Gun Control Legislation

Gun Control Legislation

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Congress has continued to debate the efficacy and constitutionality of federal regulation of firearms and ammunition, with strong advocates arguing for and against greater gun control. Past legislative proposals have raised the following questions: What restrictions on firearms are permissible under the Constitution? Does gun control help reduce violent crime? Would household, street corner, and schoolyard disputes be less lethal if firearms were more difficult to acquire? Or, would more restrictive gun control policies diminish an individual's ability to defend himself? Speaking to these questions either in whole or part, on June 26, 2008, the Supreme Court issued its decision in District of Columbia v. Heller and found that the District of Columbia (DC) handgun ban violated an individual's right under the Second Amendment to possess lawfully a firearm in his home for self-defense. In the 110th Congress, pro-gun Members of the House of Representatives, who were dissatisfied with the District's response to the Heller decision, passed a bill that would have further overturned provisions of the District's gun laws. In the 111th Congress, pro-gun Members of the Senate amended the DC voting rights bill (S. 160) with language similar to the House bill (described above) and passed that bill on February 26, 2009. Although the House leadership attempted to negotiate an end to the impasse over the District's gun laws and bring its version of the DC voting rights bill (H.R. 157) to the floor, this proposal has been tabled for the time being. Also, in the 111th Congress, Members revisited several other gun control issues that were previously considered in the 110th Congress. For example, Senator Tom Coburn successfully amended the Credit CARD Act of 2009 (H.R. 627) with a provision that will allow people to carry firearms in national parks and wildlife refuges. The House voted on the Coburn amendment as a separate measure and passed it as well. President Barack Obama signed H.R. 627 into law on May 22, 2009 (P.L. 111-24). Senator Roger Wicker amended the FY2010 Transportation-HUD Appropriations bill (H.R. 3288) with language to authorize private persons to carry firearms in their checked luggage on Amtrak trains. H.R. 3288 became the vehicle for the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2010, and the Wicker provision was included in this bill. The President signed H.R. 3288 into law (P.L. 111-117). The Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee has reported the Veteran 2nd Amendment Protection Act (S. 669), which would revamp procedures by which veterans are adjudicated qmentally incompetentq and, thus, lose their firearms possession eligibility. The House Committee on Financial Services reported a bill (H.R. 3045; H.Rept. 111- 277) that includes a provision that would prohibit public housing authorities from barring tenants from possessing firearms. And the Senate Judiciary Committee approved amendments (S. 1132) to the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA; P.L. 108-277), which authorizes certain qualified police officers to carry concealed firearms across state lines. In addition, in the 111th Congress, an amendment offered by Senator John Thune to the FY2010 Defense Authorization Act (S. 1390) was narrowly defeated that would have provided for national reciprocity between states regarding the concealed carry of firearms. Several committees have held congressional hearings on gun trafficking and smuggling across the Southwest border from the United States to Mexico. The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2010 (P.L. 111-117), includes increased funding for Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to investigate additional gun trafficking cases.Congress has continued to debate the efficacy and constitutionality of federal regulation of firearms and ammunition, with strong advocates arguing for and against greater gun control.

Title:Gun Control Legislation
Author:William J. Krouse
Publisher: - 2010-03-10


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