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Smells Like Infringement

Smells Like Infringement: 5 Ways H.R. 8 Could Make You a Felon



Go hate guns somewhere else.

My nana always told me, “Trace, if you can’t say something nice about somebody, you just come sit down right here next to me.”

Every week, America’s hoplophobes go into the smallest room in their house and think really really hard about how to make life tougher for law-abiding Americans. With concentrated effort, any number of large crayons suitable for beginning writers, and quite possibly some grunting, they usually manage to squeeze out a few little rabbit pellets’ worth of “gun control.” However, this past week Pelosi et al must have doubled up on the Metamucil, because their most recent efforts definitely…shall we say, made a splash? The passage of H.R. 8, which is now on its way to the Senate, is definitely the newly created anti-gun House majority’s first deposit in the Great Porcelain Bank of things that smell like infringement.

“But Trace,” you might be wondering, “H.R. 8 only expands background check requirements so that everyone who buys a gun has to have a NICS check run. Isn’t that a good thing?”

Not exactly. The problem is that either through ignorance (best-case scenario) or deliberate action, the way that H.R. 8 is written is such that there are any number of perfectly moral and ethical things that are legal today that would become felonies if this bill were to become law. What’s more, they’re all things that sport shooters, personal defenders, and hunters might do as a matter of course. There are “exceptions” written into the bill, but those are so confusingly worded that it would be very, very easy to run afoul of them. Here are five of them.

1: The Home-Defense Nightmare

Let’s say a few years ago you bought a handgun and a shotgun. A couple of years after that, you met the man/woman/attack helicopter of your dreams (we’re not judging) and moved in together. Now the unthinkable has happened: Someone has broken into your home. You hand the handgun to your significant other and ask them to call 911 while you go investigate with the shotgun. The only problem is that your live-in cuddlemuffin isn’t your spouse, and didn’t go through a formal firearms transfer. So when the police arrive, they take two people away in cuffs: You and the burglar.

2. Heirlooms, Schmeirlooms

How about this: You’ve amassed a tremendous collection of rare and interesting firearms over the course of your long, happy life. As your sunset years advance, you decide to start giving away your things to your family and friends so there won’t be any fighting or confusion over your will when you’re gone. Your godson is happy to keep that remembrance of you…but, whoops, you didn’t make him go through a NICS check. The good news is that federal prison is definitely cheaper than a retirement community.

3. Good Shotguns, Good Neighbors

Perhaps you’re just starting your gun collection, and you finally found a shotgun that fits you like a glove. Your neighbor, who is a good sort and shovels your driveway sometimes, asks if he can borrow it to go to the range and see if it works for him, too. He might like to buy one just like it. Except the minute you hand it over to him, you’re not just a good neighbor and friend…you’re a felon.

4. No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

What if, one day, your best friend confessed to you that he’s undergoing a crisis with depression and asked you if you could hang on to his guns for him while he works on his mental health? Good for him for safeguarding his well-being, and good for you for helping him out by keeping his collection safe. Except, whoops, no, he didn’t make you meet him at a gun dealer’s so he could run a background check on you so those guns are getting taken away all right…by Uncle Sam. And so is he.

5. Crash Into Me

It may not even come in the form of a situation over which you have any control. On your way to work one morning, some undercaffeinated person runs a red light and t-bones your car. You’re concussed and your car is totaled. As the EMTs load you into the ambulance, you ask your co-worker, who was in the passenger seat, to please secure the handgun your CCW permit and local laws allow you to keep concealed in the dash. Sadly, you’ve got another headache coming to compound the one you already have, because…you guessed it, you just committed a felony.

Is it time to panic? Probably not: As of now, it would appear that H.R. 8 is little more than theater. President Trump has already vowed to veto it should it arrive on his desk. Instead, it should be viewed as a harbinger of what’s to come should things change any further in either the legislative or executive branches of our government. However, now might be as good a time as any to contact your state Senators and let them know that you’re watching how they vote on this one…

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