Let's cut through the Washington spin: Senators who vote in favor of the Leahy-Schumer-Reid gun bill (S.649) next week will be voting to fundamentally disrupt and alter the behavior of legal gun owners and users. In addition to allowing the beginnings of a national gun registry, Leahy-Schumer-Reid gun bill's universal background check provision will restrict the ability of law-abiding citizens to use firearms.
Consider two very common practices among law-abiding gun owners and users that would become illegal under the Leahy-Schumer-Reid gun bill:
- Borrowing your neighbor's handgun on the way to a shooting range
- Loaning your rifle to a friend before going on hunting trip
Under the Leahy-Schumer-Reid gun bill, the borrower and loaner would be committing a crime, punishable by a fine and up to five years in prison.
To avoid becoming a felon under Subtitle B of the Leahy-Schumer-Reid gun bill, which would extend "background check procedures to all sales and transfers of firearms," you would have two choices.
First, the so-called "temporary transfer of possession" could occur "at a shooting range," meaning your neighbor would have to come with you. Similarly, you could loan your rifle to your friend "while hunting," meaning you're going on the trip, too.
Second, you and your friend (or neighbor) could go a "licensed dealer" who would run a background check. Of course, that would take time, cost money (gun tax), and subject you to undue scrutiny from federal law enforcement.
President Obama frequently reminds us he has "stacks of letters in [his] office from proud gun owners" urging him to take action. Those letter writers should take Obama's advice and "look at the actual legislation." If they did, they would realize the Leahy-Schumer-Reid gun bill would criminalize innocent behavior that is commonplace today.
Hunters and other gun owners must understand there is no "middle ground" on the Leahy-Schumer-Reid. While criminals find a way around the law, legal gun owners and users will be one false step from becoming felons themselves.