Overblown NRA candidate questionnaire is an exercise in constitutional illiteracy and intimidation


The questionnaire blows it in several other areas as well.

Part of it focuses on Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act, whose text can be seen here. A multi-pronged but modest reform that gained broad bipartisan support and Republican Gov. Rick Scott’s signature, the law was passed in the wake of the slaughter of 14 students and three staff members at the high school in Parkland, a small city in greater Miami.

The changes include raising the age to buy rifles and shotguns from 18 to 21, banning of “bump fire stocks” that allow semi-auto rifles to fire more rapidly, extending Florida’s current three-day waiting period to buy a handgun to all firearms, barring persons adjudicated as mentally ill from buying or possessing a firearm, setting aside $400 million for hiring “safe-school officers” and providing mandatory active shooter training at each school, and providing funding for mental health counselors in schools, among other things.

Which takes us to Question No. 3:

“The 2018 ‘Gun Control/School Safety’ bill contained gun control provisions that we believe are unconstitutional. In addition to the lawsuits that have been filed against the state to overturn these provisions, pro-gun legislators have pledged to file legislation to repeal the gun control provisions.

“(a) The new law prohibits adults between 18-21 years of age from purchasing a firearm. Adults 18 and older can vote, sign contracts, become law enforcement officers and join the military. Will you support legislation to repeal this provision of the law?

Yes, Americans can vote and sign contracts at 18. But they can’t be legally sold alcohol until they are 21. Federal law also restricts the sale of handguns to individuals who are at least 21. It’s nonsense to think the courts would find it unconstitutional for a state to restrict the sale of all firearms to those 21 and older. 

“(b) The new law also imposes a 3-day waiting period between the purchase and the delivery of any firearm. There is no empirical evidence that waiting periods stop crime or violence. Will you support repeal of the 3-day waiting period provision of the law?

In fact, there is empirical evidence, as shown in this 2017 Harvard Business School report published by the National Academy of Sciences. In the 17 states with waiting periods, the authors estimated about 750 homicides had been avoided by the delay. And, for the record, Florida already has a three-day waiting period for handguns. What exactly is the problem against extending that waiting period to all firearms? 

“(c) Additionally, the law imposes a ban on the sale, transfer and possession of bump stocks, which are used to increase the rate of fire of semi-automatic rifles AND any accessory, device or kit that can be used to alter the rate of fire of a firearm. This language, which is undefined, is so broad that it could include anything that improves the function of a firearm, including scopes, competition triggers and foregrips, to name a few such items. The law makes anyone who sells, transfers or possesses these items, which were acquired legally, a felon. Will you support repeal of the bump stock, accessory, device and kit provision of the law?

Hyperbole is the NRA’s prime m.o. Here’s the definition that the lobby claims would allow telescopic sights to be prohibited by the ban on bump fire stocks:

As used in this section, the term “bump fire stock” means a conversion kit, a tool, an accessory, or a device used to alter the rate of fire of a firearm to mimic automatic weapon fire or which is used to increase the rate of fire to a faster rate than is possible for a person to fire such semiautomatic firearm unassisted by a kit, a tool, an accessory, or a device.

The wording is perfectly straightforward in content and context and is no threat to competition shooters, hunters, or other customizers. 

The fact the NRA has targeted Florida’s gun reform law clearly shows that the lobby has zero intention of moving away from its stubborn, hardcore stance against even the mildest new gun restrictions. A good reason for every Democratic candidate to toss their questionnaire.


USA News


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