Dems: Goal of banning modern sporting rifles is unreachable at present time; Focus efforts on registration via background checks

by Chad D. Baus

Fox News is reporting that the leader of the Democrat-controlled Senate has dropped a proposed ban on modern semi-automatic rifles from the chamber's gun-control package – dealing a blow to supporters of the ban.

Noting that the ban could still come up for a vote, the article stated that the sponsor of the measure, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-CA., revealed that Reid told her the proposed ban would not be in the initial package. Feinstein reportedly said she's "disappointed" with the decision, and is expected to nevertheless offer it as an amendment.

From the article:

...The move by Reid to cut it from the main bill signals a lack of congressional support for a proposal that would not only revive, but strengthen, the decade-long ban that expired in 2004.

The proposed ban passed was passed last week by the Senate Judiciary Committee, along with three other measures. The others dealt with providing more school safety aid, expanding federal background checks on potential gun buyers and helping authorities prosecute illegal gun traffickers.

Feinstein has led the gun-control charge since President Obama called for federal legislation in the wake of the Newtown and other mass shootings.

The assault weapons ban was the most controversial of the major proposals to restrict guns that have been advanced by Obama and Senate Democrats. Because of that, it had been expected that the assault weapons measure would be left out of the initial package the Senate considers, with Democrats hoping the Senate could in turn amass the strongest possible vote for the overall legislation.

According to the article, Feinstein said Reid told her there would still be a vote on her gun control proposal, which also includes a ban on standard-capacity ammunition magazines that carry more than 10 rounds. She was told there would also be a vote just be on prohibiting the magazines.

In The Connecticut Post's coverage of these developments, it is clear that the decision has been made among gun control groups to put all of their efforts into a national gun registration scheme branded as "universal background checks."

Mark Glaze, director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns told The Post "If their view is that the assault weapons ban is tougher sledding, we respect that." According to the article, Glaze said his group wants Reid's bill to be focused on expanding required background checks for gun buyers, a provision that he called "the biggest policy fix" that could be made.

Speaking to The New York Times', Glaze noted that "the background check bill has been always been the center of our agenda," since it would include the registration of not just rifles, but handguns as well.

Meanwhile, according to a press release, an online survey of federally licensed firearms retailers conducted this week by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearms industry, reveals that those who would be on the front line of implementing what is touted as "universal background checks" have serious concerns both about whether such proposals would work as well as the potential negative effects on their businesses.

Asked whether they supported or opposed "universal background checks," 85.7 percent of the responding firearms retailers said that they opposed them. To the question of whether they believed that such legislation would prevent criminals from obtaining firearms, a nearly unanimous 95.7 percent said no.

In addition, the retailers reported that that they feared these proposals would result in higher regulatory and additional record-keeping burdens, increased risk of license revocation for record-keeping errors related to private party sales of firearms, additional delays in processing of National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) requests, low government-set fees that will not cover their costs, and increased liability exposure arising from having to process private-party transactions.

"The concept of universal background checks sounds appealing on the surface, but the details involved in what actually would be required on the part of firearms retailers to make it work are quite another matter," said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF senior vice president and general counsel. "In fact, the obligations and burdens that would be put in place could be overwhelming for many of those who would be called upon to carry them out. It is unfair to call upon private companies, many of them quite small and with limited personnel, to conduct what essentially would be a function of government."

The online survey of 640 federal licensed firearms retailers nationwide was conducted on Monday, March 18.

Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Vice Chairman.

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