I think it’s very important that the Democrats not let the doldrums of the August recess take away the momentum that we have to get something done on guns. Even though my Representative is a Republican – Tim Burchett, I figure he represents me, so I should feel free to contact his office and ask him (or his staff really), what’s going on with guns.
But first, I figured I should go and look at his voting record. On the recent Bill, which passed the House – H.R. 8 – Representative Burchett voted no. That Bill is titled Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019. The summary of the Bill says, “This bill establishes new background check requirements for firearm transfers between private parties…it prohibits a firearm transfer between private parties unless a licensed gun dealer, manufacturer, or importer first takes possession of the firearm to conduct a background check.” There’s also an exception for firearm transfers between spouses in good faith.
I called Representative Burchett’s Knoxville office to ask about this. The person who answered the phone pointed me to the press release he issued on the shootings in El Paso and Dayton. I asked the staffer about the vote and she said that he had a problem with some of the add-ons to the bill. She also said he would evaluate any further gun reform legislation based on the contents of the Bill.
From looking at the text of the bill, it looks like it removed the old subsection (s) from Title 18 U.S. Code Section 922 and replaced it with the new language. Since the Bill take aim at firearm transfer between private parties, this looks like it’s trying to fix the so-called “gun show loophole.” Since there is a background check system already in place and this Bill only goes after the “gun show loophole” to that existing system, it’s hard for me to see what add-ons the staffer might be talking about.
So, I went to see how much the NRA might’ve donated to Representative Burchett and it looks like he received $1,000 in the 2017-18 cycle. I don’t think I’m being too cynical to guess that Representative Burchett’s vote on the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 didn’t really have anything to do with add-ons to the bill.
But, Maddog, doesn’t his vote reflect the wishes of his constituents and the fact that they would not favor any more gun regulation than already exists? Not necessarily.