Thursday, December 7, 2017

ALERT on HR 38 (Conceal Carry Reciprocity Bill) -- Too late to stop it in the House: Call Your Senator!

by Thomas Massie (R-KY, 4th)

Feinstein/Schumer sponsored gun legislation that amends the “Brady bill” (was) added to Concealed Carry Reciprocity bill (HR 38) in the House this week.

As Chairman of the Second Amendment Caucus, I’m blowing the whistle on the swamp. Last week, Republicans in the House fast tracked through committee HR 4477, a gun bill titled “fix-NICS.” The Senate version of this bill is cosponsored by Senator Dianne Feintstein and Senator Chuck Schumer and it will send $625 million over 5 years to states to expand the national background check database. The bill will also advance former President Obama’s agenda of pressuring every branch of the administration (such as the Veteran’s Administration) to submit thousands of more names to the NICS background check database to deny gun purchases. The House bill is identical in every way to the Senate bill except the House bill will also commission a study on bump-stocks.

What you don’t know, and what virtually no one in Washington wants you to know, is that House leadership plans to merge the fix-NICS bill with popular Concealed Carry Reciprocity legislation, HR 38, and pass both of them with a single vote. Folks, this is how the swamp works. House leadership expects constituents to call their representatives demanding a vote on the reciprocity bill, when in fact the only vote will be on the two combined bills.

How fast did Fix-NICS, HR 4477, move through the Judiciary Committee? This bill broke the previous records for fast track legislation. It was voted out of committee within hours of being introduced in the House. Check the dates on this link:…/115th-congr…/house-bill/4477/text . That means the text of the bill wasn’t even discoverable by the public on until after the bill passed out of committee! The text was however available over in the Senate where you will find Senator Diane Feinstein and Senator Chuck Schumer are cosponsors.…/115t…/senate-bill/2135/cosponsors
If that’s not odd enough, consider this: the fix-NICS bill was introduced in the House by a Democrat two weeks ago.…/115th-congr…/house-bill/4434/text . But, in a very unusual move, the bill was re-introduced verbatim by a Republican two weeks later, with language added to it to commission a bump-stock study. Six Republicans in Judiciary Committee weren’t persuaded by the switcheroo, and voted No. However, because every Democrat voted yes and some Republicans voted yes at the urging of the Chairman, the bill made it out of committee. The deed will be complete this week when the bill is quietly added to the Reciprocity bill, HR 38, and passed without the knowledge of those who would oppose the legislation if they knew what was in it.
To recap, what are some clues that you should be concerned with the fix-NICS bill?

(1) The first sentence after the title of the bill reads “Section 103 of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act (34 U.S.C. 40901) is amended…”
(2) Senators Dianne Feinstein and Chuck Schumer are cosponsors in the Senate.
(3) It’s being rammed through, without a hearing, in a very nontransparent process, and it will be passed by attaching it to the popular concealed carry reciprocity bill which already has enough votes to pass on its own.
(4) It spends over half a billion dollars to collect more names to include in a list of people who will never be allowed to own a firearm.
(5) It compels administrative agencies, not just courts, to adjudicate your second amendment rights.

In my opinion, #5 is the biggest problem. The bill encourages administrative agencies, not the courts, to submit more names to a national database that will determine whether you can or can’t obtain a firearm. When President Obama couldn’t get Congress to pass gun control, he implemented a strategy of compelling, through administrative rules, the Veterans Administration and the Social Security Administration to submit lists of veterans and seniors, many of whom never had a day in court, to be included in the NICS database of people prohibited from owning a firearm. Only a state court, a federal (article III) court, or a military court, should ever be able to suspend your rights for any significant period of time.

Does the NICS background check system have problems? Yes, it results in tens of thousands of unjustified denials of gun purchases every year. But like many bills in Congress, the fix-NICS doesn’t live up to its name – it will likely do the opposite. It throws millions of dollars at a faulty program and it will result in more law-abiding citizens being deprived of their right to keep and bear arms.

If we continue to give the executive branch more money and encouragement to add names to the list of people prohibited from buying a firearm (without a day in court) and if the gun banners achieve their goal of universal background checks, one day, a single person elected to the office of President will be able to achieve universal gun prohibition.

House leadership should immediately de-couple the fix-NICS legislation from the concealed carry reciprocity legislation. People hate it when Washington combines bills like our leadership plans to do this week.

A few have speculated that the House is combining the bills to ensure reciprocity will pass in the Senate. I have some news for them: Senators Feinstein and Schumer aren’t going to vote for reciprocity even if it contains the fix-NICS legislation they support for expanding the background check database. If someone is na├»ve enough to think that’s going to work, and they’re willing to accept fix-NICS to get reciprocity, then they should ask the Senate to go first with the combined bill.

Here’s a dangerous scenario that’s more likely to play out: The House uses the popularity of reciprocity (HR 38) to sneak fix-NICS through, while the Senate passes fix-NICS only. The Senate and the House meet at conference with their respective bills, with the result being fix-NICS emerges from conference without reciprocity. Fix-NICS comes back to the House and passes because all of the Democrats will vote for it (as they just did in Judiciary Committee) and many Republicans will vote for it. Because Republicans already voted for it once as part of the reciprocity deal that never came to pass, they won’t have a solid footing for opposing fix-NICS as a standalone bill. Then we’ll end up with fix-NICS, which is basically an expansion of the Brady Bill, without reciprocity.

If our House leadership insists on bringing the flawed fix-NICS bill to the floor, they shouldn’t play games. We should vote separately on HR 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Bill, and HR 4477, the fix-NICS bill. And we should be given enough time to amend the fix-NICS bill, because it needs to be fixed, if not axed.

See more headlines at The Ponder News Web Site

About Impeachment Vote

Below are some statements from Newsmakers:

Michael E. Capuano (D-MA, 7th)

“As a lawyer I have approached impeachment deliberately and thoughtfully. Taking steps to impeach a President is a gravely serious matter. Practically and politically, I think most of us can agree that passing articles of impeachment in this House isn’t realistic at this moment in our history. But sometimes, it’s more important to follow your heart than do the practical or political calculation. Today, I followed my heart and cast a vote to begin a debate on whether this President has committed impeachable acts. It’s time to have an open, honest debate on President Trump and his fitness for office."

Judy Chu (D-CA, 27th)

“Donald Trump has exhibited alarming behaviors that raise questions about his fitness to serve since before he was sworn in, from his myriad lies, to accusations of sexual assault, violations of the emoluments clause, or possible collusion with Russia. That’s why there are currently three investigations into the President’s actions. There is a process that has begun, and so far, it has resulted in Michael Flynn pleading guilty to lying. I believe we owe it to our institutions to continue the process to determine the truth about the Trump administration, and that any impeachment vote should take place after the investigations have concluded. I look forward to reviewing the findings from Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the Senate and House committees so that we can make a fully informed decision about the President’s future.”

Trump Recognizes Jerusalem as Capitol of Israel

Below are statements from newsmakers commending the decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem:

Andre’ Carson, (D-IN, 7th)

“I am deeply concerned by President Trump’s decision to overturn longstanding U.S. policy by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and relocating our embassy. This decision is likely to drive serious unrest across the region, unacceptably putting countless innocent people at risk. It makes lasting peace much more difficult to achieve, makes Israel less secure, and ignores competing Palestinian claims for parts of Jerusalem, which should be resolved through peace negotiations and not unilateral U.S. action.

“In his announcement, President Trump said this does not represent an American position on a final status agreement, expressed openness to a two state solution, and called for continuation of the status quo at Jerusalem holy sites. I support these important statements. However, it is simply unreasonable to think that today’s announcement will do anything but inflame tensions on both sides and unduly influence negotiations with broad international implications.

“If President Trump truly wants to pursue peace he should avoid taking actions, like this one, that lead to conflict, and instead work to bring the Israelis and Palestinians to the negotiating table.”

Carlos Curbelo (R-FL, 26th)

“Jerusalem is without question the capital of Israel and I commend the President’s decision to recognize it as such. Denying simple, obvious truths is not a strategy for peace. With this decision we are not only standing by our ally, but also recognizing the freedom of all major faiths to continue worshiping in Jerusalem.”

Rosa L. DeLauro (D-CT, 3rd)

“The President’s irresponsible decision to move our nation’s embassy to Jerusalem goes against decades of bipartisan American foreign policy and will likely increase tensions between Israelis and Palestinians, instead of moving us toward a lasting peace agreement. This action may lead to more needless violence and undermines America’s ability to lead the region toward peace, stability, and security.”

“The strength of the United States’ relationship with Israel cannot be understated. They are amongst our most valuable allies, and our bond is unshakable. Peace is only attainable if the United States fully engages diplomatically as an honest broker between the Israelis and Palestinians with the goal of creating a comprehensive and durable two-state solution.”

Ron DeSantis (R-FL, 6th)

“Last December, the Obama administration worked furiously to engineer a U.N. resolution so anti-Israel that it characterized the Western Wall as ‘occupied’ territory. This December, President Trump is doing what his recent predecessors have promised but failed to deliver: formal recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, to be followed by relocation of the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Fifty years after the reunification of Jerusalem, the ancient and holy city stands as one of the jewels of the world, and Israel’s stewardship of the holy sites (Jewish, Christian and Muslim) since being liberated from Jordanian occupation has been tremendous. With President Trump’s announcement, the U.S. is finally following through with what Congress enacted in the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act.”

DeSantis, as Chairman of the National Security Subcommittee, has visited potential embassy relocation sites in Jerusalem and recently held a hearing to discuss the benefits and challenges of relocating the embassy.

Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL, 25th)

“I am pleased by President Trump's bold decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. It is well past time that our embassy is moved to its rightful home. Though many may be upset with the decision, or even use this as an excuse to incite violence, we must remember that Jerusalem is the country’s true capital. I commend the administration for its resolute commitment to our allies.”

Debbie Dingell (D-MI, 12th)

“President Trump’s decision to designate Jerusalem as the Israeli capital outside of a comprehensive two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is deeply disturbing as it undercuts continuing efforts toward peace. The final status of Jerusalem should be determined through negotiations between the two parties as part of a resolution to the conflict, as has been U.S. policy since 1967. This action raises tensions in an already restive region, placing Americans stationed in the Middle East at risk while increasing the chance of a wider regional conflict. I strongly oppose President Trump’s decision, which will serve as an obstacle to future peace between Israelis and Palestinians.”

Daniel Donovan (R-NY, 11th)

“I support the President’s decision to formally recognize what has been the reality for a long time: Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. The city is Israel’s seat of government and where the country conducts its national business, and it makes no sense to ignore this fact. Today’s announcement affirms that after eight years, the U.S. is finally returning to our longstanding policy of supporting Israel. I applaud the President for taking much-needed steps to repair our relationship with our closest ally in the region.”

Jeff Duncan (R-SC, 3rd)

“I applaud President Trump for recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and promising to move the U.S. Embassy to reflect this change in policy. This decision is in clear contrast to the last administration’s anti-Israel sentiments, and it is refreshing to have a leader in the White House who supports and stands with our strong ally. I agree with President Trump that this decision is in the best interest of the United States as we work towards lasting peace.”

Keith Ellison (D-MN, 5th)

“President Trump’s decision today to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel impedes the Israel-Palestine peace process, jeopardizes the safety of U.S. personnel stationed abroad, and seriously limits the U.S.’s ability to serve as an effective broker in the future. Trump irresponsibly broke with decades of precedent in order to fulfill a dangerous campaign promise, and did so despite the warnings of leaders around the world. This White House continues to play politics with issues of national security and international peace, and its reckless decision making should concern us all.”

Dwight Evans (D PA, 2nd)

“Jerusalem has been and always will be the eternal capital of the Jewish people and the State of Israel. This is a fact of history reaffirmed by Congress that cannot and will not be denied. With this, the United States has always been and always will remain a strong ally of Israel. In the absence of a comprehensive plan for a peace process between the Israelis and Palestinians I am concerned about the further unrest and instability President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel may cause. As a nation I believe we have an important obligation to play a crucial role in supporting the State of Israel in order to achieve a two-state solution between the Israelis and Palestinians."

Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN, 3rd)

"Today, President Trump made the historic announcement to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel. For years, Jerusalem has been regarded as Israel’s capital city by the Knesset, the United States Congress, and the people of Israel. The President’s announcement reaffirms the longstanding friendship and support between United States and Israel. I applaud President Trump for his decision, and will continue to stand with Israel as our ally in the Middle East."

What "long-standing policy? You mean the one where the sitting President signs a delay on a decision that was made a long time ago?

Conceal Carry Reciprocity Act Passes House

Washington, D.C. - December 7, 2017 - (The Ponder News) -- The House passed H.R. 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, by a margin of 231-198, which would allow individuals who are lawfully permitted to carry a concealed firearm in their home states to carry concealed firearms in other states that allow the practice.

Existing state codes have created a confusing patchwork of reciprocity agreements for concealed carry permit holders. Even the most careful and knowledgeable concealed carry permit holders find it difficult to navigate the current maze of state and local concealed carry laws. All 50 states already allow for some form of concealed carry, a policy that has been proven to increase public safety. A 2013 study in Applied Economic Letters found that between 1980 and 2009, “states with more restrictive concealed carry laws had gun-related murder rates that were 10 percent higher.” Additionally, a 2013 survey of 15,000 current and retired police officers found that 90 percent of them support the concealed carry of guns by civilians.

HR 38 also reauthorizes the National Instant Criminal Background Check Systems (NICS) Improvement Act and increases records submissions assistance for states. The Attorney General is required to report every two years on the improvements made to the NICS system, and law enforcement shall be notified when a prohibited person received a firearm in error. This will help ensure that criminals who have been barred from gun ownership remain unable to get their hands on firearms.

Below are some statements from Newsmakers:

Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming at large)

“I’m proud the House passed H.R. 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act. This legislation, which I co-sponsored, will ensure that law-abiding citizens’ Second Amendment rights are not infringed when they cross state lines. Folks in Wyoming deserve to know the constitutional carry rights we enjoy at home won’t be threatened when we cross into other jurisdictions. Law-abiding citizens shouldn’t have to fear criminal prosecution for exercising their Second Amendment rights. I am proud the House passed this important bill that will protect our citizens’ individual constitutional right to keep and bear arms.”

Steve Cohen (D-TN, 9th)

“Just a month after the mass shooting of 26 in Texas and two months after a gunman killed 58 in Las Vegas, the House majority’s response is to override state laws with reasonable restrictions on the concealed carrying of handguns. Beyond the incomprehensible tone deafness of this action, it ignores the very states’ rights Republicans so often cling to – except when the National Rifle Association tells them not to,” Cohen said.

“Thirty-four states and the District of Columbia, including Tennessee, require residents to be at least 21 to receive a concealed carry handgun permit. This bill would allow permit holders from states allowing concealed carry at younger ages to, in essence, violate more restrictive states’ laws. I support concealed carry laws and was the sponsor of Tennessee’s when I was in the state senate, but I think state laws that are more restrictive should be respected.”

Doug Collins (R-GA, 9th)

“As a member of Congress, I have a duty to uphold American liberties—including the right to bear arms—for current and future generations. I cosponsored the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act because I believe the Second Amendment doesn't end at state borders.

"Our forefathers didn't cement our right to defend ourselves and our families as a philosophical exercise—they were protecting freedoms that they recognized as essential elements of our democracy. The Second Amendment will always be one of those foundational liberties, and today's vote affirms that.”

James Comer (R-KY, 1st)

Congressman James Comer (KY-01) voted in favor of the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, which passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 231-198. The bill, which is endorsed by the National Rifle Association (NRA), prioritizes the Constitutional Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.

The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act will ensure that concealed carry permits issued in one state are valid in other states. This guarantees that Americans’ Second Amendment rights do not stop at a state line. Additionally, it puts the burden of proof on the state to show an individual carrying a concealed firearm violated the law, protecting law-abiding gun owners from burdensome civil lawsuits.

“I am proud to support this common-sense legislation. The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act protects the rights of Kentucky gun owners by saying that if you can legally carry a firearm in the Commonwealth you won’t have to worry about crossing into Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee or any other state as long as you follow that state’s laws. The Second Amendment right to bear arms is one of the most fundamental rights provided to us in the Constitution and I will proudly continue to stand up for the gun rights of Kentuckians.”

Paul Cook (R-CA, 8th)

“This important legislation will go a long way toward protecting our rights while making Americans safer. It clarifies current gun regulations, preserves the right of law-abiding citizens to right to carry a gun for self-defense, and maintains and improves safeguards to ensure we keep guns out of the hands of criminals. I urge the Senate to swiftly take up and pass this vital public safety legislation.”

Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota)

“There is no reason a law-abiding gun owner in North Dakota should lose their Second Amendment rights while crossing state lines,” said Cramer. “The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act protects every citizens’ federal constitutional right to bear arms while ensuring individuals, who are legally prohibited from owning a firearm under current law, are prevented from doing so. This is a very common sense law.”

John Culberson (R-TX, 7th)

“Today, the House of Representatives took decisive action to protect one of our most fundamental rights: the right to keep and bear arms. Today’s legislation will guarantee that our second amendment rights are valid from coast to coast and do not stop at state lines. H.R. 38, The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, was combined with H.R. 4477, the Fix NICS Act of 2017, to create one bill which will ensure that concealed carry permit holders can travel across state lines without fear of arrest.”

Henry Cuellar (D-TX, 28th)

“I believe that Congress is taking appropriate steps in protecting people’s basic constitutional rights. However, I think that more should be done to prevent tragedies like the one that occurred in Sutherland Springs, from happening in the future. That is why Congressman Culberson and I have joined together, alongside other members in Congress, to push our legislation aimed at curbing gun violence. We are dedicated to improving the federal criminal background check system and confident in closing major loopholes in the NICS database.”

Diana Degette (D-CO, 1st)

“This bill gives the weakest state standards on gun violence prevention the force of law nationwide,” DeGette said. “Compelling state legislatures to adopt the concealed carry standards of other states will only undermine the protections that their citizens have come to expect their elected officials to uphold.

“If this bill passes the Senate and is signed into law, Coloradans would be in greater peril. I refuse to let our communities face such mindless and needless danger without a fight.”

DeGette is a member of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, which was formed after the December 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Shortly thereafter, she introduced a bill to ban high-capacity assault magazines similar to the one in place in Colorado, and she continues to support this move. She has also advocated other measures in the current Congress, including the proposed ban on bump stocks that briefly seemed to have bipartisan support after the Las Vegas mass shooting two months ago but has since stalled.

Scott DesJarlais (R-TN, 4th)

“The right to self-defense is an unalienable one and the most important to protecting ourselves from harm,” said Rep. DesJarlais (TN-04), “as the Supreme Court has decided. Our Constitution guarantees that right – and also that states must respect our common laws.”

“Today’s bill ensures Tennesseans who wish to exercise their Second Amendment rights will face no undue burden when traveling to gun-friendly states,” he said. The Congressman is a strong Second Amendment supporter, as well as a member of the House Armed Services Committee, who after terror attacks at a recruitment center and military facility near Chattanooga in 2015, guided passage of a law allowing more service members to carry firearms on base.

Sean P. Duffy (R-WI, 7th)

“Law-abiding Wisconsinites deserve Concealed Carry Reciprocity, because your Second Amendment right shouldn’t stop at a state’s border,” said Congressman Duffy. “I’m proud to cosponsor the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act because citizens with a concealed carry permit deserve to protect themselves and their families regardless of what state they’re in.”

Eliot Engel (D-NY, 16th)

“This bill is attack on common-sense gun laws across the country. It doesn’t create a national standard, but instead, lets the states with the weakest laws dictate safety standards for everyone else,” Engel said. “Thirty-one states require safety training. Thirty-five states prohibit domestic abusers from carrying concealed weapons. Twenty-seven states prohibit people convicted of violent misdemeanors from carrying concealed weapons. All of these state laws will be overridden if H.R. 38 becomes law.

“It is unconscionable that in the wake of two of the worst mass shootings in modern American history, Republicans are trying to dismantle gun laws. We must fight on behalf of the safety of all Americans and pass comprehensive gun safety laws, not this dangerous bill.

“So much for the Republican mantra of ‘State’s rights.’”

Elizabeth Esty (D-CT, 5th)

“It is outrageous that today, of all days, one week before the five-year anniversary of the horrific murder of twenty schoolchildren in my district, and just two months after the slaughter of over fifty Americans in Las Vegas, that we are acting on a bill to put more guns in more the hands of more dangerous people,” Esty said. “Rather than helping raise the standards nationally for gun safety, this bill would lower them, making it easier for domestic abusers, stalkers, and violent criminals to carry loaded, hidden weapons across state lines.”

Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN, 3rd)

"For far too long law-abiding gun owners have had to navigate a treacherous and ever shifting labyrinth of local and state gun laws while traveling with their concealed carry permits," Fleischmann said. "H.R. 38, The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, will provide certainty to properly licensed individuals who travel with a firearm to carry in all states that already allow for concealed carry. I was proud to vote for H.R. 38 to ensure that upstanding citizens are not deprived of their Second Amendment rights or threatened with needless jail time due to crossing a state border."

Bill Flores (R-TX, 17th)

“Today, the House strengthened the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans by ensuring that these fundamental rights apply across state lines. The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, which passed the House with bipartisan support, affirms that law-abiding citizens who are issued a concealed carry license or permit in one state can carry in other states that also allow concealed carry. The bill also makes sure that federal and state agencies are reporting to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System as prescribed by current law. Gaps in this system contributed to the tragedy in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Additionally, the bill calls for a report to be submitted to Congress by the Bureau of Justice Statistics regarding the use of bump stocks. It is important that we continue to protect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens while at the same time working to improve public safety.”

H.R. 38 is supported by 24 State Attorneys General in a letter written to congressional leadership outlining how the individual right of gun ownership does not correlate to increased risk of crime. Both bills move to the Senate for further action.

The Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, on whose board of directors Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich serves, opposes the bill, saying that undermining state and municipal laws will increase danger to police officers.

The National Law Enforcement Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence also opposes the bill.

See more headlines about gun issues at The Ponder News Web Site

Have a Merry Christmas ... and a Deplorable New Year!

The Left has rebelled against Christmas. They even have a new Christmas Ornament -- A Hillary Clinton Angel -- to sit atop the Christmas Tree. It's their "Resistmas" ornament.

So, we've decided to have our own kind of Christmas Here at The Ponder News: