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Congressman Mike Thompson

Representing the 5th District of CALIFORNIA

The Hill: House Dems warn of 'terribly alarming' Republican gun bills

Feb 28, 2017
News Articles
TIM DEVANEY

House Democrats are pushing back against GOP attempts to loosen the nation’s gun laws.

Republican proposals to allow law-abiding gun owners to carry their firearms out of state and allow hunters to use sound suppressors are “terribly alarming,” Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) said Tuesday at a press conference.

Democrats are rallying to defeat these efforts on Capitol Hill. The legislation is almost certain to pass in the House, but they might stand a chance in the Senate, where Democrats can block a vote on the bills.

“In the Obama years, the GOP and the NRA spent eight years peddling the fiction that President Obama was going to take away [guns],” said Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.). “Every time there was a mass shooting, you would have ‘Obama sales’ and people warning, ‘Get your guns while you still can.’ Gun production doubled in the U.S.”

“Now you have a pro-NRA president in Donald Trump, and sales are way down, profits are way down,” Beyer added. “They need a way to build back their profits. How do you do it? You create a brand new revenue stream to sell silencers, you make sure you can carry a concealed weapon everywhere. This is all about building up gun profitability.”

This comes one day after Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) introduced the Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, which allows people who are legally permitted to own a gun in one state to carry that firearm in another state.

Proponents say it will allow law-abiding gun owners to travel across state lines with their firearms without being arrested. But critics point out that gun owners from states with weaker laws could pose a risk to people in other states.

Thompson called the bill an “effort to dumb down the process for getting a concealed carry permit.”

Republicans are also backing the Hearing Protection Act, which would allow gun owners to use sound suppressors to reduce the noise of their firearms. Proponents say it will protect the hearing of hunters, but critics argue these devices are paramount to “silencers” and could be exploited by criminals.

Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.) called it a “gift to the gun lobby.”

“This is not an attack on the Second Amendment of the United States,” said Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.). “That’s bull.”

Thompson, the chairman of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, also raised concerns about the Republican effort to roll back an Obama-era regulation that blocked certain disability recipients who are mentally ill from owning guns.

“It was very said to learn that the first thing the new Republican majority did when they got here was make it easier for people who are mentally ill to have firearms,” Thompson said.