Firearms bill a big deal

By DAN DURBIN - Special to GM Today

February 19, 2009

That didn't take long. In the first session of the 111th Congress, a bill, H.R. 45, was introduced by Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IIl.) of Chicago to implement a system of licensing for purchasers of certain firearms and for a record of sale system for those firearms.

No big deal? Well, there's more - a lot more.

Guns involved in this are any handgun, or any semi-automatic firearm that can feed ammo from a detachable magazine.

So, if a man wants to give his son his first .22 rifle for plinking at squirrels, he couldn't do so without a license and all kinds of paperwork.

In fact, anyone possessing one of the "bad guns" would have to obtain a license, and there is no grandfather clause. Meaning, to legally possess the guns you already own, you would have to get a license. That means, a photo, thumbprint, a certification to store the gun safely, and the passing of a firearms "test."

According to the bill, the attorney general will handle all the licensing, and there is no time constraint on how fast the licenses would get processed.

Don't play by the new rules and that Remington 1100 that grandpa gave you that's locked up in the gun safe could cost you two years in prison.

Sen. Mary Lazich of New Berlin says the bill has little chance of going anywhere next session as it has no co-sponsors, but it still could be the start of other bills that could pass.

"The bill treats law-abiding citizens like criminals," she said. "Gun owners and hunters are among the most responsible members of our society. The bill won't prevent illegal sales of guns, or street sales, that are already illegal. But it just might make it illegal for a grandfather to gift a hunting rifle he's owned for decades to his grandson or granddaughter."

Think of it. Every gun owner in America having to submit a thumbprint to the attorney general's office. Imagine the hassle. Imagine the paperwork and funding that would be needed to get that done.

"Why should a law-abiding citizen have to inform the attorney general's office that he or she is changing their addresses, simply because that citizen is exercising their Second Amendment right," Lazich said.

Buster Bachhuber, a director for the National Rifle Association out of Wausau, said there are greater issues than how the bill would affect what gun we carry in the woods.

"We need to remind ourselves that whether a gun bill reduces crime or not is not the object of the game," he said. "In the mind of Thomas Jefferson, the Second Amendment has nothing to do with hunting or so-called sporting purposes, but all about maintaining freedom in the face of tyranny. We tend to overlook such reasons and get caught up in just sporting purposes."

Right now, sitting in my locked gun cabinet, is a Remington 870 Wingmaster 20-gauge that my dad bought for me when I was a kid. It's got my son's name on it when he gets old enough. It is not considered one of the "bad" guns on this bill, but how long will it be until it is?

Heck, I know guys who are just as proficient AND quick with a pump shotgun as most guys are with a semi-automatic versions like the ones in this bill. How long before another member of Congress decides,"He knows what's best for us," regarding guns even though he or she might never have even touched one?

Again, we're not talking about semi-autos with huge banana clips that you'd see in a Rambo movie. These are guns that are used all the time whether it's on a trap range or in a cedar swamp.

Yup, the times they are a changin', and don't be fooled into thinking it could never happen in America. There is probably a bunch of people in Europe and Australia who thought that, too.

Give your local congressman a call.

(Dan Durbin writes a weekly outdoors column for The Freeman. Call Durbin at 644-7940, or e-mail him at if you have a story idea.)