The Democratic majority in the House of Representatives plans to introduce legislation next Tuesday to mandate background checks on all gun sales – essentially this bill would extend background checks to guns sold at gun shows.
This is permissible within the scope of Antonin Scalia’s decision in Heller – the decision that revised Second Amendment Jurisprudence by creating the right to keep handguns in one’s home for purposes of defense. To quote from Scalia’s decision, “Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited … Nothing in our opinion today should be taken to cast doubt on … laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.”
Let’s try to divide into two groups: those who support such legislation and those who oppose such legislation. I am interested in hearing reasons and constitutional justification from both sides.
I would ask for a serious discussion of this. There’s no need to insist that the 2ndAmendment does not allow any “infringement” because no judge (including Scalia) has ever read the 2ndAmendment to mean that. Please also avoid claims that this will lead inevitably to gun confiscation; because no one with any political clout is suggesting that.
If you are curious about the ellipses in my quote and whether that allowed me to quote Scalia out of context, let me explain. I have tried to reflect Scalia’s judgment accurately. What I eliminated was the enumeration of other conditions where Scalia said the right to bear arms may be restricted that seemed to dilute the focus of the House’s proposal on sales.
My expectation is that Mitch McConnell will not allow this to come to a vote. If he did, I am not sure how the Senate would vote. Were they to pass it, it is certainly possible President Trump would sign it. His administration banned bump stocks – the first federal weaponry restriction in decades – with barely a whimper from the NRA. However, given that McConnell will probably not allow a vote, I suspect this bill is a message from the Democratic Party leadership to the American people about what they can expect if they give the Democrats power over more branches of government.