February 27, 2019

Reschenthaler Opposes H.R. 8, Protects Second Amendment

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Guy Reschenthaler (PA-14) defended law-abiding Americans' Second Amendment rights by opposing H.R. 8, a bill that would require onerous federal background checks on almost all private gun transfers. Despite strong Republican opposition, H.R. 8 passed the House by a vote of 240 to 190, and now heads to the Senate for consideration.

"I was in high school when Columbine happened. Like all Americans, I want to prevent gun violence in our communities. However, this bill presents a false promise," Reschenthaler said. "The reality is that this would make criminals out of law-abiding gun owners, while doing nothing to address the real causes of gun violence."

H.R. 8 requires all firearms transfers, including something as simple as loaning a trusted neighbor a gun, to undergo a background check conducted by a federally licensed firearms dealer. This requirement would not have prevented many of the recent tragic shootings such as those at:

  • Sandy Hook,
  • San Bernadino,
  • Las Vegas,
  • Parkland.

However, H.R. 8 would turn law-abiding Americans into felons simply for donating historic firearms to a museum, temporarily loaning a hunting rifle to a friend, or lending a handgun to a friend to protect their family.

Reschenthaler attempted to offer an amendment to this legislation, but was blocked by Democrats from doing so. The amendment would have allowed someone who believed they were a danger to themselves or others to temporarily transfer their firearm to a trusted individual while they sought help. Numerous other Republican amendments seeking to address some of the flaws with this legislation were also blocked, including provisions to:

  • establish an FBI Fusion center to help combat mass violence by improving data collection and emergency response,
  • notify ICE if illegal aliens try to buy a gun and go through the background check system,
  • and allow for the transfer of a firearm to the spouse of a deployed member of the Armed Forces.

Republicans have already taken steps to address the real flaws in the background check system that allow criminals and other bad actors to get guns. Last Congress, under Republican leadership, the House approved, and President Donald J. Trump signed, the Fix NICS Act, which ensures the necessary criminal and mental health records get into the system. The Trump administration also increased prosecutions for possession of an illegal firearm by 15 percent in the first nine months of 2017.

To address the real causes of gun violence in America, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Doug Collins (GA) introduced H.R. 1339, the Mass Violence Prevention Act, which Congressman Reschenthaler has co-sponsored. This legislation would prevent firearm violence by improving law enforcement response to potential threats through an FBI fusion center and reducing the flow of firearms through illegal black market sales. In other words, this legislation enables authorities to stop mass shootings before they start and addresses the factors that actually contribute to gun violence so we can keep our communities safe.

"I ask my friends across the aisle to work with us on legislation that addresses the real causes of gun violence, rather than promote misleading proposals that only hurt law-abiding citizens," stated Reschenthaler. "The American people deserve better."