There they go again. Antigun Democrats introduced legislation to force Americans to lock up their firearms in their homes. It’s another one-size-fits-all mandate from the government. The U.S. Constitution would like a word.
U.S. Rep. Donald McEachin (D-Va.) is no stranger to gun control. He’s backed nearly every antigun bill introduced in Congress. He believes in gun control so much, he suggested in 2019 that Virginia’s Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam call out the Virginia National Guard to enforce strict gun control measures in the Old Dominion. His comments drew a rare public rebuke from the Virginia National Guard, which brushed back the congressman.
“We understand and respect the passion people feel for the U.S. Constitution and 2nd Amendment rights.,” tweeted Virginia’s National Guard on their official account. “We will not speculate about the possible use of the Virginia National Guard.” Even his hometown paper The Roanoke Times editorialized he “overreached.”
We understand and respect the passion people feel for the U.S. Constitution and 2nd Amendment rights. We will not speculate about the possible use of the Virginia National Guard.
— Va. National Guard (@VaNationalGuard) December 13, 2019
Fast forward and Rep. McEachin introduced H.R. 4836, the Firearm Owners Responsibility and Safety Act. The fact that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Heller in 2008 that Washington, D.C.’s, mandatory storage requirement for firearms while in the home violated the U.S. Constitution doesn’t seem to matter to Rep. McEachin.
Yet in a Congress controlled by gun control Democrats in both chambers, Rep. McEachin’s bill has yet to gain a cosponsor.
Trojan Horse Gun Control
Looks can be deceiving and Rep. McEachin may be using his safe storage bill as an end around on the entire lawful firearm industry. Buried in his bill, Rep. McEachin included provisions to partially repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA).
The PLCAA is bipartisan legislation that protects the gun industry from frivolous lawsuits for the criminal actions of non-affiliated third parties who use firearms to commit crimes. In a press release, Rep. McEachin included quotes from two of the PLCAA’s biggest opponents.
Brady President Kris Brown said, “The Firearm Owners Responsibility and Safety Act will save lives, tackling gun violence in many forms by…removing unprecedented protections for the gun industry.” Linda Lipsen, CEO of the American Association for Justice, added, “For too long, the gun industry has been provided unparalleled civil liability immunity.”
Their claims are false and are being used as an attempt to mislead Americans into supporting faulty gun control schemes.
Hillary Clinton said the firearm industry was “wholly protected from any kind of liability,” in 2015 and it was false then. President Joe Biden made the claim too, both as a presidential candidate and later from the White House Rose Garden.
Media, including The Washington Post, CNN and PolitiFact, raked his claim over the coals. Even disgraced Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo claimed the “only industry in the United States of America immune from lawsuits are the gun manufacturers.” PolitiFact said the governor was caught in a lie.
Rep. McEachin’s isn’t the first attempt at mandatory firearm storage. The firearm industry knows the critical importance of reducing firearm accidents in the home. NSSF President and CEO Joe Bartozzi testified against federal storage mandates before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee and spoke about how the gun owning community is welcoming new gun owners and urging them to learn, practice and pass along safe and responsible gun ownership.
Storage options, though, are best made by individual gun owners. Gun locks may work for some. Others might opt for safes.
Stating it’s the industry, not government, that has authenticity among the gun owning community, Bartozzi said, “What we’re talking about here, from NSSF’s perspective, is a proactive approach to educating people. Many of these proposed laws would only come into effect after a tragedy has occurred. It is more important to prevent a tragedy than to deal with the pieces afterwards.”
NSSF’s Real Solutions initiative involves partnerships to educate gun owners and encourages safe firearm storage. These efforts have worked and those programs have been recognized for their effectiveness by the National Safety Council when Project Childsafe was a finalist for their Green Cross Award. The Government Accountability Office also recognized that education of voluntary firearm storage through Project Childsafe was a vital tool in reducing negligent use of firearms.
Congress would be better off supporting programs that work instead of drafting unconstitutional legislation that panders to their gun control donors.
Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.