Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee advanced a bill on Wednesday designed to further curtail Americans’ rights protected by the Second Amendment. The legislation uses suicide prevention as a vehicle for creating a list of citizens maintained by the federal government who say they want to voluntarily be blocked from making firearms purchases.
The bill is sponsored by Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and John Curtis (R-UT) for the stated purpose of preventing people from using guns to commit suicide. The bill is designed to allow any person to enroll themselves on the federal list that would be referenced during a routine background check for any firearm purchase.
The committee voted to approve the bill on a party-line vote. During the debate on the measure, Republicans argued that the proposed bill is just another attempt by progressive Democrats to move closer to gun registration and ultimately a ban on private gun ownership.
Judiciary Ranking Member Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) asked, “Do we really need a federal statute to permit a person to volunteer to give up their fundamental liberty?” He noted that suicide prevention is a noble goal and mental health is important, but said, “I think this again is just another attack from the Democrats on the Second Amendment.”
Americans rejected Pelosi’s gun control schemes in the mid terms, yet here is Biden saying he wants to ban modern firearms, and maligning most gun owners. https://t.co/8cXyftBx8j
— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) November 24, 2022
Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) pointed out the bill could cause ordinary citizens to unwittingly become criminals if they give a firearm as a gift to someone on the federal list. Some Democrats admitted that is a weakness in the law and promised to “fix it later.” However, Massie was unconvinced and said it was just another reason to oppose the unconstitutional bill.
Jayapal used the tragic circumstances of suicide to push the anti-Second Amendment bill. She said the measure will “create a new tool that gives people experiencing the challenging swings of mental health illness to have the power to proactively and voluntarily protect themselves by putting themselves on a do-not-sell list for a firearm.”
The legislation provides that if a person wants to remove their name from the list, they must submit their request with a declaration from a mental health professional affirming the person is not a risk to harm themselves. A government bureaucrat would have to approve that request, and there would be a 21-day waiting period before the applicant could purchase a gun if it is approved.
Jordan argued that it’s “going to be tough” for any person to get their name off of the list and would create a deterrent from people going on the list voluntarily in any event.
For the bill to advance further, the entire House will have to approve it, and it is uncertain at best that it will receive a vote before the GOP retakes control of the lower chamber on January 3.
If the bill does pass on a full House vote, it would still have to be approved by the Senate before it could be signed into law by Joe Biden. As a piece of ordinary legislation, it would take at least 60 votes in the Senate to overcome the filibuster rule there.