Photo by Gage Skidmore

The Senate recently passed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, a significant piece of gun control legislation that will help create Red Flag Laws, enhanced background checks, and other firearm regulations, with the help of several high-profile Republican Senators.

Of the Republican Senators who pushed this legislation, of which were 15, many of them are recipients of NRA funding. These are the 11 US Senators who received the most funding from the NRA according to Newsweek; those names in red voted to pass this gun control legislation.

Mitt Romney (Utah) $13,647,676
Richard Burr (North Carolina) $6,987,380
Roy Blunt (Missouri) $4,555,722
Thom Tillis (North Carolina) $4,421,333
Marco Rubio (Florida) $3,303,355
Joni Ernst (Iowa) $3,124,773
Rob Portman (Ohio) $3,063,327
Todd C. Young (Indiana) $2,897,582
Bill Cassidy (Louisiana) $2,867,074
Tom Cotton (Arkansas) $1,968,714
Pat Toomey (Pennsylvania) $1,475,448

The NRA has sold the 2nd Amendment out once again. For reference, here is what the Senate bill would do:

Red Flag Laws

The legislation, as currently proposed, has numerous concerns regarding due process. The bill outlines that Americans will have a right to due process under the proposed Red Flag Laws but does not specify what it will do to protect the 5th and 4th amendment rights of Americans.

While Americans will be granted a right to an attorney during these proceedings, they will not be provided with one if they can not afford one. Unlike traditional cases, there are no public defenders in this space; you will be expected to provide your attorney.

Enhanced Background Checks for those Under 21

This bill included enhanced background checks for those purchasing a firearm under the age of 21. However, before the bill’s release, it was unknown what this meant.

These enhanced background checks will involve a waiting period of 3-10 business days, 3 being the minimum number of days, and 10 is the maximum it can be extended to if searching through records takes longer than expected. All agencies involved with the new background checks must inform the FFL by the third day if they need the full ten business days.

These new background checks will involve looking through state juvenile records, mental health records, and a check-in with a local law enforcement agency for any other disqualifying records.

Federal Firearms Licensee Changes

In what is the most concerning part of the bill, the government intends to change who is an FFL.

An FFL or a Federal Firearms Licensee is an individual with a government licensee to sell firearms. This bill would make those who are looking to liquidate their gun collection and those who inherit firearms that they want to sell an FFL. However, this would mean that those who fall into those circumstances must adhere to federal law regarding the buying and selling of firearms.

New Penalties for Straw Purchasers

This bill will allow new, increased penalties for those convicted of purchasing a firearm for a person prohibited from owning a firearm.

Current law allows for a $250,000 fine and five years in prison for straw purchasing. The newly proposed bill would allow for 15 years in prison, and if the firearm involved in the straw purchase was used for a “crime of terrorism,” the purchaser can face up to 25 years in prison.

The “Boyfriend Loophole”

This bill contains language that will redefine what a domestic partner is but fails to give specific guidelines. The bill reads:

“In its review, the Commission shall consider, in particular, an appropriate amendment to reflect the intent of Congress that straw purchases without significant criminal histories receive sentences that are sufficient to deter participation in such activities and reflect the defendant’s role and culpability, and any coercion, domestic violence survivor history, or other mitigating factors.”

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