Gun Law Changes You May See Under Trump

Gun Law Changes You May See Under Trump
The line of Henry rifles at the 1,000 Man Shoot held near Phoenix, Arizona this week.photo from npr.org

Despite the fact that an avowed gun-friendly president will be in the Oval Office come January, the NRA is not slacking in its duty to promote Second Amendment rights, asserting that now is the time to make a difference.

According to this story from NPR, with a Republican-held Congress and Donald Trump's impending presidency, big changes could be coming for the nation's gun laws.

The story mentions the 1,000 Man Shoot held this week in Phoenix, Arizona LINK by Henry Repeating Arms and the NRA to promote gun rights during which Pete Brownell, president of Brownell’s, said he and other gun rights advocates have been on the defense for the past eight years under the Obama administration.

"We've always had to be looking out for how our rights are going to be taken away from us as individuals; how our constitutional rights are going to be impinged (sic) upon," Brownell said in the story. "Now, the ball's going to be in our court."

NPR examined exactly what laws the NRA and gun rights advocates would like to see change during the next four years and asked Adam Winkler, a constitutional law professor at the UCLA School of Law what the chances are for each proposal.

1. National reciprocity for concealed-carry permits

The story says this is “the biggest-ticket item for the NRA” and that it’s the most likely to come to fruition. Trump, who is a concealed carry permit holder, said that concealed carry “is a right, not a privilege,” and that a permit should be valid in all 50 states, similar to a driver’s license. National reciprocity would grant a CCW permit holder from Texas the right to carry a firearm in states like New York or New Jersey, regardless of the local state gun laws.

The story says there are two versions of this law that have already been proposed in Congress, the broader of which would allow a person to get a concealed-carry permit outside their state of residence. That could be a big deal for people who live in may-issue states like New Jersey, where permits are rarely granted and applicants are required to demonstrate extreme circumstances to even be considered.

“That’s the more controversial version of national reciprocity,” Winkler said. “I’m not sure that’s the one we’ll get, but the NRA is most likely going to push for the broadest version of national reciprocity.”

From the story: "Winkler believes that some version is likely to pass, but he says that Democrats could filibuster. He also notes that some Republicans could withhold support from national reciprocity because of states' rights."

2. An end to gun-free military zones

At a rally in January, Trump said, "My first day, there's no more gun-free zones." He was talking about schools and military bases. He later clarified his position on schools, saying that school resource officers or teachers should be allowed to carry them. He has not publicly changed his opinion on military bases.

"This is very easy," Winkler says in the story. "Allowing carrying of firearms on military bases is something that the president will probably be able to do through executive order. I believe that [Trump] will."

3. Removing suppressors from the National Firearms Act

Gun owners can already purchase and use suppressors in most states, but the process is a complicated, lengthy, and an expensive one since the devices are included in the National Firearms Act of 1934. Gun rights advocates have long argued that suppressors should not be regulated by the NFA, as they are rarely used in crimes and are more useful as a preventative measure for hearing loss.

"Everybody that you know that's an old shooter is deaf," says Michelle Camp, leader of the Utah chapter of The Well-Armed Woman, in the story. "To have the ability to get (suppressors) easier would be really helpful."

The legislation that would do this is the Hearing Protection Act of 2015 and Winkler says it has a good chance of passing, but doesn’t expect it to be a priority for Congress unless the NRA pushes for it, in which case, it is likely to pass.

4. Revamping federal background check process

The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) often comes under fire from all sides. Gun rights groups argue that there are too many loopholes in it, and many gun control groups concur in a rare area of agreement.

Many gun control groups want expanded background checks, but the counter is that the existing system needs an overhaul, including ways to get the system better data to work with so felons and the mentally ill are prevented from buying firearms.

"Unfortunately, I feel the efforts to 'fix' the background check system will be really efforts to gut the background check system," Winkler says in the story. "To make it less effective, less streamlined, and make it harder for prosecutors to find gun criminals."