U.S. Representative Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr., a representative for the State of Georgia, who is probably best known for saying in a House Armed Services Committee hearing in 2010 that he thought the island of Guam would capsize and tip over due to stationing too many U.S. troops there, is now sponsoring new anti-gun legislation known as House Bill 5717 – Gun Violence Prevention and Community Safety Act of 2020 (“HB 5717”).
According to Congress.gov, the bill does the following:
- generally requires individuals to obtain a license to purchase, acquire, or possess a firearm or ammunition;
- raises the minimum age—from 18 years to 21 years—to purchase firearms and ammunition;
- establishes new background check requirements for firearm transfers between private parties;
- requires law enforcement agencies to be notified following a firearms-related background check that results in a denial;
- creates a statutory process for a family or household member to petition a court for an extreme risk protection order to remove firearms from an individual who poses a risk of committing violence;
- restricts the import, sale, manufacture, transfer, or possession of semiautomatic assault weapons and large capacity ammunition feeding devices;
- restricts the manufacture, sale, transfer, purchase, or receipt of ghost guns (i.e., guns without serial numbers);
- makes trafficking in firearms a stand-alone criminal offense;
- requires federally licensed gun dealers to submit and annually certify compliance with a security plan to detect and deter firearm theft;
- removes limitations on the civil liability of gun manufacturers;
- allows the Consumer Product Safety Commission to issue safety standards for firearms and firearm components;
- establishes a community violence intervention grant program; and
- promotes research on firearms safety and gun violence prevention.
The Bill is co-sponsored by 18 other members of Congress, and many gun advocates and pro-gun groups say it will destroy the right to bear arms in America. Change.org already has a petition with nearly 250,000 signatures against the bill, and it’s growing rapidly.
You are encouraged to learn more about the bill and voice your concerns or support for it with your local representations online, which includes: