The Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act

Initially when I read the headline of Toomey and Manchin’s bill over at Memeorandum I thought “if they’re calling it a 2nd Amendment Rights Protection Act it will be anything but.” Then you get liberals like Clayton Cramer saying that Democrats get a lot in the bill, and 2nd Amendment lovers get little. And the Huffington Post pointing out that the NRA is “lukewarm” on it. In reality, it doesn’t do all that much except expand checks

The Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act would require states and the federal government to send all necessary records on criminals and the violently mentally ill to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The bill extends the existing background check system to gun shows and online sales.

The bill explicitly bans the federal government from creating a national firearms registry, and imposes serious criminal penalties (a felony with up to 15 years in prison) on any person who misuses or illegally retains firearms records.

As for the records from the states, the bill requires that federal funds be withheld from states who do not comply, and does not specify which funds. Here are a few interesting tidbits

  • Closes the gun show and other loopholes while exempting temporary transfers and transfers between family members. (this would override any state laws that require guns go to The State when a person passes on, for one thing)
  • Fixes interstate travel laws for sportsmen who transport their firearms across state lines in a responsible manner. The term “transport” includes staying in temporary lodging overnight, stopping for food, buying fuel, vehicle maintenance, and medical treatment. (what will “sportsman” be defined as, if at all? Will this allow some who is traveling to bring their weapon without fear, say, let me bring one or both of my handguns with me when traveling to see the parents in NJ?)
  • Authorizes use of a state concealed carry permit instead of a background check when purchasing a firearm from a dealer. (would make it easier for lots of people who are law abiding)
  • Summary of Title III: : This section of the bill creates a commission to study the causes of mass violence in the United States, looking at all aspects of the problem, including guns, school safety, mental health, and violent media or video games.

And the wrapup


  • The bill will not take away anyone’s guns.
  • The bill will not ban any type of firearm.
  • The bill will not ban or restrict the use of any kind of bullet or any size clip or magazine.
  • The bill will not create a national registry; in fact, it specifically makes it illegal to establish any such registry.
  • The bill will not, in any way at all, infringe upon the Constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens.

Here’s one interesting thing the bill doesn’t do: it doesn’t specify what types of guns it’s referring to. In fact, it simply refers to “firearms”. As they say, the proof is in the details once the entire bill is available, but it would appear that this is aimed at all guns, whether they be handguns, shotguns, rifles, muskets, etc. To be honest, I’m not necessarily against a quick background check for all gun purchases: a shotgun can do quite a bit of damage, possibly more than a handgun.

Erick Erickson finds an interesting tidbit, too

The proposal will allow a doctor to add a patient to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) without ever telling the patient he or she has been added.

There would be no due process requirement. Not all doctors will be able to do it with the same ease, but many will. Knowing a doctor could add him to a federal database as mentally ill without his knowledge could potentially dissuade a patient from going to the doctor in the first place to get help.

Worse, if the doctor does so and makes a mistake, the patient would have to actively work through the system to get himself removed – guilty before being proven innocent. In some states, should a doctor flag you as having mental illness without your knowledge, you may very well see the state come collect your previously purchased guns.

And who defines mental illness if this can be done? Slippery slopes, slippery slopes.

Activist mental health providers will probably be overly aggressive in adding people to the list. Give it five years in liberal areas and people who believe in the physical resurrection of Christ will probably get automatic entry onto the list.

Again, the proof is in the details when we see the whole thing. Here’s the NRA

Expanding background checks at gun shows will not prevent the next shooting, will not solve violent crime and will not keep our kids safe in schools. While the overwhelming rejection of President Obama and Mayor Bloomberg’s “universal” background check agenda is a positive development, we have a broken mental health system that is not going to be fixed with more background checks at gun shows. The sad truth is that no background check would have prevented the tragedies in Newtown, Aurora or Tucson. We need a serious and meaningful solution that addresses crime in cities like Chicago, addresses mental health deficiencies, while at the same time protecting the rights of those of us who are not a danger to anyone. President Obama should be as committed to dealing with the gang problem that is tormenting honest people in his hometown as he is to blaming law-abiding gun owners for the acts of psychopathic murderers.

I have to disagree, it could help to some degree. But, they’re right that there needs to be a focus on the criminals, rather than law abiding citizens.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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