As we noted with the re-introduction of the Sabika Sheikh Firearms Licensing and Registration Act as HR 127, bad bills often turn up in Congress after Congress. But Sheila Jackson Lee is not the only member of the House of Representatives bringing back a bad bill. Chicago’s Robin Kelly is, too, and her terrible idea is far more likely to be passed into law than HR 127.
In the 116th Congress, Kelly introduced the Firearm Safety Act of 2019, which placed firearms under the Consumer Product Safety Commission. It’s back as HR 880, and the problems it had when it was reviewed last year are still there. There is, of course, the fact that it hands massive powers over our Second Amendment rights to unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats.
In some ways, this is worse than “stroke of the pen, law of the land.” Executive orders can be undone by a President. The D.C. bureaucracy, though, is an entirely different matter, especially when it comes to their edicts. Presidents have a much harder time undoing them. Imagine, for instance, if anti-Second Amendment extremists try to use the CPSC’s reporting process to claim popular firearms like the AR-15 and Glock are unsafe – trying to trigger an involuntary recall.
Could Second Amendment supporters count on the courts to halt this gun ban by bureaucratic fiat? You may want to think twice about that assumption. The harsh truth is that the courts may not stop such an effort. For instance, despite the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, lawsuits against the manufacturer of the guns used in the Sandy Hook shooting on dubious grounds have been allowed to proceed, even though the guns used in that horrific shooting were stolen. If courts can find a way to ignore a law, then they could easily ratify a dubious recall, especially if the bureaucracy involved takes pains to follow its “normal” procedures.
The best way to avoid the abuse of this power by unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats at CPSC is to make sure that the power is never given to that agency in the first place.