Two bills by South Dakota congressman Dusty Johnson have won approval from the House Judiciary Committee and may soon be headed to the floor for a vote, where they arguably should draw enough bipartisan support for easy passage even with the slim majority that Republicans hold in the House at the moment.
There’s really nothing in either piece of legislation that Democrats should find objectionable, unless they’re just opposed to gun ownership in general… which, now that I think about it, is the position of many Democratic congresscritters. So maybe we will see the majority of House Democrats end up voting against the measures despite their narrow focus and modest scope.
To be able to purchase a firearm in the United States, you need to have an identification card such as a driver’s license, passport, or military ID. However, Tribal IDs are not currently accepted, and because of this, Representative Johnson re-introduced the Tribal Firearm Access Act, which would classify a Tribal ID as a valid form of identification for the purchase of firearms.
“They should be able to use that same government-issued photo ID to be able to go through purchasing a gun. They still have to go through the background check, they still have to go through the same process with a federal firearms dealer. But it makes it clear that having a tribal ID is just as good as having a state-issued driver’s license for the purchasing of firearms,” stated Rep. Johnson.
Not exactly controversial, right? The same is true of Johson’s other bill, known as the Traveler’s Gun Rights Act, which would enable those who use a P.O. Box for their primary mailing address to lawfully purchase a firearm.
“In many states to be considered a resident, you have to have lived in a permanent residence for quite a period of time, a year is not unusual, and you have to be considered that resident before you can purchase a firearm. That isn’t fair to military spouses. People who travel all over the country following that military member. It’s also going to make it that much easier for RV-ers, people who don’t have a permanent address that they’re at day in and day out, they’re out on the road, to also be able to exercise their second amendment rights,” Johnson continued.
That’s a crazy quirk in the law, and while Johnson’s bill may not completely solve the problem it’s a big step in the right direction. There are plenty of people who live a transient lifestyle by either choice or circumstance, and the Second Amendment doesn’t say anything about the “right of the people who have a fixed address to keep and bear arms”. I would argue that even those living in homelessness who might not have a P.O. Box still maintain their right to keep and bear arms, but as I said, this would still be a big improvement over current law.
If the bills pass the House they would face an uncertain future in the Senate, where Chuck Schumer doesn’t seem inclined to let anything remotely supportive of the Second Amendment to get a full and fair hearing, even legislation as innocuous as Johnson’s measures. Frankly, that’s all the more reason for the House to quickly approve these bills and send them across the aisle. If Schumer refuses to act on the legislation we get to remind voters of who’s really extreme when it comes to the right to keep and bear arms, and there’s still a slim possibility that the bills could get an up-or-down vote, in which case we could get to make some improvements to existing law. Sounds like a win-win to me, though I’d love to see this same strategy deployed for other pro-2A bills like Rep. Richard Hudson’s national right-to-carry reciprocity measure.