Issue: H.R. 1446, Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2021. Question: On Passage.
Result: Passed in House, 219 to 210, 1 not voting. Democrats only scored.
Freedom First Society: H.R. 1446 is a further assault on the Constitution’s 2nd amendment guarantee that our “right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” H.R. 1446 would greatly lengthen the waiting period for the purchase of a gun by a law-abiding citizen who might be in urgent need of one.
The argument of proponents that the additional waiting time is necessary to ensure that criminals don’t get guns doesn’t hold water (see rebuttals below).
But the real impetus driving the campaign against the 2nd amendment is much more alarming. It is NOT a sincere but ill-advised attempt to prevent criminal gun violence. In reality, the campaign seeks total civilian disarmament and a totalitarian state (see our Analysis, below).
We score only the Democrats on this one as the Democrat House majority made it easy for GOP reps to posture ineffective opposition.
We have assigned (good vote) to the Nays and (bad vote) to the Yeas. (P = voted present; ? = not voting; blank = not listed on roll call.)
Bill Summary (Congressional Research Service):
Shown Here: Introduced in House (03/01/2021)
Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2021
This bill revises background check requirements applicable to proposed firearm transfers from a federal firearms licensee (e.g., a licensed gun dealer) to an unlicensed person.
Specifically, it increases the amount of time, from 3 business days to a minimum of 10 business days, that a federal firearms licensee must wait to receive a completed background check prior to transferring a firearm to an unlicensed person. (This type of transaction is often referred to as a default proceed transaction.)
If a submitted background check remains incomplete after 10 business days, then the prospective purchaser may submit a petition for a final firearms eligibility determination. If an additional 10 days elapse without a final determination, then the federal firearms licensee may transfer the firearm to the prospective purchaser. [Emphasis added.]
FFS Analysis: On March 11, 2021, the House passed a pair of background check measures for firearm sales and transfers: The first one, H.R. 8, Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021, and immediately thereafter this one, H.R. 1446, Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2021. H.R. 8 regulated transfers between private parties, whereas H.R. 1446 lengthened the waiting period to purchase a firearm from a licensed dealer.
Target Criminals, Not Guns
During the March 10th debate on H.R. 1446, Rep. Pete Stauber (R-Minnesota) exposed the fallacy in the propose legislation from personal experience:
Mr. Speaker, I stand here today a retired law enforcement officer and the victim of two violent gun crimes.
While off duty, a repeat offender shot me through my car window while
I was with my wife, Jodi. While on duty, another violent criminal pointed his gun at me and pulled the trigger. By the grace of God, his gun malfunctioned. Mr. Speaker, I was fighting for my life. I am lucky to be here today to speak to this body.
Criminals who are willing to take someone’s life don’t care about the gun legislation we debate in Congress. And the bills we are debating this week would not have prevented those two criminals from attempting to take my life.
So let’s talk about who is going to be impacted by these bills. The law-abiding citizens who are looking to protect themselves, their families, and their communities from death or great bodily harm. They will be the ones who are penalized for and prevented from exercising their Second Amendment rights.
Defending my constituents’ constitutional rights will be something I do until my very last day in office, and I implore my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to do the same.
Mr. Speaker, I urge a “no” vote.
Behind the Gun Control Lobby
Unfortunately, merely showing that gun control propaganda is wrong minimizes the danger by obscuring the powerful drivers behind the movement and what they really hope to achieve by civilian disarmament.
Undoubtedly, some of the politicians advocating greater gun control are mere opportunists seeking favor from a propagandized constituency by using superficially appealing arguments. But not all. And it is the influential drivers and their agenda that must be exposed if Americans are going to be alarmed enough to save the Second Amendment.
That influential driving force leads to Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) one-worlders. In 1958, Wall Street lawyer Grenville Clark, vice president of the globalist United World Federalists, and Professor Louis B. Sohn (CFR) published World Peace Through World Law. In that text, esteemed by “world order” advocates, Clark and Sohn called for strict controls on the possession of arms and ammunition by private citizens and even local police.
The plan introduced by Clark and Sohn in 1958 would be taken up by CFR members of the Kennedy administration, including President Kennedy himself and his Secretaries of State (Dean Rusk) and Defense (Robert S. McNamara). President Kennedy signed the law creating the United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. He also introduced “Freedom From War: The United States Program for General and Complete Disarmament in a Peaceful World” at the UN, an incredibly subversive plan that continued to guide future administrations. But the real authors of the two initiatives were John J. McCloy, chairman of the CFR and Arthur H. Dean, a CFR director.
GOP Opponents Speak
We conclude here by listing many of the arguments by GOP opponents during the March 10th “debate” over H.R. 1446.
Note: The arguments are significant in showing why these measures are damaging, yet most fall short of explaining the real danger from civilian disarmament and its drivers. And, of course, these compelling arguments didn’t change any of the votes of the proponents.
Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-North Carolina): Mr. Speaker, if we lose the Second Amendment, then the First will fall. I want to remind my colleagues of a simple fact that is far too often swept under the rug by the left. Americans have a right to obtain a firearm for lawful purposes.
I will say it again louder for those on the left, sleeping in the back. Americans have a right to obtain firearms. This is my right. And, Mr. Speaker, this is your right. But let me be clear to everyone in this Chamber: You will not take this right away from us.
I know it is easy to be sucked into the D.C. bubble, but outside of here, in real America, when we say, “Come and take it,” we damn well mean it.
This bill would unconstitutionally place the burden of proof for firearms purchases and transfers on American citizens instead of placing the burden firmly where it belongs, on the shoulders of the government.
But let us be clear. The left is not here today to debate this bill, nor are they here to legislate in the best interests of the American people. They are here to shove it down our throats. My colleagues and I on the right have been called here to defend one of our most sacred rights because you, Mr. Speaker, think that the Constitution is just another piece of paper to tear down the middle of and toss aside.
I speak for millions of Americans. I specifically speak for 700,000-plus Americans in my district when I say that if you think this bastardization of the Constitution will be met with silence, then you know nothing of the America I know. You want my guns; I know it. We all know it. Well, Mr. Speaker, you can come and take them.
Rep. Kat Cammack (R-Florida): Mr. Speaker, I rise today in opposition to H.R. 1446 and H.R. 8, a/k/a the gun-grabber bills.
Madam Speaker Pelosi, you were elected in 1987, and I was born in 1988. During that time, you say that background checks have saved millions of lives. But what about the more than 50 million babies that have been murdered through abortion? So I am just going to leave that there as we talk about the value of life.
These bills are not about gun safety, and they certainly aren’t about reducing crime. These bills are about control.
Two weeks ago, Democrats voted to strip religious freedom. Last week, they voted to defund our police. Today, they are now taking our guns.
In reality, these bills do nothing to improve background checks, as noted by an Obama official in 2013: “The effectiveness of universal background checks depends on requiring gun registration.”
Instead, it would increase our wait times and allow for endless delays for law-abiding citizens to purchase firearms.
Our communities have seen too many tragedies perpetuated by sick people intent on committing violence, no matter the weapon.
H.R. 1446 puts the onus on individuals to contact the government if their background check hasn’t been completed in 10 days.
You know who cannot afford to wait? The single mom looking to protect herself and her children from a violent ex who has just been released from jail. You think this situation isn’t real? It happened last month in Orlando. And there are thousands more like them.
You know that the more garbage that we find in these bills, the more I believe that the motto of these Chambers is changing from “We the People” to let’s screw the people.
H.R. 8 and H.R. 1446 does nothing but make it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to protect themselves and their families. Under this legislation, criminals will do what they do best: Break the law and perpetuate crime.
So I ask my colleagues considering supporting these bills: Do you honestly think that punishing law-abiding constituents in your districts, stripping them of their constitutional rights will make them safer? Will you be able to look them in the eye as they are the next victim of crime?
As Members of Congress we swore an oath to defend the Constitution, and that includes the Second Amendment.
Shall not be infringed.
You and I both took that oath, Mr. Speaker.
Rep. Richard Hudson (R-North Carolina): Mr. Speaker, Newtown, Parkland, Las Vegas, Sutherland Springs, Charleston, the attack on our former colleague, Gabrielle Giffords, these are all tragedies that would not have been prevented by H.R. 8 or H.R. 1446.
My colleagues across the aisle don’t want to admit it, but every commercial gun sale in America already requires a background check.
In Charleston, there was no loophole. The problem was information sharing. If the FBI had checked all available databases, then Dylan Roof wouldn’t have been allowed to purchase a firearm. Congressman Tom Rice of South Carolina has a bill to fix that.
Republicans are serious about ending gun violence and have brought forward policies that protect public safety without eroding our Second Amendment rights.
That is why in recent years we have passed measures like the STOP School Violence Act, the Fix NICS Act, and 21st Century Cures Act.
The bills before us this week would not build upon this progress but strips away from law-abiding citizens their rights. H.R. 8 would turn law-abiding citizens into criminals if you store a gun for a friend or loan a firearm to a neighbor with an abusive ex who wanted to borrow it for self-protection.
Even worse, H.R. 1446 would extend the waiting period for a firearms sale from 3 to 10 business days and allow the government to delay a transfer indefinitely. Indefinitely, as in forever, if a government bureaucrat says so.
Instead of these gun-grabbing bills, House Republicans are bringing forward targeted solutions. That is why I introduced the STOP II: Classrooms Over Conference Rooms Act to double funding for the STOP School Violence Act to harden schools, to get more mental health resources in schools, and increase active-shooter training for law enforcement. And we pay for it by taking money set aside for the Department of Education to rent conference rooms in Washington, D.C.
However, the left is determined to take away your rights, after voting to defund the police just last week.
It is no wonder gun sales and concealed carry permits are at all-time highs. These law-abiding Americans deserve to have their rights protected.
That is why today, I am calling on my colleagues across the aisle to stand up for law-abiding citizens and adopt H.R. 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act.
H.R. 38 is a bipartisan and commonsense bill that ensures people like Shaneen Allen, a single mother from south Philly, don’t become criminals for carrying a legally owned firearm across an invisible State line.
We need H.R. 38 more than ever. And if my colleagues are determined to pass gun legislation, then let’s help people protect themselves.
Mr. Speaker, if we adopt the motion to recommit today, we will instruct the Judiciary Committee to consider my amendment to H.R. 1446 to include my bill, H.R. 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act.
I ask unanimous consent to insert the text of the amendment in the Record immediately prior to the vote on the motion to recommit.
Rep. Gary Palmer (R-Alabama): Mr. Speaker, a bill trampling on the Second Amendment rights of the American people is a convenient distraction from the actual crisis in the United States. There are over almost 11,000 people killed by drunk drivers each year. There were more than 81,000 drug overdose deaths in the United States in the 12 months ending last May. But we are here today debating a bill to further restrict the rights of law-abiding citizens.
I just heard it mentioned about domestic violence. You could have a woman, threatened by an ex-boyfriend or a husband, who feels her life is being threatened, who would not be able to acquire a firearm once she needed it. She would have to wait at least 10 days.
The vast majority of illicit drugs, like heroin and fentanyl, leading to these 81,000 deaths are crossing our southern border. Instead of addressing these issues, President Biden has reinstituted catch and release, and now, we have an overwhelming surge of illegal crossings on our southern border.
According to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, in 2018 alone, there were 1,641 illegal aliens convicted of homicide. How many more will it be now that the Democrats have signaled that our borders are wide open?
This bill reflects an obsession with gun restrictions by my Democrat colleagues. Meanwhile, in 2018, more than one in six homicides were committed without a firearm of any type: 1,500 were killed with knives or cutting instruments, more than 400 with blunt instruments, and more than 600 with hands and feet. Only 403 died as a result of a rifle of any kind.
Mr. Speaker, these numbers are dwarfed by the loss of life from the failure of the Democrats to enforce their laws.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio): Mr. Speaker, the FBI tells us, in a 4-year time period, 18,000 people who exercised their Second Amendment liberties to get a firearm who were denied got that reversed. Those are just the ones who went there and said, “You know what, you guys screwed up. It is not really me.”
They had to work it out.
Mr. Speaker, 18,000 times, the system screwed up. In 2017, over 112,000 people were denied, but only 12 people were prosecuted, which means that, most likely, thousands of law-abiding people were falsely denied their right to exercise their Second Amendment liberty.
Now what do Democrats want to do? They want to say: Wait a minute.
That all happened in a 3-day time period. We are going to extend that for 10 days because we know the government bureaucracy will get so much better in 10 days. We know it will work out if we just give them more time to screw up more things.
That is what is going to happen. Oh, by the way, that single lady who needs to protect herself, she is going to have to wait longer now for a system that had this many screwups to get the firearms she needs to exercise her Second Amendment liberties to protect herself and her family. That is what this legislation does.
Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska): Mr. Speaker, I watched this debate. I have to say, we have an old saying: “How do you eat an elephant? A bite at a time.” We have had two bites today.
Mr. Speaker, this is not about what everybody is talking about. It is about the Second Amendment and — I won’t call you Democrats. A lot of you are. Some of you are socialists that believe in taking the right to protect away — the Second Amendment — from the law-abiding citizens.
This is just a little step forward, the 10-day waiting period instead of the 3-day waiting period.
The FBI is controlled by the President. He, in fact, can say take 6 months or 6 years for a legal purchase of a weapon. That is what you are really saying.
Taking away the right to protect your home and your liberty, not just from criminals but those who would take away your rights as a government, the Second Amendment is what it is all about, to protect from the tyranny that could occur by the wrong leaders taking rights and freedoms away from you.
That is why I, as a board member, support this idea of the Second Amendment and ask for a “no” vote on both of these bills.
Rep. Clay Higgins (R-Louisiana): Mr. Speaker, there is a higher authority than the law of man. Above the Speaker’s podium are the words, in this great Chamber, “In God we trust.”
Do we? Do we recognize that the Biblical record is replete with the violence of man?
Shall my colleagues on the other side of the aisle admit that law designed to restrict Second Amendment rights and freedoms are but a veil to conceal the violence of man born since Adam? The firstborn son of Adam killed his brother in a violent rage. I am rather certain he did not use a firearm.
The Second Amendment protections that we have as American citizens shall not be infringed. Remember these words and that they are born of a nation that recognized our service to our Lord.
Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-Wisconsin): Mr. Speaker, I would like to, one more time, address what is going on here and the perceived problem.
Here in the United States, the number of murders from the beginning of the 1990s until Ferguson had fallen repeatedly, and the murder rate was half of what it once was with a tough law enforcement stance.
At that time, in the Ferguson shooting, when Officer Wilson, who was eventually found entirely innocent by the Obama Justice Department, when that person died, we whipped people into an antipolice frenzy.
Because of the antipolice frenzy, we had the murder rate in this country go up by 20 percent.
It then began to drop again until last year when we had the horrible events in Minneapolis. One more time, we whipped people up into a frenzy, and the number of murders in 1 year in Minneapolis went up 70 percent; in New York, 40 percent; in Chicago, 55 percent; and in Milwaukee, 95 percent, with the same gun control laws in cities that are run by mayors who are as antigun as you will find.
The problem here is we whipped the people into an antipolice frenzy.
The police became passive, and a lot of people died. The people who were whipped into the antipolice frenzy ought to stop and consider the huge increase in murders.
Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Georgia): Mr. Speaker, I rise today in opposition to H.R. 1446, and in defense of the constitutional right to bear arms.
This right does not come with caveats, asterisks, or exceptions. It exists to make sure that the freedom to keep and bear arms is not unjustly infringed upon by the government.
It is the government that has the legal burden of explaining why it is restricting the natural rights of the citizen. H.R. 1446 would reverse that burden and require the law-abiding American to petition for the right to bear arms if they don’t hear back from government after 10 business days, 7 more than the current law provides.
In response to this unconstitutional action, I will introduce a bill to allow a Federal firearms licensee to transfer a purchased firearm to a legitimate buyer within 3 calendar days of contacting the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, as opposed to the current law, which requires 3 State government business days.
As a Federal firearms licensee myself, I saw firsthand during the pandemic how the closure of State government offices across the country easily infringed upon our right keep and bear arms. With these offices closed, or purported closed, 3 business days can turn into weeks and even months before a firearm transfer is allowed to be completed by government.
Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to vote “no” on H.R. 1446.
Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.): Mr. Speaker, what is the so-called Charleston Loophole?
It is a provision that gives the FBI 3 days to provide a background check for a citizen to buy a gun. Now, 3 days for a background check doesn’t seem unreasonable since a credit card check takes about 3 seconds.
Now, if the FBI fails to give a clear “yes” or “no” in 3 days, the sale can proceed. That protects our Second Amendment right from arbitrary denial by inaction, and the clearance is good for 30 days from when you begin that transaction.
Now, this bill repeals the 3-day limit and replaces it with a multistage bureaucratic review process that can span up to 20 business days.
It is really quite clever. Your clearance is good for 30 calendar days from the day you begin the transaction, but the clearance can be delayed for up to 20 business days. So if you applied on January 15 of this year, 20 business days takes you to February 16. By then, your purchase window will have expired 2 days earlier, on February 14. You have to start the process over, applying for a new background check in a perpetual cycle. They never have to say “approved.”
Would a government abuse its citizens like that?
I don’t know. Maybe we should ask Lois Lerner or Andrew McCabe.
Rep. Ben Cline (R-Virginia): Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to H.R. 1446 and the last bill we spoke about, H.R. 8.
These bills continue the systematic and coordinated attempt by the Democratic Party to undermine our Second Amendment rights.
I was sent to Washington by my constituents to uphold and defend the Constitution. I will not stand by and allow our rights to be stripped away. My colleagues on the other side of the aisle claim that these bills will save lives. However, nothing in them would have stopped any of the recent mass casualty shootings that have occurred in our country.
Rather than go after criminals who break the law, Democrats want to create a false narrative that will criminalize private gun ownership.
Democrats will tell you that these bills close loopholes, but the loophole they believe exists is that law-abiding Americans are even able to own guns in the first place.
The sole objective of this gun control package is to remove constitutional safeguards and put in place criminal penalties that would unjustly go after responsible gun owners.
The Second Amendment is crystal clear, the right to bear arms shall not be infringed. Our Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution to protect us from a tyrannical government, and wrote the Second Amendment to ensure that the rights of Americans to protect themselves was secured.
These outrageous proposals put government between the American people and their constitutional freedoms to protect themselves, protect their families, and protect their communities, and I vote “no.”
Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Michigan): Mr. Speaker, there is no gun violence problem from legal gun owners. And this bill, as well as the prior bill, will do nothing to stop gun violence because it unnecessarily regulates law-abiding citizens. And we don’t have to define that term, I would think, because they are not criminals.
The problem is with criminals. And because criminals could care less about the bills we are talking about today, innocent people will die.
I can think of neighbors of mine out in the country where I live, who have an ex who would want to cause violence to them. That lady could come to me and say: I can’t get a gun because I have got to wait 10 days, but he could come this weekend. Would you loan me a gun?
Mr. Speaker, what we are doing today wouldn’t allow that. This lady is put at severe risk.
Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to consider what they are doing. This will not work. Vote against H.R. 1446 and support the Second Amendment made by people sometimes wiser than us.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio): Earlier, we had a couple of the folks who spoke on our side. Earlier they said the Second Amendment is right next to the First because it is pretty darn important. I think some of our folks said that.
But it struck me that, you know what, I don’t know that the other side actually cares all that much about the First Amendment.
Think about what has happened this past year. Democrats have told Americans they can’t go to church, can’t go to work, can’t go to school, can’t go to a loved one’s funeral.
Of course, the rules never apply to them. We had a Governor of one of our largest States — a Governor of our largest State — out at a 5-star restaurant, having dinner with friends and lobbyists at the same time he is telling folks in his State that they can’t even have Thanksgiving dinner with their family.
We see the attack on free speech. I mean, just to laugh at this whole cancel culture phenomena. First it was Kermit the Frog and the Muppets, then it was Dr. Seuss. I think yesterday it was cartoon characters from the Looney Tunes. Tack on your right to speak, specifically to speak in any type of political nature.
We have had Democrat Members of Congress, Mr. Speaker, send a letter to carriers, asking those carriers not to have certain news networks on their system. That is frightening. You talk about chilling speech. That is as scary as it gets — just because they don’t like what is being said on certain news networks? Scary.
And now they are coming after your Second Amendment liberties as well. I mean, think about your First Amendment rights, your right to practice your faith, your right to assemble, your right to petitionyour government, freedom of the press, freedom of speech. And then the very next right the Founders mention, your Second Amendment liberties, they are coming after that, too.
It wasn’t enough to go after your right to practice your faith. It wasn’t enough to go after your right to assemble and be with people you wanted. Think about some of the things we saw this year. We had Democrat leaders in States telling Americans you had to be in your home at a certain time with curfews. You had to be in your home by 10.
We had another State say, when you are in your home, you have to wear a mask. And then we had States say, well, when you are in your home, you don’t have to wear a mask because you are not allowed to have anybody over.
Government was limiting your First Amendment right to practice your religion, your First Amendment right to assemble. And now they are coming after your First Amendment right to speak and speak in a political nature. And here we are today, coming after your Second Amendment liberties.
The Democratic Party is the party that says defund the police, open the border, attack people’s Second Amendment rights to defend themselves while they are defunding the police and opening the border, and all the while they are undermining American’s First Amendment liberties as well.
This should frighten everyone.
This should frighten everyone. This should frighten everyone wherever they want to go. It is scary. I certainly hope we defeat both of these bills today when they are offered.
Rep. Gary Palmer (R-Alabama): Madam Speaker, I rise in opposition to this Amendment and to the underlying legislation which is another attack on our 2nd amendment rights. This bill trampling on the 2nd Amendment rights of the American people is a convenient distraction from the other actual crises in the United States.
There were almost 11,000 people killed by drunk drivers in 2018.
There were more than 81,000 drug overdose deaths in the United States in the 12 months ending last May . . . but we are here today debating a bill to further restrict the rights of law-abiding citizens.
This bill endangers women threatened by domestic violence from an ex-boyfriend or ex-husband. A woman who feels her life is threatened would not be able to acquire a firearm when she needed one, under this bill she would have to wait at least 10 days.
The vast majority of the most deadly illicit drugs like heroin and fentanyl are smuggled across our southern border. Instead of addressing these issues President Biden has reinstituted catch and release and we now have an overwhelming surge of illegals crossing our southern border. According to a report from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency, in 2018 there were 1,641 illegal aliens convicted of homicide. How many more will it be now that the Democrats have signaled that our borders are wide open?
Yet we are here debating a bill to take away the rights of law-abiding men and women to acquire firearms to protect themselves.
This bill reflects an obsession with gun restrictions by my Democrat colleagues. In terms of homicides, more than 1 in 6 do not involve a firearm of any type. According to the FBI, in 2017 over 1,500 people were killed with knives or cutting instruments, more than 400 were killed with blunt instruments and more than 600 killed with hands, fists and feet. There were only 403 homicides committed with a rifle of any type, including a semi-automatic AR-15 that is the target of many Democrat anti-gun activists.
I urge my colleagues to oppose this amendment and the underlying bill.