Congressman Jamie Raskin and Senator Chris Van Hollen, both of Maryland, introduced the bill. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy and Congresswoman Jahana Hayes, all of Connecticut, have all jumped in as sponsors.
If passed, the Handgun Purchaser Licensing Act would authorize the Attorney General to provide grants to states for permit-to-purchase programs. To be eligible for the grants, states, as well as indian reservations, would be required to already have a handgun permit program in effect. These programs must also require fingerprinting, photographing and background checks. Applicants would have to be at least 21 years old and resubmit everything every five years.
These anti-gunners introduced the bill following a Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research study. That study came to the conclusion that licensing reduces gun violence. Currently, nine states and the District of Columbia require permits before residents can purchase handguns. That study claimed that homicides in Connecticut dropped after the state instituted a permit program. However, Illinois has long required a Firearm Owners Identification card for all firearm and ammunition purchases, but Chicago still has a major violent crime problem. In fact, the Chicago Sun Times reported that 28 people were shot, six fatally, just last weekend.
Handgun Purchaser Licensing Act Begins Registration
When introducing this bill, proponents compared requiring handgun permits to drivers’ licenses. Of course, driving isn’t a right; driving is a privilege. They also discussed how some states have had success with handgun purchase permits, as well as how one state saw some issues when it repealed its program.
None of the proponents mentioned California, which has implemented most of the laws desired by anti-gunners, including universal background checks and firearm registration. Still, the California violent crime rate remains quite high, particularly in the larger cities.
This isn’t the first time anti-gunners introduced this bill. In fact, it died in committee during the 115th Congress. The bill doesn’t have much chance this session. Even if it could pass both the House and the Senate, President Trump would probably use a veto.
Still, this reveals what the pro-gun crowd actually want. Requiring a permit to purchase a handgun basically creates a handgun owner registration list. It might not list number or types, it does tell the state, and possibly the federal, government who owns handguns.