Second Amendment Groups Expect New House Majority to Stand and Fight For Gun Owners

Gun Rights

Newly elected House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) tried to make hay with Republicans by starting the 118th Congress with a move to defund 87,000 new Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agents, but Second Amendment groups see the new Congress as a mixed blessing at best.

While McCarthy was touting efforts to rein in the IRS, Gun Owners of America (GOA) decried what it called a misguided effort to address illegal immigration and placate gun control proponents.

This does not align with the pro-gun agenda GOA and the National Rifle Association (NRA) hope will be pushed by the House majority.

According to a statement on the GOA website, a proposed law requiring the FBI to report anyone illegally in the country—based on information found in firearms purchase background checks—to Immigration and Customs Enforcement is “not a pro-gun bill.”

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A picture of Wayne LaPierre
A picture of Wayne LaPierre is seen at the National Rifle Association (NRA) booth during CPAC 2019. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

“This is why gun owners can’t blindly trust Congress to fight for our Second Amendment rights. We just ended Pelosi’s majority, but the new majority wants to use your gun rights as a bargaining chip in the border crisis,” the statement reads.

The GOA states that the National Instant Criminal Background System (NICS) is unreliable. It has prevented law-abiding citizens from making a legal gun purchase because an unqualified buyer shared the same last name, the GOA claimed.

The Act was initially introduced during the last session and is expected to be brought up again. However, one bill that has been reintroduced is getting a much warmer reception.

U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.) sponsored HR 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act (CCRA). The bill has 118 original cosponsors.

It would require a concealed firearm carry license from one state to be recognized in any other state as long as the license holder obeys the laws of that state. It also allows residents of constitutional carry states that don’t require a state-issued concealed carry license to carry a gun in other states as long as they obey those states’ laws.

Hudson first introduced CCRA in 2017. At that time, the bill passed the House on a vote of 231-198 but was not taken up by the Senate.

In a statement on his website, Hudson said constitutional rights should be recognized regardless of geography.

Epoch Times Photo
Gun Owners of America’s director of federal affairs Aidan Johnston says he was less than impressed with the first firearms bill of the 118th Congress. (Rebecca Cook/AFP via Getty Images)

“HR 38 guarantees the Second Amendment does not disappear when crossing an invisible state line,” Hudson wrote in his online statement.

Representatives of pro-Second Amendment groups lauded the bill and called on other members of Congress to support it.

“The U.S. Supreme Court recently affirmed that the fundamental right to keep and bear arms does not stop at a person’s front door. Congress should now affirm that the right to self-defense does not stop at a state line,” the statement quotes Jason Ouimet, executive director of the National Rifle Association-Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA), as saying.

The CCRA bill is first on the list of items the gun groups want to be addressed.

According to Aidan Johnston, director of federal affairs for the GOA, the concealed carry act is the most basic way Congress can respect Americans’ Constitutional rights.

“The CCRA will empower American Citizens to lawfully carry arms for their protection nationwide, without the illegal and unconstitutional restraints so many state and local governments place on their citizens,” Johnston wrote in a statement to The Epoch Times.

“Americans deserve to have their rights restored right now, and Mr. Hudson’s bill will do just that.”

Next on the list, according to Johnston, is for Congress to take control of federal agencies such as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and the FBI.

Johnston said the agencies have been “weaponized” against citizens in their ability to issue regulations that carry criminal penalties.

Containing Federal Overreach

The Second Amendment advocates pointed to a recent court decision as evidence of what can and should be done to rein in what they consider excesses of the federal agencies.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans ruled on Jan. 6 that an ATF ban on bump stocks was illegal because the ATF has no jurisdiction over the item. The ATF has issued open letters at least three times since 2010 stating that the bump stocks, which enable shooters to increase the rate of fire on certain rifles, were not firearms and not under the jurisdiction of the ATF.

The agency changed course at the behest of former President Donald Trump after bump stocks were used in a mass shooting in Las Vegas in October 2017. By Trump’s direction, the ATF changed its definition of “machine gun” and declared bump stocks illegal.

The Appeals Court ruled that since the ATF had already determined it had no jurisdiction over bump stocks under the National Firearms Act (NFA) and the NFA language had not changed; only Congress could legally ban them.

NRA spokesman Lars Dalseide said his organization is also dedicated to containing federal overreach.

“The NRA has several legislative priorities for the 118th Congress, in addition to seeing the pro-gun majority in the U.S. House provide a check against an unbalanced executive branch that is determined to deny law-abiding Americans of their right to self-defense,” Dalseide wrote in a statement to The Epoch Times.

Call For Process Correction

In addition to the CCRA, both organizations want Congress to stop allowing gun control legislation to be placed in funding bills and other “must-pass” legislation. They want each bill to be voted up or down based on its merits.

They also want Congress to pass the Stop Harassing Owners of Rifles Today Act (SHORT Act) introduced by Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kansas).

At issue is a device introduced in 2012 to assist shooters with disabilities and others who may need help shooting pistols built on the AR 15 platform. The stabilizing brace attaches to the rear of the pistol and the shooter’s forearm. This allows the shooter a steadier aim while holding the pistol with one hand.

In 2014, the ATF received requests from law enforcement and firearms dealers about the possible reclassification of pistols equipped with stabilizers as short-barreled rifles (SBR) under the National Firearms Act (NFA).

They were concerned that the brace could be used as a stock, allowing the shooter to shoulder the pistol like a rifle.

The ATF is expected to issue a ruling any day on whether the devices classify the pistols as short-barreled rifles (SBR), which are illegal under the National Firearms Act.

The pro-gun groups say the ruling could make up to 40 million gun owners criminals overnight.

SHORT Act Supported

Marshall’s bill would remove short-barreled rifles, short-barreled shotguns, and certain other weapons from the definition of firearms for purposes of the National Firearms Act and out from under ATF jurisdiction.

GOA and NRA have both voiced support for the SHORT Act.

Both national organizations vowed to keep fighting for Americans’ Second Amendment rights. However, they said their work would be for naught unless their respective memberships get involved. Entities can make statements, but politicians must hear from the voters who put them in office.

“Our demands are simply that elected officials obey the oaths they took to uphold the Constitution and defend our God-given rights. Unfortunately, House Republicans need that simple fact burned into their minds, which is why GOA needs your help,” the group’s webpage reads.

Dalseide echoed a similar sentiment on behalf of the NRA.

“Now, more than ever, it’s vital that our members and supporters understand any local and federal threats to their rights, voice their opposition, and hold their elected representatives accountable for their actions,” Dalseide said.

Michael Clements

Michael Clements has more than 30 years of experience in print journalism, having worked at newspapers in Alabama, Florida, Texas, and Oklahoma. He focuses mainly on the Second Amendment and individual rights. He is based in Durant, Oklahoma.

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