Mass shootings understandably garner a huge amount of media attention. The thought of human life cut short, for no reason and largely without warning, is a natural source of anxiety. These events are increasingly sparking debate on whether to expand government restrictions on arms and related conduct in the United States. This question is a very serious one, as laws restricting firearm ownership and the like necessarily infringe the fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms. Sound public policy demands a proper understanding of our legal system, our rights, and a dispassionate examination of evidence rather than a fixation with a specific type of tragedy. One piece of vital evidence absent from the broader ‘gun debate’ is the actual risk posed by mass shootings.
On September 18, 2019, a purported “idea sheet” being circulated among Republican senators and congressmen was leaked to the media. The document, entitled “Idea for New Unlicensed-Commercial-Sale Background Checks”, is both frighteningly vague and callous in its disregard for the Second and Fourth Amendments, as well as the federalist principles that animate the Commerce Clause. FPC strongly opposes these suggested gun control measures, "Universal Background Checks” (UBCs), and firearm/gun owner registration.
The so-called "Universal Background Check" (UBC) system would require that individuals submit to federal oversight for purely private, intrastate transfers of firearms. The two primary justifications that some use in promoting the passage of UBC legislation are: 1) closing the “gun show loophole” -- i.e., private sales -- and 2) preventing incredibly rare mass murderers from obtaining firearms. The UBC legislation currently being proposed addresses neither of these issues; less than 1% of firearms used for criminal activity were acquired at gun shows, and nearly all mass shooters passed background checks. Not only are "Universal Background Checks" ineffective, they punish ordinary people by preventing otherwise lawful transfers with family, friends, and employees. Read our policy brief to learn more about these laws and how they work.
Policy Brief: Red Flag Laws
“Red flag laws” are “emergency” orders that gives certain persons or law enforcement the ability to petition the court for the ability to force “temporary” relinquishment of firearms from “dangerous” individuals. These laws are also referred to as “Extreme Risk Protection Orders” and “Gun Violence Restraining Orders” (these laws collectively will be further referred to as “red flag laws”). These laws vary from state to state, but the general laws themselves have a similar intent. Read our policy brief to learn more about these laws and how they work.
Policy Memo: Violence Against Women Re-authorization Act
Passage of VAWRA in its current form will result in the denial of due process by depriving Americans of a hearing before losing their rights and property. It will provide for the unconstitutional federalization of state resources, dramatically expanding the federal government’s reach into matters traditionally controlled by the states. And, crucially, it will permanently deprive people of their fundamental human right to keep and bear arms on the basis of nonviolent misdemeanors. For these reasons, VAWRA is not only flawed, but dangerous and unconstitutional. Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) thus opposes VAWRA.
Policy Memo: TAPS Act
The TAPS Act is potentially disastrous for those intent on exercising their right to keep and bear arms, and assuredly catastrophic for the privacy rights reserved to the People under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) thus opposes TAPS Act.