Reschenthaler Votes to Defend Second Amendment Rights
WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, Congressman Guy Reschenthaler (PA-14) defended law-abiding Americans’ Second Amendment rights by opposing H.R. 8 and H.R. 1446. H.R. 8 would criminalize common practices among gun owners while failing to prevent criminals from obtaining firearms, while H.R. 1446 would allow the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to indefinitely delay legal firearm purchases. Both bills passed the House by near party-line votes.
“House Democrats’ draconian gun control bills would deprive law-abiding citizens of their Second Amendment rights and pave the way for a national gun registry, while doing nothing to prevent mass shootings or stop criminals from obtaining firearms,” said Reschenthaler. “I know the vast majority of gun owners in southwestern Pennsylvania and across the nation own firearms to protect their families, hunt and shoot with their loved ones, or put food on the table. My Democrat colleagues would be wise to stop the grandstanding and focus on solutions that have been proven to work, like improving law enforcement coordination, increasing information sharing, and giving the authorities more resources to prevent, deter, and prosecute firearm violence.”
Federal law already restricts selling or transferring firearms to prohibited individuals, including felons and individuals convicted of domestic violence. H.R. 8 would require all firearms transfers, including something as simple as loaning a trusted neighbor a gun, to undergo a background check conducted by a federal firearms licensee (FFL). Law-abiding citizens who do not pay a FFL to conduct a background check could face up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine for common practices such as trades, private sales, gifts, or temporary loans of firearms.
H.R. 8 would do nothing to address the root causes of gun violence, as criminals are not deterred by background checks. The vast majority of criminals who possessed a firearm during their offense obtained it through theft, the black market, or illegal straw purchases. Universal background checks would not have prevented any of the recent high-profile mass shootings, such as those at Sandy Hook, San Bernadino, Las Vegas, or Parkland.
Alarmingly, H.R. 8 would lead to a national gun registry. In 2013, President Obama’s Department of Justice concluded that universal background checks were not possible without gun registration.
Similarly, H.R. 1446 would not address the real issues with the current background check system, namely a lack of coordination and information sharing. Under current law, if the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) does not return a denial after three full business days, a FFL is permitted, but not required, to proceed with a gun purchase. This incentivizes prompt NICS processing while providing a reasonable time for NICS to complete a background check.
H.R. 1446 extends the current 3-business day waiting period to 10 business days. If a result is not returned within the 10-day period, the purchaser must submit a petition to the government for the sale to proceed and wait an additional 10 days before the firearm can be transferred. That means 20 business days have passed, and it is possible the original background check, valid for only 30 days, has expired. Ultimately, the FBI would have no incentive to complete background checks in a timely manner, meaning law-abiding citizens would be denied the ability to purchase a firearm for an indefinite period of time.
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. During the 115th Congress, the Republican-controlled Congress passed, and President Donald Trump signed into law, the Fix NICS Act, which ensures the necessary criminal and mental health records get into the NICS system used for evaluating potential firearm purchasers.