At a campaign stop late last week in New Hampshire, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., said a lot of things about gun laws and legislation that were just plain not true.
In response to a schoolteacher’s question about gun control, Gillibrand said:
We have to take on the corporate corruption and greed that the NRA stands for. The reason why we’ve been unable to pass any commonsense gun reform ever is because the NRA is largely funded by the gun manufacturers …
And, unfortunately, because the gun manufacturers only care about gun sales, they oppose the commonsense reform that can save lives. They want to oppose universal background checks because they want to sell an assault rifle to a teenager in a Walmart or to someone on the terror watch list or to someone who is gravely mentally ill with a violent background or to someone with a criminal conviction for a violent crime. They want to sell those weapons; that’s why they oppose universal background checks.
Here’s a clip in the tweet below; video of the full event is available on C-SPAN. The action starts at the 33:00 mark.
Gillibrand: Because the gun manufacturers only care about gun sales…they want to oppose universal background checks because they want to sell an assault rifle to a teenager in a Walmart. Or to someone on the terror watch list or to someone who's gravely mentally ill… pic.twitter.com/dsZivAiL4q
— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) March 18, 2019
And it’s why they won’t do commonsense things like have an anti-trafficking law. In a state like New York, our number one problem is that guns used in crimes get trafficked from out of state right into the hands of gang members. …
This is the definition of corruption. It is the definition of greed. And they have a chokehold on Congress unlike anything I’ve ever seen. And so commonsense members of Congress that you’d think would be for these things aren’t because they’re so afraid of the NRA.
That’s a lot of ground to cover. Here are the facts:
First off, the NRA doesn’t spend that much money at all compared to other national advocacy groups. Its real strength lies in the fact that there are a ton of people in this country who believe that the Second Amendment exists for a reason. To try to simply blame widespread Second Amendment support on corporate greed and monetary influence is either lazy, misinformed, or plain dishonest.
Now let’s address universal background checks. Every single retail transaction, i.e., the kinds of transactions that result directly in gun manufacturer profits, requires a federal background check. The “universal” background check legislation currently passed by the Democratic House would only extend background check requirements to transactions between private individuals. If gun makers were only looking out for their bottom line, they would support anything that makes it more difficult for people to sell used guns to other people. So her talking point makes no sense.
Even crazier, she also seems to ignore the fact that the NRA backed the creation of the National Instant Background Check System (NICS) used every time a gun is purchased from a federal dealer.
Now let’s talk about those groups of people that the gun makers supposedly want to sell to. Felons, people with domestic violence convictions, people who have been adjudicated “as a mental defective,” and people who have been involuntarily committed to mental institutions are already barred from buying firearms by federal law. And it’s illegal for anyone to sell to them, whether a dealer or a private seller.
As far as selling “assault rifles” to “teenagers” at retail stores, if you mean automatic weapons, you’re not going to see those available over the counter for civilian purchase anywhere. If you want to actually own one of those, you’d better be prepared to jump through a lot of prohibitive hoops, do some antique shopping, and shell out some big bucks. Yes, 18- and 19-year-olds can legally buy semi-automatic long guns with modular capabilities and aesthetics that look scary to the uninitiated. Of course those are not “assault rifles.” But it is illegal under federal law for anyone under the age of 18 to buy a long gun from a dealer, regardless of how scary or non-scary it looks to anti-gun activists.
Now, let’s talk about that “anti-trafficking law” that Gillibrand mentioned. This is a talking point that doesn’t make much sense if you’re familiar with the laws already on the books. It’s already illegal under federal law to purchase a gun with the intention of giving it to someone who is barred from purchasing it, and there’s a maximum 10-year sentence attached. Furthermore, all gun transfers across state lines must go through federally licensed dealerswho, yes, must perform background checks.
It’s hard to tell if anti-gun politicians are outright lying to voters or if they actually believe the misleading propaganda they are eagerly spreading to support their gun control agenda. What makes it even more embarrassing for Gillibrand in this case is that she’s trying to run from her past support of the Second Amendment and even once boasted of keeping rifles under her bed.
Politicians who want to legislate against the Bill of Rights should at least have their facts straight first about all the laws we already do have to keep guns out of the hands of the incompetent or criminal.