The “infamous gun show loophole?” Do you perhaps mean the “gun show loophole myth?” That’s the one that was based on a 1994 survey that even the author said wasn’t statistically valid. All of 251 people out of more than 2,400 responded to the question, saying they acquired a firearm in the past two years.
Here’s how that myth plays out in reality.
I actually think Representative Crenshaw, far from being a coward, is exhibiting an admirable amount of courage. He is actually standing up to the flood of fecal matter being pushed by those who haven’t had a new idea in nearly 30 years — and none of their old ones were good ideas in the first place.
He is right: the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 is overreach. In fact, it exceeds the powers of Congress that are spelled out in the U.S. Constitution. Not in the Second Amendment; in Article 1, Section 8, paragraph 3, better known as the Commerce Clause. It also violates the Tenth Amendment, which says powers not specifically granted to the federal government are vested in the states and the people.
After reading the text of the act, I consulted Stephen Halbrook, an authority on the Second Amendment and an attorney who has successfully argued cases before the Supreme Court. I asked Mr. Halbrook to check and see if my conclusions about the House legislation was correct. Mr. Halbrook replied that they were and that the bill was “facially unconstitutional.”
If enacting a law that is unlikely to survive a challenge based on Congress’ lack of authority to pass such a law isn’t overreach, than what is?
If the author is mad about Rep. Crenshaw telling the truth, there’s not much hope for rational thought on the subject.
The Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 could be passed by a state without violating the Constitution.
It seems the author has overlooked the minor, but very important fact the the United States is a federated republic of fifty sovereign states. Within a state’s borders it has far more regulatory power than the federal government.
If all the constitutional issues aren’t enough reason for Rep. Crenshaw to oppose this measure, how about this: in most states, it’s unenforceable.
The Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 contains the seeds of its own irrelevance. There is a prohibition on gun registration, which is actually kind of funny since a Democrat-controlled House passed a bill prohibiting the creation of a registry of firearms and firearm owners 33 years ago. The bill had already been passed by the Republican-controlled senate with a veto-proof majority. It was signed by President Ronald Reagan and became Public Law 99–308.
But surely, some will object, Congress wouldn’t pass a law that’s impossible to enforce!
You might want to ask all the county sheriffs who have announced they won’t enforce background check laws. It’s not because they’re gun lovers; it’s not because they were paid off by the NRA; it’s because without registration nobody knows where the guns are or who has them. This also means nobody knows if the guns change hands. This means making a case is going to be very, very difficult with very little to show for the effort. In these days of tight budgets, fiscally responsible sheriffs aren’t going to waste the county’s money on cases that will just fall apart.
Nevada passed a second version of its universal background check law this year and several counties have already announced they won’t enforce it. [Update: There isn’t a single Nevada county sheriff that will enforce the new background check law.]
So if Rep. Crenshaw is resisting proposed legislation that is unconstitutional, useless, unenforceable, but still wildly popular among those who don’t know any better, I don’t see this as cowardice.
I think Dan Crenshaw is one of the most courageous souls in Congress.