Our Second Amendment rights are under attack

The U.S. Constitution guarantees law-abiding Americans the right to keep and bear arms, but once again, our Second Amendment rights are under attack by the left.

Democrats in the House are bringing forth two pieces of legislation that aim to make it even harder for citizens to legally obtain a firearm. Contrary to what the critics say about HR 8 and HR 1446, these bills will do nothing to prevent mass shootings or ensure guns do not fall into the wrong hands.

HR 8 will essentially criminalize gun sales and transfers without the permission of the federal government. The fact of the matter is that restricting a law-abiding citizen’s ability to acquire a gun will not protect our communities from wrongdoers.

It’s likely that the opposite will be true.

The other bill, HR 1446, would extend the window for completion of a federal background check from three days to 10. Not only is this 10-day requirement completely arbitrary, but with the technological advances throughout our society and increased attention on ensuring safe and legal firearm sales, access to this important information is essentially in the palms of our hands.

If anything, we should decrease the burdensome delay.

Besides, do Democrats really think that a 10-day background check extension is going to stop a criminal from buying a gun? It won’t.

Under existing law, there are 10 classes of persons prohibited from purchasing, receiving, transporting, or possessing firearms including felons, drug addicts, violent offenders, illegal immigrants and more. These people do not fall into the category of “law-abiding American citizen,” and they should not have access to a firearm.

Republicans are not opposed to screening perspective gun owners. We, along with Americans across the country, support keeping guns out of the hands of criminals.

Congress must ensure that our background check system is as accurate, up-to-date, and efficient as possible, and Republicans have already supported efforts to address these issues.

In the 115th Congress, Republicans passed the Fix NICS Act, a bill that requires states and federal agencies to ensure the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) has the updated, necessary information to ensure an accurate and timely background check for gun purchases.

These are the types of common-sense improvements Congress should be making. Let’s make sure our existing laws and systems are working before we pile on new, burdensome regulations that infringe upon our constitutional rights.

Despite the picture that may be painted by my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, we know in Central Washington that our Second Amendment rights extend beyond just the ability to own a gun. The Constitution guarantees our right to protect ourselves and our families, and hunting is an integral tradition of Western culture that is passed down from generation to generation. I grew up shooting jackrabbits and sage rats with my friends, and I regularly go shooting with my children, my wife, and our friends on our farm.

Limiting the ability for any law-abiding American to buy a gun will not make America safer, and these two bills will only increase the federal governments influence on our daily lives. I am strongly opposed to HR 8 and HR 1446 because I support our constitutional right to keep and bear arms, and I will continue to defend that right on behalf of Central Washington.

 U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Sunnyside, represents Washington’s Fourth Congressional District.

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