I live-Tweeted the Townhall last night in Vallejo, California held by Rep. Mike Thompson (@GuardAmerican is the Twitter handle). I attended because I wanted to get a sense of what the forthcoming legislative or executive action may be following a clearly-coordinated onslaught of proposals from every crevice of the Democrat party leveraging the horror of Sandy Hook.
The first thing to acknowledge is that Gun Control advocates will use a new phrase: "Gun Violence." This is useful because it does not distinguish between lawful violence and unlawful violence. It's like failing to distinguish between "killing" and "murder."
Why? Though the majority of "gun violence" in America is unlawful violence, roughly half (48%) are suicides, and much of the remainder gang violence. So it is a lot more impressive to say "300,000 deaths were caused by gun violence in the last 12 years," as Police Chief Joseph Kreins of Vallejo did last night, than to say "120,000 people were killed by criminal assaults with a gun in the last 12 years, the vast majority gang-related violence." Suddenly, you'd be a lot less alarmed because, after all, you're not a gang member, and you're not suicidal (I hope).
Chief Kreins knows this. He used this figure knowing it is a half-truth, at best. You don't become Chief of Police without being politically astute, and the affable Chief Kreins is that. Along with Mayor Osby Davis and Rep. Mike Thompson, all up on the dais last night at Vallejo's City Hall.
In a similar abuse of the truth, the increasingly-diverse definition of "Assault Weapon" was frequently thrown about. It will be twisted into meaning "anything that's scary and has the vague whiff of the military."
U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson was the only fellow last night who might have some impact on forthcoming federal legislation -- that is virtually assured to pass in some form. So I was trying to divine what may happen, finger the chicken bones, and predict the future.
Based both upon Rep. Mike Thompson's statements and crowd responses during the 90 minutes of public comment, here is what I believe will occur:
Assault Weapon Ban of 1994: Expanded and reinstated
It is well-documented that the late "Assault Weapon Ban" had no impact on reducing crime. Nonetheless, it is coming back. It is likely that existing guns will be grandfathered in, but this is not yet clear. State Rep. Dan Muhlbauer of Iowa seeks AR15 confiscation, as has Gov. Cuomo of New York (since backed off).
Registration of "Assault Weapons"
This is likely to overwhelm NICS system, and compliance is unlikely. But it will be the law.
"High-Capacity" Magazines: Gone. They will be illegal
Anything over 10 rounds will be illegal to manufacture or sell. Existing magazines exceeding that amount may be grandfathered in, but that is not clear. It's possible that the total permissible number of rounds will be fewer than that. As Gov. Cuomo recently said on the Bill of
Needs Rights, "You don't need 10 rounds to kill a deer."
Tax on guns and ammunition to fund mental health initiatives
I don't know how much, and I don't know if it will occur at the manufacturing level, the retail level, or both. But I guarantee you this is coming.
NICS checks for ammunition purchases
I think this one is legally tenuous, but certainly it will be tried.
NICS checks for private sale/transfer
Even though doing so will overwhelm the current capacity of the FBI's database, you can count on this, along with some sort of fee for conducting the check.
California laws for NICS check at gun shows will go national
California currently requires a NICS check for every sale at every gun show in the (twilit) Golden State. It's about to go national.
National database of mental patients, connected to NICS, patterned after Calif. law
California currently has a system in place that prevents 1.17% of applicants through 60 different flags from being sold a gun. This will go national.
Aside from the considerable threats to the Second Amendment some of the above represents, legislation will also be proposed to regulate the Video Game industry. Such law seems unlikely to survive a First Amendment court challenge, but who knows?
I advocate for unambiguous gun storage laws, but I doubt that will be in any legislation. It might, but I doubt it.
So that, ladies and gentlemen, is my guess thus far on what you will see proposed in the coming 30 days. From the President, Vice President, Congress, Governors: every pol who, in good faith or not, sees an opportunity in Sandy Hook.
As Rahm Emanuel counseled the President, "Never let a good crisis go to waste."