Ghost Guns, and more

By Paul Day, Legislative Director

On January 30  2020, U.S. Rep. Henry Johnson (D-Ga) introduced HR 5717, the Gun Violence Prevention and Community Safety Act of 2020. A week later, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Ma) followed up with the Senate companion legislation, Senate Bill 3254. 

The bill would make drastic changes to the federal framework governing the sale, transfer, and possession of firearms and ammunition. It is is one of the most draconian anti Second Amendment bills in recent memory. Changes would include:

  • An outright ban on all semi-automatic firearms, including the AR-15
  • A federal licensing scheme for all gun purchases, generally requiring individuals to obtain a license to purchase, acquire, or possess a firearm or ammunition
  • It would raise the minimum age—from 18 years to 21 years—to purchase firearms and ammunition
  • It would mandate "universal" background checks, even between private-party sales. It would require law enforcement agencies to be notified following a firearms-related background check that results in a denial.
  • It would institute unconstitutional red flag laws, creating the statutory process for a family or household member to petition a court for an extreme risk protection order to remove firearms from an individual who "poses a risk" of committing violence
  • Creates a nationwide gun registry
  • Would impose a 30 percent tax on firearms and a 50 percent tax on ammunition
  • Would make it illegal to buy more than one gun a month
  • Removes limitations on the civil liability of gun manufacturers
  • Allows the Consumer Product Safety Commission to issue safety standards for firearms and parts
  • Promotes research on firearms safety and gun violence prevention as a public health problem
  • Bans the manufacture and possession of 3D printed or other guns or components that don't carry a serial number--referred to as "ghost guns."

Earlier in May, California Democratic Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris joined with Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and 12 other senators today to introduce a follow-on ghost gun bill, the Untraceable Firearms Act.

Claiming they had received reports that the public health and economic crises caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have spurred "an increase in demand for and sale of these untraceable weapons," the Senators said banning the sale of unfinished frames and receivers without the same federal restrictions as finished firerams would prevent builders from using them to construct untraceable guns. Their legislation would require that sellers hold a manufacturer’s license and that they put a serial number on the frame or receiver included in each kit, and that purchasers undergo a background check just as they would for a firearm purchase.

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"The strongest reason for people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government."
- Thomas Jefferson

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