Senators announce bipartisan agreement on gun proposals
"Today, we are announcing a commonsense, bipartisan proposal to protect America's children, keep our schools safe and reduce the threat of violence across our country," the Senate lawmakers said in a joint statement released shortly before noon Sunday.
"A commonsense, bipartisan proposal" — be still, my beating heart!
But soft you: hasn't every "commonsense, bipartisan" gun control bill since the NFA of 1934 been hailed as the cure for "the threat of violence" in America? And when those "commonsense" measures don't work, all it will take is the next "commonsense, bipartisan" bill. What solons! What statespersons we are blessed with in Congress!
Take ATF Form 4473, which prospective purchasers must fill out to buy a firearm. Question 21.a. asks, "Are you the actual transferee/buyer of the firearm(s)?" Straw purchases have been illegal since the Supreme Court said so in 2014. But they are hardly ever prosecuted.
Submitting false information on a background check is a felony under federal law, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. But as many as 160,000 people are denied a gun purchase each year because they failed a check. Few are ever apprehended, much less prosecuted. Available federal and state data suggest that the percentage of arrests as a proportion of denied sales is extremely low — likely in the single digits.
Question 21.e of Form 4473 asks, "Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any stimulant, depressant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?" Hunter Biden admitted he smoked crack before and after filling out a 4473 for the gun he can be seen brandishing on video, which gun his inamorata cum sister-in-law "safely" disposed of by tossing it into a grocery store dumpster. I'm sure that the Senate's "commonsense, bipartisan" bill will come with instructions urging prosecutors, in the strongest possible terms, to prosecute celebrities who lie on a 4473 and to ask the court that they be given ten years in prison and a fine of $250,000 to "send a message" to those who contemplate lying in order to purchase a weapon.
So have prosecutions for lying on a 4473 increased under the Harris-Biden administration? Not according to a Washington Post article from last Thursday:
But according to newly revealed Justice Department records, the odds of being charged for lying on this form are virtually nonexistent. In the 2019 fiscal year, when Hunter Biden purchased his gun, federal prosecutors received 478 referrals for lying on Form 4473 — and filed just 298 cases, according to data extracted from the U.S. attorneys' case management system. That's out of approximately 27 million background checks undertaken in a 12-month period.
The numbers were roughly similar for fiscal 2018 (444 referrals and 271 cases) and fiscal 2020 (433 referrals and 243 cases). The data does not indicate the success rate of the prosecutions.
In short, the Harris-Biden administration has done nothing to "get tough" on enforcing the gun laws already on the books. The solution? Pass more gun laws! And thus do those "commonsense, bipartisan" solons who represent us, the people, "reason."
Henry Percy is the nom de guerre for a technical writer living in Arizona. He may be reached at email@example.com.
Image: Pixabay (cropped), Pixabay License.