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Sheriff refutes new gun legislation

By John Meng General Manager/Editor

    U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) introduced HR8, a the bill which requires a background check for every firearm sale. While on the surface, this bill may seem harmless but it is causing a dramatic ripple effect across the country and here in Jackson County.

    The Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 establishes new background check requirements for firearm transfers between private parties, prevents loaning firearms to friends and colleagues and even restricts the ability to securely store firearms. Specifically, it prohibits a firearm transfer between private parties unless a licensed gun dealer, manufacturer, or importer first takes possession of the firearm to conduct a background check.

    As a result many sheriffs across the country are standing up in defiance of the bill and stating they will not enforce it as they contend it violates the Second Amendment.

    Jackson County A.J. ‘Andy’ Louderback tempered his comments about the bill somewhat but still expressed strong opinions.

   “I hate to comment on a bill that is not signed into law yet, but the bottom line is that I will always fight any unconstitutional law. I always have and I always will,” said Louderback. “Gun control only applies to compliant honest citizens. That’s who pays attention to laws. The world is full of examples of what gun control does to humans and humanity. History is very complete with saga after saga of human misery when gun control becomes part of the plan.”

    According to the language in the bill, it “shall be unlawful for any person who is not a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer to transfer a firearm to any other person who is not so licensed, unless a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer has first taken possession of the firearm.”

    HR8 also requires that loans, gifts, and sales of firearms be processed by a gun store. The same fees, paperwork, and permanent record-keeping apply as to buying a new gun from the store. For example, if you loan a gun to a friend without going to the gun store, the penalty is the same as for knowingly selling a gun to a convicted violent felon. Likewise, when the friend returns the gun, another trip to the gun store is necessary, upon penalty of a felony. And, the bill authorizes unlimited fees to be imposed.

    There is a partial exemption for immediate self-defense such as “a temporary transfer that is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm, if the possession by the transferee lasts only as long as immediately necessary to prevent the imminent death or great bodily harm.”

    The problem with this exemption is that actually endangers domestic violence victims. For example, a former domestic partner threatens a woman and her children. An attack might could come at any time or never. It’s impossible for the victim and her children to know. Because the attack is uncertain – and may not quality as ‘immediate’ – the bill prohibits a woman from borrow a handgun from a neighbor for her defense. Many domestic violence victims do not have several hundred spare dollars so that they can buy their own gun. Plus, most of these types of threats are manifested at night, when gun stores are not open.

    While HR8 has a limited exemption for “hunting, trapping, or fishing” – there is no exemption for ranching or farming.

    Firearms transfers at farms and ranches are very routine. Some transfers might last a few hours, while others last for several weeks as when a ranch hand takes a gun to guard a herd during calving season. Under HR8, the transfer is allowed only when the farmer or rancher stays in the hand’s ‘presence.’ This is impractical; often the hand needs to do work in one location, and the farmer or rancher in another.

    Under HR8, for a farmer or rancher to lend a firearm to an employee, they both must travel to a gun store to process the transfer. When the employee returns the firearm, everyone must return again to the gun store.

    Very few farms and ranches are located near gun stores, so the process typically requires hours of travel for the loan, and hours more for the return. This takes the farmer, the rancher, and their hands away from the farm or ranch during what may be the busiest period of the year, when everyone needs to work from sunup to sundown.

    Even the family exemption is vanishes if one family member pays the other in any way. For example, if a brother trades an extra shotgun to his sister in exchange for her extra television, both of them have to go to a gun store. Their exchange will have all the fees and paperwork as if she were buying a gun from the store.

    “That is a picture-perfect look at a Democrat’s idea of government. I don’t know what to say to that,” commented Louderback. “The government is doing its best to make criminals out of honest gun owners. You are going to create a new class of criminals. You’re going to criminalize honest law-abiding citizens.”

    Gun storage has also been jeopardized by HR8. If a person will be away from their home for an extended period ­– perhaps as a member of the armed services being deployed overseas, or a person going on a long vacation – that person might wish to store firearms with a trusted neighbor or friend. Guns are less likely to be stolen by burglars, and then sold to other criminals on the street, if they are kept in an occupied home rather than left in a house that will be unoccupied.

    However, under HR8, Neighbor A can only store Neighbor B’s guns if both persons go to a gun store, fill out extensive paperwork for each gun to be stored, pay per-gun fees to the government and the gun store, and then repeat the process when the firearms are returned. Since very few people will go through that hassle, more guns will be left in unoccupied dwellings which means they will be at greater risk of being stolen.

    “Gun control is a democrat fantasy. Right before their very eyes, the case they are using to propel this legislation through Congress points to a failed system. Last week’s Colorado shooter passed all the background checks and every Democrat dream piece of gun control, Colorado has had for some time. It didn’t stop anything,” said Louderback. “Gun control laws are only for the honest people.”

    HR 8 has passed the House, and is currently 

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