As a native Texan, I am exposed to pro-gun propaganda on the daily. Logging on Facebook, I see friends and family posed with their ammo at a gun range, or next to a deer they hunted. Whether or not I agree with gun ownership does not matter (for the sake of this post). While I have personal opinions on the issue, I do understand that the 2nd Amendment guarantees citizens the right to bear arms. I also understand that there are plenty of normal, law-abiding people in the country that own guns with zero problems. The south accounts for the majority of registered gun owners in the United States, with the great state of Texas topping that list with over 800,000 registered owners. Folks love their guns, their rights to guns, and the accessibility to guns here in the south- and without fail, any effort to minimize these things is met with enormous uproar and disagreement.
On January 4th of this new year, Dallas congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee introduced bill H.R. 127 to the House of Representatives. This new bill proposes that all gun owners become licensed, and that certain ammunition would be prohibited to own. I learned about this new bill through social media, and saw the outrage and concern that many people expressed. I decided to do some research to see exactly what was happening, so that people can hopefully spread truthful information and not rumors.
All bills are available to the public online through Congress.gov. At the time of this post, however, not much information is available about the bill. Usually, the entirety of the text is viewable online- but, seeing how this bill was only introduced a week or so ago, the website might take some time to update. This provides the opportunity to dig into other bills on gun control.
For those that do not know how bills are passed into law, I will provide a brief and simplified explanation. (Alternatively, you can watch this groovy video from Schoolhouse Rock.): A bill is introduced to the House of Representatives. The House must vote on the bill, and if it receives the majority vote, is moves on to the Senate. The Senate votes on the bill, and if it passes then the bill is given to the President who then signs the bill to become law. So, to refute those who think the H.R. 127 bill is already being implemented, is actually has a long way to go before then!
Most bills around gun control and reform that have been passed by the House have largely been over turn by the Senate. Two bills from February 2019 that proposed background checks for gun owners is still sitting in the Senate, untouched! The likely reason for this lays within the party divisions of each legislative branch. Even during the Trump administration, the House of Representatives held a Democratic majority which contributed to the House’s ability to pass more progressive bills. However, the Senate has been Republican led until recently, which explains their inability to pass bills that conservative members disagree with. Now that the Senate is tied in party members (50 Democrat, 50 Republican), these types of bills might have a higher chance of being passed- especially with the help of new Senate President, Kamala Harris.
Let’s say that H.R. 127 is passed, signed into law, and implemented. What would this type of bill look like in action? Well, as of right now, only 8 states in the U.S. implement gun registration laws. If all 50 states were to implement this, there would be huge adjustments in current practices. Moreover, having all gun owners oblige to licensing laws would mean the time between gun-application and gun-ownership would extend greatly. Usually, gun licensing require applicants to be present at law enforcement agencies- not only that, but the acquisition and renewal of a gun license might require special training or classes that further delays applicants from legally owning firearms. While there are both benefits and consequences to these requirements, most opponents to gun-control laws are concerned most with infringement to their 2nd amendment rights; applying for a license, paying multiple fees, attending training, and registering a weapon creates multiple scenarios that could prevent certain people from accessing guns.
When more information on this bill becomes available, I will provide an updated post. Right now, lots of chaos is happening within the government and I am sure that there will be more important matters in the House and Senate hands at the moment (i.e. impeaching Trump!). I hope this post clearifies the H.R. 127 bill for those curious.
What are your thoughts on this bill? Are you a supporter of gun reform?