At The Federalist: If You Like The Second Amendment, You Don’t Want John Cornyn Anywhere Near Senate Leadership

Mar 7, 2024 | op-ed

Dr. John Lott has a new piece up at The Federalist.

Subtitle: If gun control is gaining steam in Congress, chances are Sen. John Cornyn is nearby, working on a ‘compromise’ with Democrats.

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, is the first to announce his campaign to replace Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., as the Senate’s Republican leader. The race for leadership will expose a weakness of Cornyn — his lack of support for Americans’ right to self-defense. “Every time gun control gains steam in Congress, Senator John Cornyn is right there working with Democrats on a ‘compromise,’” says Aidan Johnston with Gun Owners Of America. Unfortunately, Johnston is correct.

Cornyn sponsored the 2022 Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA) and was responsible for negotiating the deal with Senate Democrats. “More than any other senator, Cornyn is responsible for shepherding the landmark legislation through a chamber,” as The Texas Tribune described it. Cornyn was reportedly motivated by the desire to prevent another Uvalde school massacre. However, the final bill turned out to be nothing short of a disaster, and the changes in background checks would do nothing to stop that attack.

Soon after the BSCA passed, Texas Republicans understood what the law’s ramifications meant and vigorously booed Cornyn during his speech at the state party convention.

The bill allowed the Biden administration to push rules that would forbid federal funding for schools that have hunting or archery classes. Fortunately, when that became clear, Congress voted overwhelmingly to undo that part of the BSCA.

But more damaging are the law’s provisions allowing Biden to impose the Democrats’ long-desired wish list on background checks on all private transfers and sales for guns, something that will help them put together a more complete national gun registry of law-abiding Americans.

Although federal law explicitly prohibits the creation of a federal firearm registry, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) published a 108-page proposal at the end of August that would allow the Biden administration to use the bill to require universal background checks on all gun transfers and to track virtually everyone who obtains a gun. To make things even worse, ATF whistleblowers leaked that the proposal had grown to 1,300 pages a month ago.

By early 2021, the ATF created a digital database containing almost a billion firearm transactions. To fill in the blanks, Biden pressured credit card companies to track firearm purchases. The Bank of America has already given customers’ gun purchase data to the FBI without a warrant or probable cause.

Biden used the BSCA to make a tiny, seemingly trivial change in existing law. The federal government previously classified people as “gun dealers,” requiring them to get a license if they sold guns “with the principal objective of livelihood and profit.” The language in the BSCA reads: “predominantly earn a profit.”

The initial proposal put out by the Biden administration classifies you as a gun dealer if you sell a friend a gun once and discuss with them the sale of a second gun. Other rules cover you if you sell one gun and keep any record of what you bought and sold it for. The list goes on, and the leakers say the new regulations are much more extensive and will effectively ban gun sales since all purchasers will have to become licensed gun dealers or go to licensed dealers. It is all part of the Biden administration’s plan to complete its national gun registry.

While Biden is redefining everyone as a firearms dealer, Cornyn knew that Biden’s zero-tolerance policy for paperwork typos was putting thousands of dealers out of business.

Take the case of Tom Harris, who owns the Sporting Arms Co. in Lewisville, Texas, a disabled father of five who made a couple of small paperwork mistakes 16 and 17 years ago. Even the ATF under President Barack Obama cleared Harris, and he has made no mistakes since then. But the Biden administration reopened these old closed cases.

When Biden sold his zero-tolerance policy by claiming: “If you willfully sell a gun to someone who is prohibited from possessing it, if you willfully fail to run a background check, if you willfully falsify a record, if you willfully fail to cooperate with the tracing requests or inspections, my message to you is this: We’ll find you, and we will seek your license to sell guns.” Harris and others are not purposefully selling guns to criminals, but the government is coming for their licenses anyway.

The Biden administration pushes universal background checks and a gun registry as needed to solve crime. The new ATF rules focus on tracing guns used in crimes. In theory, if a criminal leaves a gun at a crime scene, police can trace the gun back to him. But outside of television crime shows, things don’t work that way.

Registration is useful for one purpose: confiscating guns. Australia, Canada, and the U.K. aren’t the only places using registration to ban and confiscate guns. California, Chicago, and Washington, D.C., also used registration to know who legally owned certain types of guns before banning them, and Biden continues to call for a ban on all semi-automatic guns.

The ATF has been having a rough time recently in the courts with its attempts to redefine terms already well-defined in the law. But thanks to Cornyn, the BSCA got around those obstacles and opened the door to a Democrat wish list of new gun-control regulations that will endanger lives.

John R. Lott, Jr., “If You Like The Second Amendment, You Don’t Want John Cornyn Anywhere Near Senate Leadership,” The Federalist, March 7, 2024.

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