BELLEVUE, WA – The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms today blasted a new gun control measure sponsored by Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) as “beyond unreasonable” because it would hold commercial and private gun sellers liable for crimes they didn’t commit.
Sen. Kaine’s “Responsible Transfer of Firearms Act” creates what one newspaper described as “an affirmative responsibility” for gun sellers to take “reasonable steps” to assure that a buyer can legally own a firearm. But it doesn’t define what those steps might be, and doesn’t explain what other ‘reasonable steps’ a dealer or private seller might take if a person passes a background check.
“The language in Sen. Kaine’s bill seems intentionally vague and designed to create a chilling effect, especially on perfectly legal private firearms transactions,” said CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb. “It appears Sen. Kaine also expects gun dealers and private sellers to be clairvoyant. Just what else could a retailer do beyond a background check? Sen. Kaine seems to suggest background checks on all transactions may not be good enough. The bill just talks about ‘reasonable steps,’ but what does that mean, especially to a private seller?
“You could still be held liable especially if you were put before an Obama-appointed, anti-gun judge,” he asserted. “Even if private sellers had access to the National Instant Check System, which they don’t, how could they possibly know what someone might do with a firearm in the future? How could anyone know that, especially if the buyer passes a check? They can’t, but that seems to be what Kaine expects by introducing this measure.”
Sen. Kaine reportedly introduced the bill in reaction to recent tragedies, including the real-time slaying of a television news crew during a live broadcast. But Kaine should know that the gunman in that incident, like other high-profile killers, legally bought his gun from a dealer after passing a background check, Gottlieb noted. It was not a private sale.
In a statement, Kaine laments that current law ‘makes it difficult to hold people responsible if they sell or transfer a firearm to someone who is barred by federal law from possessing firearms because it requires proof that they knew the buyer was prohibited under the law.’ Sen. Kaine apparently wants to prosecute people without any proof they knew that a gun buyer might be barred from having a firearm, Gottlieb suggested.
“Sen. Kaine is joining a mob of gun prohibitionists who are trying every scheme imaginable to discourage people from lawfully buying and selling firearms,” Gottlieb said. “He apparently wants to prosecute people for being unable to see into the future, or look into the mind of a customer, and he wants us to believe this will help prevent future crimes. If we go by the standard of his bill, he should face prosecution when his measure doesn’t prevent a crime somewhere over the horizon.”