H.R. 822: Protecting Gun Owners rights or handing more control to the Federal Government?

The NRA has come out strongly in favor of H.R. 822, while the National Association for Gun Rights has taken the exact opposite view, warning that H.R. 822 is a dangerous threat to the rights of gun owners.

The National Association for Gun Rights calls the bill a “Trojan Horse”, warning that although the bill looks OK on the surface, it’s writers are naively allowing the Federal Government more control in an area that needs to remain solidly under the authority of the States.

The position of the National Association for Gun Rights is that the Constitution grants Americans the right to bear arms, we don’t need or want the Federal Government to have any more control, adding layers of bureaucracy, making it more difficult for Americans to own and carry firearms.

Dudley Brown, of the NAGR, says, “While the idea that all states should recognize a concealed weapons permit is sound public policy, the use of the anti-gun federal bureaucracy to implement it is simply foolish.”

The NAGR warns that the current bill makes it too easy for a rider or amendment to be slipped in, turning H.R. 822 from a positive-sounding measure to something that hands more power to the Federal Government – that gun owners face the serious risk politicians will pull a fast one and gun owners will lose ground that we will not be able to take back.

Dudley Brown said,

“So-called “pro-gun” Republicans even KILLED an amendment that would have allowed permit holders to defend themselves in the District of Columbia, one of the most dangerous cities in the country.

Over the past two days, amendments have been offered to require REAL ID-type government requirements on state CCW permits as well as giving Eric Holder the power to classify even more gun owners as “terrorists.”

And while these amendments may have failed in the House, Harry Reid’s Senate is sure to put the screws to gun owners.

The Senate DOES have the votes to impose a HOST of anti-gun amendments to H.R. 822 much like they have done with legislation in the past.”


Brown also warns:

“This bill isn’t just about the right to carry for self defense — it’s a battle over the role of government and the ability to restrict our Second Amendment rights.

Many statists in Washington will co-opt H.R. 822 as part of their grab for more federal power and less individual liberty.”

That is the real danger here.

These are few of the potential threats the NAGR says could result from H.R. 822 being passed:

  • More onerous standards to acquire a permit, so that only FBI agents can pass muster (look at New York’s permit system);
  • Higher fees;
  • More training requirements;
  • A demonstration of “Need” for a permit;
  • More frequent renewal periods;
  • Federally-mandated waiting periods;
  • A national database of all permit holders, accessible by Attorney General Eric Holder;
  • An extensive, federally-created list of Criminal Safezones, where only criminals will carry and where law-abiding gun owners are vulnerable

We’d like to think that the NRA stands solidly with gun owners, that they are using their political and financial clout to protect the rights of gun owners, but there is a precedent for bills starting out to be supportive of gun rights but winding up actually legislating stricter gun control.

A classic example of this was the the bill H.R. 4332, which eventually became the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act.

“The gun rights movement lobbied Congress to pass the FOPA to prevent the abuse of regulatory power — in particular, to address claims that the ATF was repeatedly inspecting FFL holders for the apparent purpose of harassment intended to drive the FFL holders out of business (as the FFL holders would constantly be having to tend to ATF inspections instead of to customers).”

The Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986 addressed the abuses noted in the 1982 Senate Judiciary Subcommittee report. Gun rights advocates pushed for it and this is what they got:

  • It reopened interstate sales of long guns on a limited basis, allowed ammunition shipments through the U.S. Postal Service (a partial repeal of the Gun Control Act),
  • ended record keeping on ammunition sales, except for armor piercing,
  • permitted travel between states supportive of Second Amendment rights even through those areas less supportive of these rights, and
  • addressed several other issues that had effectively restricted Second Amendment rights.

“However, the act also contained a provision that banned the sale of machine guns manufactured after the date of enactment to civilians, restricting sales of these weapons to the military and law enforcement.

Thus, in the ensuing years, the limited supply of these arms available to civilians has caused an enormous increase in their price, with most costing in excess of $10,000.”

So, although H.R. 4332 was intended to improve the status of gun owners, the Hughes Amendment ended up banning machine guns – which has not been reversed. In an Orwellian turn of events, the “Firearms Owners’ Protection Act” ended up preventing Americans from owning an entire class of firearms.

Rights are easy to lose and very difficult to re-gain.


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