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Cole Votes to Protect the Second Amendment

March 11, 2021
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after voting against two pieces of legislation, H.R. 8 and H.R. 1446, related to expansion of background check requirements for individuals seeking to purchase or transfer firearms.

“While promoted by House Democrats as legislation to reduce gun violence and prevent mass shootings, H.R. 8 and H.R. 1446 would not actually pave the way to fulfill that important goal nor would the bills stop those who should not possess firearms from acquiring them,” said Cole. “To be clear, federal law already forbids transfer of firearms to individuals barred from possession, just as it is already illegal to purchase a firearm for someone who cannot legally have one. Instead, these bills would unnecessarily restrain and potentially criminalize law abiding and responsible gun owners who safely use guns for hunting, sport and protection. Unfortunately, the effect of these misguided bills would ultimately deprive law-abiding citizens from exercising their Second Amendment rights protected by the United States Constitution.”

During consideration of H.R. 8 and H.R. 1446 in the House Rules Committee earlier this week, Cole made remarks about the legislation. Transcript is available below.

Our other two items concern background checks for those seeking to purchase or transfer a firearm. H.R. 8 would impose new requirements for a background check any time a gun owner wishes to purchase or transfer a firearm and would effectively criminalize gun transfers or sales without government permission.

H.R. 1446 imposes similar restrictions. It is aimed at expanding background checks and would accomplish that goal by changing the existing three-day background check period to a period of 10 days. But if that background check is not completed within 10 business days, the person wishing to purchase a firearm must file an appeal, which can then take up to another 10 business days to process. This will inevitably have the effect of interminably delaying a person from buying a firearm.

Mr. Chairman, the net effect of both of these bills is only to deprive law-abiding citizens from exercising their Second Amendment rights while doing little to prevent mass shootings or to prevent those who should not possess firearms from purchasing them. While Republicans are not opposed to screening prospective gun owners, it is important to note that the federal law already covers many of the concerns these bills are intended to address. There are already limits in federal law making it illegal to transfer firearms to individuals barred from possession, and it is likewise illegal to purchase a firearm for someone who cannot legally have it. Nothing in these bills would prevent wrongdoers from acquiring firearms.

Republicans have proposed legislation to prevent mass shootings. During the 115th Congress, Republicans passed into law the Fix NICS Act, which ensured that the NICS system used for evaluating potential firearm purchasers, has up-to-date and accurate records. Last Congress, Republicans proposed the Mass Violence Prevention Act, which would create a Mass Violence Prevention Center within the Department of Justice, but Democrats blocked it from coming to the floor. These proposals represent real solutions to the problem H.R. 8 and H.R. 1446 are intended to address, yet Republican proposals would do so while respecting the rights of law-abiding gun owners and ensuring that wrongdoers cannot acquire firearms.

I would urge the majority to rethink their present path. There are alternative solutions out there. We need not embrace the draconian proposals of H.R. 8 and H.R. 1446. Rather, if we work together, we can come up with real bipartisan results for the American people.

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