Gun Legislation Introduced Since January 1st, 2017
With all the nation keyed up and triggered by last week’s horrible shooting in Florida, I thought it would be helpful to review the gun control legislation that has been introduced during the Trump presidency.
So, I went to govtrack.us and searched for any legislation related to guns introduced in the House or Senate since January 1st, 2017. A link to the full list is at the end of this article.
Note I omitted legislation that focused on legislative procedures, those that talked about Gun Violence Awareness Day or Month, those that were introduced to support other bills, and any others that didn’t really contain any “meat.” But I did not eliminate duplicate bills or bills that were essentially the same but introduced on different dates or in different chambers (House versus Senate).
- There were a total of 133 pieces of legislation introduced related to guns (based on my reading) between January 1st, 2017 and January 30th, 2018.
- Of these, 71 (53.4%) were introduced by Democrats, and 57 (46.6%) by Republicans.
- Of these, 39(29.3%) were introduced in the Senate and 94 (70.7%) in the House.
- Of these, 5 (3.8%) made it past the Introduction phase.
- Of those making it past the Introduction phase, 100% were introduced by Republicans (4 in the Senate and 1 in the House).
- The legislation proposed, almost without exception, is split down party lines as expected. Republican legislation is overwhelmingly aimed at making it easier to sell, possess, carry, and use firearms, while Democratic legislation is overwhelmingly aimed at making it harder to obtain, possess, carry, or use firearms. Notable exceptions include Rand Paul’s (R) bill to “prevent the militarization of Federal, State, and local law enforcement by Federal excess property transfers and grant programs,” and Carlos Curbelo’s (R) House bill matching Dianne Feinstein’s (D) bump stock Senate bill.
- It appears that most of the Republican legislation is very specific, covering a small subset of the population or particular organizations, while most of the Democratic legislation is broad-sweeping and aimed at addressing large sections of the population.
- Three different Republican House members introduced three different bills on the same day (June 20th) to allow members of Congress to carry concealed handguns anywhere in the U.S. — If ever there was a question of whether they consider themselves above the law, this should answer it. Hey Mr. Representative, if you are so worried that people might want to kill you for the job you are doing, maybe you should try to do a better job?
- There was a bill introduced by a Republican House member to include firearms in the list of property that is protected in the case of a bankruptcy. Because, you know, that is really a key gun issue these days…
- On the same day (June 29th), there was a bill introduced in the Senate called the SHUSH Act, and one in the House called the Hearing Protection Act. They were the same bill — to treat silencers the same as other firearms accessories. Nothing like being clever or downright deceitful in naming your bills, Republicans.
- Several Republican bills deal with the promotion of hunting and recreational shooting on public lands supported by funds going to wildlife and conservation funding, as though these things are all consistent with each other because they all deal with things traditionally happening outdoors. They like to use words like “modernization” and “update” as though they are just getting the law to be in line with how things are now.
- There are far too many old white guys in the House and Senate. (The web page I was using had pictures.)
- Some legislators really suck at naming their legislation.
- More than anything, this review shows me how inefficient the current legislature is. And maybe it is always that way, but to see that of the 133 bills related to guns, only 4 have even made it to committee discussions, and only one was enacted into law is pretty disheartening. Especially when you see which ones have moved forward, which we will review.
Legislation that has moved past the Introduction phase.
Here are the five bills that have had some kind of action since being introduced:
Ordered Reported: Returned to the chamber by a committee that reviewed it.
- S. 733: Sportsmen’s Act: This bill states U.S. policy that federal departments and agencies must facilitate the expansion and enhancement of hunting, noncommercial fishing, and recreational shooting opportunities on federal land; conserve and enhance aquatic systems and the management of game species and the habitat of those species on federal land; and consider hunting, noncommercial fishing, and recreational shooting opportunities as part of all federal plans for land, resource, and travel management.
- H.R. 3668: SHARE Act: To provide for the preservation of sportsmen’s heritage and enhance recreation opportunities on Federal land, and for other purposes.
Passed the House: To be voted on in the Senate.
- H.R. 38: Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017: The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act would allow any person with a concealed carry permit from one state to carry their weapon in any other state. It would also allow anybody with a concealed carry permit to do so on any federal land, such as national parks or national monuments.
- H.R. 1181: Veterans 2nd Amendment Protection Act: This bill prohibits, in any case arising out of the administration of laws and benefits by the Department of Veterans Affairs, any person who is mentally incapacitated, deemed mentally incompetent, or experiencing an extended loss of consciousness from being considered adjudicated as a mental defective for purposes of the right to receive or transport firearms without the order or finding of a judicial authority of competent jurisdiction that such person is a danger to himself or herself or others.
Enacted: Became a law.
- H.J.Res. 40: Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Social Security Administration relating to Implementation of the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007: Prevented Obama-era Public Law 115–8, which would have added people receiving Social Security checks for mental illnesses and people deemed unfit to handle their own financial affairs to the national background check database, from being enforced.