Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Blair Holt Bill: Cynicism at Its Finest

H.R. 45, also known as "Blair Holt's Firearm Licensing and record of Sale Act of 2009," is a wide-reaching gun control bill introduced in Congress in January 2009 by Rep Rush, Bobby L. (IL-D).

The bill's namesake, Blair Holt was by all accounts a brave young man who was murdered at age 16 in Chicago in 2007 while protecting a girl on a public bus from another young man trying to shoot her. The killer, Michael Pace, also 16 in 2007, apparently got the gun from yet another minor, Kevin Jones , who was only 15 in 2007.

Note that both of the perps were under 21. Neither had any legal right in any state to own a handgun, let alone to carry one legally. There is no place in the United States where anyone could have legally sold or loaned a gun to either of those kids. Bizarrely these facts are ignored in H.R. 45's call for NEW laws, when the existing laws are either unenforced or unenforceable.

Illinois, especially Chicago, already has some of the strictest gun laws in the country, which you would think would be prima facie evidence that gun control laws will be ignored by criminals and only put the law-abiding at a disadvantage. (I haven't been able to find a source about where Kevin Jones got the murder weapon, but I'd lay money that it wasn't from a gun dealer, a pawn shop, or non-licensed seller (non-dealer) at a gun show. If you have any info on where Jones got his gun please post it here, but chances are the gun was from a robbery, which according to sources in the know, is also the main source for illegal guns on the streets of Portland.)

My guess is that Rep Rush is a pretty smart man, and as such knows all this. But doesn't care. It's easier to use an unfortunate victim to pass through a gun control bill he would have proposed anyway. And H.R. 45 is a veritable Christmas tree of anti-gun legislation, most of which is already in place in Illinois, and none of which would have saved Blair Holt.

Here's a sampling.

Sec 101 - Requiring a national license to own a handgun or semiautomatic firearm:
"It shall be unlawful for any person other than a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector to possess a qualifying firearm on or after the applicable date, unless that person has been issued a firearm license."

A qualifying firearm is defined earlier in the bill as "any handgun; or any semiautomatic firearm that can accept any detachable ammunition feeding device."

Sec 102 - Application Requirements:
". . . a certification by the applicant that the applicant will keep any firearm owned by the applicant safely stored and out of the possession of persons who have not attained 18 years of age. . ."

Sec 201 - Banning any transfer of a firearm other than via a licensed dealer:
"It shall be unlawful for any person to sell, deliver, or otherwise transfer a qualifying firearm to, or for, any person who is not a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector, or to receive a qualifying firearm from a person who is not a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector, unless, at the time and place of the transfer or receipt."

The bill goes on in like fashion. Regarding Sec 102--the order that you keep your firearm stored in your home and sign a paper swearing you'll do so--it doesn't appear that Rep. Rush believes that precedent was set by the Heller decision, which reads:

. . . Held: . . . 3. The handgun ban and the trigger-lock requirement (as applied to self-defense) violate the second Amendment. The District’s total ban on handgun possession in the home amounts to a prohibition on an entire class of “arms” that Americans overwhelmingly choose for the lawful purpose of self-defense. Under any of the standards of scrutiny the Court has applied to enumerated constitutional rights, this of self, family, and property is most acute—would fail constitutional muster. Similarly, the requirement that any lawful firearm in the home be disassembled or bound by a trigger lock makes it impossible for citizens to use arms for the core lawful purpose of self-defense and is hence unconstitutional . . .

Sorry, Rep. Rush, but this bill ain't happening; SCOTUS will strike it down even if it does pass. But I'm pretty sure you knew that already. At this point H.R. 45 appears to have no co-sponsors; I hope that's as good a sign as it appears, and that Congress will not waste time with bills that violate the Constitution, reinforce the stereotype of "gun grabbers" on the Hill, and which would have no positive impact on crime.

Surely the 111 Congress can do better?


Anonymous said...

Hey- The links to the bill are dead and I can't find it on the Congress website.
Can you find it?

Anonymous said...

Never mind-
I finally found a link for it.
You're right, it does look it's not going to go anywhere.

Zak Johnson said...

Sorry bout the links, goatboy66.

Here's a URL to the listing:

Jodi said...

Here is the direct link to H.R. 45’s summary page:

There are currently 5 co-sponsors listed:
Rep Costa, Jim [CA-20] - 1/9/2009
Rep Holden, Tim [PA-17] - 1/9/2009
Rep Marchant, Kenny [TX-24] - 1/9/2009
Rep Matsui, Doris O. [CA-5] - 1/9/2009
Rep Moran, James P. [VA-8] - 1/13/2009

The Co-Sponsors were added sometime over the weekend, because I believe there were none listed on Friday.

Zak Johnson said...

Thanks for the update, Jodi!

Gene said...

Now US government introduced a HR 45 act for Firearms owners. a few people said it is a bad act for Firearms owner. but i say that it is a good one to prevent a database of firearms owners for future risks. Firearm owner only have to pay tax, give finger print, photo, residential proof to own a firearm. and be secure for lifetime.

Definestro said...

As far as I can tell, this bill still has no co-sponsors. Jodi, your linked bill has the same number, but a different sponsor, title, and legislative text. I had to look this up since I just got a bunch of fear mongering / anti-democrat email about this bill. Please let me know if I'm missing something.

Jodi said...

Well that is good news!

I found the correct link:

Thanks for pointing that out. I was really worried. Now I can relax a little.

Anonymous said...

The bill is not dead, the country has many more urgent pressing problems. I'm a retired police officer with over 35 years in law enforcement. I voted for Obama, I hope this is not the way he wants to change my country. This bill must be killed or we are going to have a revolution on our hands.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, shame on you for voting for Obama. Banning gun or putting more restrictions on guns was in his plans BEFORE the election. You are one of the UN educated ones that voted for him. No I wasn't happy with the Republicans or Bush but Obama is a scarry man. People only heard change in his speeches without looking into what the changes were to be. That being said, we now must deal with what is happening. This bill must NOT go through. Call your congressmen, gun dealers, whoever believes in the 2nd amendment and inform them of what is going on. Socialism is at our door, about to take over. Yes a revolution in this country is in the making if this passes. I for one will NOT hand over my guns or stand aside to what is about to happen.

Zak Johnson said...

Bills like this have been brought up in Congress many times. They are extreme and unconstitutional, and fail. I expect this one won't do any better. It's good to keep the pressure up on legislators, but this bill clearly isn't going to pass.

Anonymous said...

These people will NOT stop until they disarm all law-abiding citizens. And on the day that they succeed, they WILL have a revolution on their hands. I come from a long line of sergeants. Every male in my family for generations has fought and bled for the CONSTITUTION and, if necessary, I WILL die for it right here at home. And I WILL take a lot of these cryptocommunist scumbags with me when I go.

Zak Johnson said...

Anonymous, your passion on this issue is obviously heartfelt and many--probably the majority--of Americans agree with you that gun rights are one of the most important and defining aspects our political system. But the Blair Holt Bill is political grandstanding. It has no chance of passing and would have no chance of surviving a Constitutional challenge if it did.

RAGrote said...

"Honestly, shame on you for voting for Obama."

Posting comments like this anonymously is cowardice... It makes you irrelevant.
Just like this post.