The stage is set for the Senate gun control debate this week and the odds could not be any higher. Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and Pat Toomey's (R-Penn.), "Public Safety and Second Amendment Protection Act," has faced much opposition leading up to this point. However, despite the best of efforts, Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and his fellow supporters could not obtain enough votes for a successful filibuster.
While many view this legislation as a step in the right direction, the question ultimately remains as to whether or not this legislation will prevent events like those in Colorado and Connecticut from happening in the future. According to the NRA, and the majority of gun owners, myself included, the unfortunate answer is, "No," and after reading all 49 pages, here are five reasons why:
1. Gun shows and online sales are already regulated by the ATF, however, this bill simply takes the existing law(s) and rewords them. What people need to understand is that a gun shows bring private buyers and sellers together to make possible deals. However, the mere fact they meet at gun shows does not make their transactions any less legal than if they made the deal in the privacy of their own home. A private sale is a private sale regardless of where it takes place. Hence why there really is no such thing as a, "Gun Show Loophole," because private sales can take place anywhere.
2. Many private sales between friends and family still remain legal and would not require a background check.
3. There is no clearly defined definition of, "mental illness." In an article I wrote last week, I pointed out the importance of mental illness being objectively defined in this bill to help give it more weight. Using an already established medical publication, like the DSM-IV, to define metal illness, will make civil rights activists, and gun owners, feel a little better about the wording of this bill.
4. Does little to increase the penalties for those who use a firearm to commit to a crime.
5. Provides little in the way for school safety besides "additional funding."
On the contrary, the bill does have some pro-gun legislation in it regarding the transportation of legally owned firearms through strict gun control states and carry permit reciprocity throughout the entire U.S. for those who possess them in, "Shall-Issue States". It also reiterates the wording of the Firearm Owner's Protection Act regarding bans on government registries of guns/gun owners.
Although this bill comes up short in many ways, and does some good, there is one thing that is most certain — a version of this bill will ultimately pass. Even though I am against this bill because I feel it will do little to prevent future mass shootings, it is easy to see that neither party in Congress wants to risk being labeled as the, "pro-mass shooting party," by not passing some sort of gun control, especially with Sandy Hook family members watching in their seats.
Ultimately, both parties will be able to say they "did" something about gun violence in, America. However, time will ultimately tell whether or not this legislation is effective. Given the current language of the bill and its similar wording to existing laws, the odds of this legislation doing something magically different than previous gun control measures are not good.