House Democrats Pushing For Vote On HR 4240

HR 4240, the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act of 2017, is being pushed for a vote by virtually all the Democrats in the House plus another 11 Republicans. Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) filed a discharge petition on Monday to get it brought from the House Judiciary Committee to the floor of the House for a vote. I should note at this point that no hearings have been held on the bill since its introduction.

Highlights of the bill include:

  • Reauthorization of the NICS Program.
  • Grants to the state to improve and automate reporting of prohibited persons. There are also penalties for failure to do so.
  • Amend HIPPA to allow mental health records to be reported to NICS database.
  • A relief from disabilities provision.
  • Require ALL firearm sales at a gun show to have a background check.
  • Require ALL firearm sales as a result of a ad, listing, posting, or other display to have a background check. This would include both sale ads and want to buy ads.
  • Transfers without background checks due to gun show or Internet ads will be subject to a fine and/or 5 year prison sentence. 
  • Prohibition of a gun registry (for now).
This is being pushed hard by the Brady Campaign as it goes far beyond the FixNics Act passed by the House as well as the Senate version. Noticeably absent is any penalty for Federal departments such as DOD for failure to report prohibited persons.
As to the Republicans, they are:

Rep. King, Peter T. [R-NY-2]* 11/03/2017
Rep. Fitzpatrick, Brian K. [R-PA-8] 11/06/2017
Rep. Meehan, Patrick [R-PA-7] 11/07/2017
Rep. Curbelo, Carlos [R-FL-26] 02/16/2018
Rep. Costello, Ryan A. [R-PA-6] 02/23/2018
Rep. Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana [R-FL-27] 02/23/2018
Rep. Dent, Charles W. [R-PA-15] 02/23/2018
Rep. Lance, Leonard [R-NJ-7] 02/27/2018
Rep. Mast, Brian J. [R-FL-18] 02/27/2018
Rep. Donovan, Daniel M., Jr. [R-NY-11] 02/27/2018
Rep. Smith, Christopher H. [R-NJ-4] 02/27/2018

The dates after their names indicates when they became co-sponsors of the bill.

I intend to let my local Congressman know that I’m opposed to this bill as I see it as merely a first step along the road to universal background checks. We also know that there is no such thing as a “gun show loophole” and a “Internet loophole”. They are made up constructs to vilify the sale of private property within the spirit and letter of the Gun Control Act of 1968.

Finally, in an ironic twist, the name of this bill – the Public Safety and Second Amendment Protection Act – is the same one chosen by the Kafkaesque Manchin-Toomey bill.

Toomey & Manchin – The Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act

I didn’t get to see the press conference at 11am. However, the following is the joint release that Sen. Pat Toomey and Sen. Joe Manchin are putting out. They are calling this bill “The Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act”.

As with everything, the devil is in the details. One of the keys will be how transfers are defined. Will it be transfer as in transferring ownership or the Bloomberg desired redefinition. If it is the latter, this bill needs to die a quick death with plenty of pain for both Toomey and Manchin. Remember these are only the publicized details of the bill and not the actual language

The only two things I really see that I like within this bill is that a concealed carry permit from any state will substitute for a NICS check and that interstate sales of handguns will now be permitted by dealers. I am presuming that the latter means you or I can go into a gun shop in another state and buy that custom 1911 that has been sitting in the dealer’s second hand case. While I can currently use my NC CHP for a purchase, the concern I’d have about this provision is letting the Feds get involved in defining the requirements of a CCW.

I still think Pat Toomey is a damn fool for even getting involved in any of this and should have let the Democrats shoot themselves in the foot with gun control.

Bottom Line: The Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act would require states and the federal government to send all necessary records on criminals and the violently mentally ill to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The bill extends the existing background check system to gun shows and online sales.

The bill explicitly bans the federal government from creating a national firearms registry, and imposes serious criminal penalties (a felony with up to 15 years in prison) on any person who misuses or illegally retains firearms records.


Summary of Title I: This section improves background checks for firearms by strengthening the instant check system.

  • – Encourage states to provide all their available records to NICS by restricting federal funds to states who do not comply.
  • – Allow dealers to voluntarily use the NICS database to run background checks on their prospective employees.
  • – Clarifies that submissions of mental health records into the NICS system are not prohibited by federal privacy laws (HIPAA).
  • – Provides a legal process for a veteran to contest his/her placement in NICS when there is no basis for barring the right to own a firearm.


Summary of Title II: This section of the bill requires background checks for sales at gun shows and online while securing certain aspects of 2nd Amendment rights for law abiding citizens.

  • – Closes the gun show and other loopholes while exempting temporary transfers and transfers between family members.
  • – Fixes interstate travel laws for sportsmen who transport their firearms across state lines in a responsible manner. The term “transport” includes staying in temporary lodging overnight, stopping for food, buying fuel, vehicle maintenance, and medical treatment.
  • – Protects sellers from lawsuits if the weapon cleared through the expanded background checks and is subsequently used in a crime. This is the same treatment gun dealers receive now.
  • – Allows dealers to complete transactions at gun shows that take place in a state for which they are not a resident.
  • – Requires that if a background check at a gun show does not result in a definitive response from NICS within 48 hours, the sale may proceed. After four years, when the NICS improvements are completed, the background check would clear in 24 hours. Current law is three business days.
  • – Requires the FBI to give priority to finalizing background checks at gun shows over checks at store front dealerships.
  • – Authorizes use of a state concealed carry permit instead of a background check when purchasing a firearm from a dealer.
  • – Permits interstate handgun sales from dealers.
  • – Allows active military to buy firearms in their home states.
  • – Family transfers and some private sales (friends, neighbors, other individuals) are exempt from background checks


Summary of Title III: : This section of the bill creates a commission to study the causes of mass violence in the United States, looking at all aspects of the problem, including guns, school safety, mental health, and violent media or video games.

The Commission would consist of six experts appointed by the Senate Majority Leader and six experts appointed by the Speaker of the House. They would be required to submit an interim report in three months and a completed report in six months.


The bill will not take away anyone’s guns.

The bill will not ban any type of firearm.

The bill will not ban or restrict the use of any kind of bullet or any size clip or magazine.

The bill will not create a national registry; in fact, it specifically makes it illegal to establish any such registry.

The bill will not, in any way at all, infringe upon the Constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens –