While a bipartisan group of Capitol Hill senators has reportedly reached an accord on legislation that would improve the National Instant Check System (NICS), their work might be offset by a report from a gun control group headed by former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords that takes a swipe at muzzleloaders.
The New York Times is reporting that the Senate group, headed by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), has reached a “modest” but significant compromise on the so-called “Fix NICS Act.” The measure is even getting a nod from the National Rifle Association’s chief lobbyist, Chris Cox, executive director of NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action.
“The National Rifle Association has long supported the inclusion of all legitimate records in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS),” Cox said in a prepared statement. “While federal law prohibited the Texas shooter from possessing a firearm, he was able to pass a background check because the Air Force failed to transfer his conviction record to the FBI. We applaud Sen. John Cornyn’s efforts to ensure that the records of prohibited individuals are entered into NICS, while providing a relief valve for those who are wrongly included in the system. The NRA will continue to support efforts to make the background check system instant, accurate and fair, while protecting the rights of law-abiding gun owners.”
Anti-gun Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) is calling the agreement “a modest breakthrough,” although he reportedly wants “more bipartisan work on gun safety.”
And, the newspaper called anti-gun Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) “the Senate’s longest-standing gun safety advocate.”
Second Amendment activists consider the term “gun safety” to be camouflage for “gun control.” Actual “gun safety,” many contend, is really the province of the NRA, which fields thousands of volunteer firearms instructors and offers training programs for private citizens, law enforcement and private security professionals.
Still, with what appears to be a breakthrough, the Giffords group has released a report called “Lethal and Legal: 9 products that could be the next ‘bump stock’” and one of those products is a muzzle loading rifle. In a description that might be considered close to hysteria, the document declares, “Cue the .50 caliber muzzleloader, which delivers a particularly lethal .50 caliber round. This weapon is designed with a built-in device to suppress its sound.”
What they fail to mention is that this is a specific gun called the Maxim 50, to which the suppressor is permanently attached. It is still a muzzleloader, which means possibly a maximum of two shots per minute, even when reloading fast.
The Maxim 50, or any other muzzleloader, is a limited range gun that is primarily designed for hunting. But this “report” could be the first step in dragging muzzleloaders into the gun control debate, where they have comfortably not been previously. They have been, as the Giffords group acknowledges, considered primitive weapons and antiques not subject to federal firearms laws.
This seems to alarm the Giffords group, which says in its document that gun laws “prohibit convicted felons and other dangerous people from possessing guns, require gun retailers to be licensed, and require licensed retailers to conduct background checks on purchasers.”
“There is one blanket exception to these laws,” the Giffords group says, “the exception for antique firearms, including muzzleloaders. The gun industry is determined to exploit this exception.”
The question now is whether the gun prohibition lobby will exploit the introduction of this product to push for an expansion of the NICS system to include muzzleloaders.