

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