Another massive defense spending bill is being worked on under the cover of night and while cloaked in shadows the gun grabbers of Washington, D.C. have managed to sneak gun control into the bill.
The National Defense Authorization Act for the Fiscal Year 2022, filed as H.R. 4350, has started making its way through Congress, and in it is a piece of gun control legislation that will directly affect the military members in the 2A community.
H.R. 4350 includes language that will allow for the seizure of firearms from service members. These are Red Flag provisions, although it is unclear what the criteria are for seizure in the legislation or to whom it will extend too. Questions that remain unanswered by this legislation are; Will this apply to veterans? or only active-duty members of the military? What will the criteria be for these Red Flag seizures?
Sadly, these questions will likely be answered in court after service members have already had their weapons confiscated.
Military personnel might, after this legislation goes into effect, have their private arms seized by the government for little to no reason.
The NRA came out to comment on this matter saying “In other words, military personnel could be forcibly disarmed of their lawfully-possessed firearms before having so much as an opportunity to contest the accusations against them and present evidence in their defense.” The NRA would continue saying “This would represent a clear denial of constitutional due process protections for those who have sworn an oath to protect and defend our country and the U.S. Constitution.“
Say what you will about the NRA and its leadership, but they hit the nail right on the head here. Our service members are dedicated to upholding the constitution and are now being denied their constitutional rights as a result of this new order.
The Red Flag provision in H.R. 4350 is not the only piece of gun control present in the legislation. Another gun control measure that was snuck into this defense bill, more federal control on the export of firearms.
Unlike the previously mentioned Red Flag provision, the issue of exporting arms falls under the purview of national security and its place in this defense spending bill can be justified because of that.
Under the Trump administration, several categories of arms were moved from under the State Department’s control to the Department of Commerce. The Department of Commerce is much more laid back about its regulation in comparison to the State Department, this move by the Trump administration was a major boon for the arms industry. The provision in the defense spending bill moved these arms back under the State Department’s control.
There was a massive debate in Congress about the efficacy of these changes. Democrat representatives argued that it was important to maintain strict control over international arms sales, Republicans argued that the arms being exported under the Department of Commerce were not intended for military use and therefore should be free game.
Democrat Representative Norma Torres argued that the Trump administration did wrong by moving the authority to the Commerce Department because they were not required to notify Congress of any approved licenses or denied licenses. Republican Rep Scott Perry rebutted saying that the Department of Commerce is required to respond to any request from Congress on the matter of arms exports.
The House has passed its version of this legislation but the Senate is yet to finish its version. It is unclear where things will go from here but if we had to take a crack at it, we can assume that the legislation, with all of these gun control provisions, will pass and be signed by President Biden.