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Dangerous ‘Safe’ Gun Storage Act Looming in Congress

By: José Niño

Gun controllers are planning to launch a gun control sneak attack in Congress.

The introduction of the Safe Gun Storage Act, HR 4691, is the latest iteration of gun control legislation that makes firearms difficult to access for self-defense. In situations where seconds can be the difference between life and death, safe storage laws put the law-abiding gun owner at a disadvantage in home invasion scenarios.

Harold Hutchinson of Ammoland noted that this legislation is being pushed by New York Congressman Eliot Engel, who is generally known for his foreign policy specialization. Hutchinson writes if the “Safe Gun Storage Act had been introduced by [Chuck] Schumer, we’d be seeing red, we’d be burning the phone wires with calls, we’d have piles of letters, and there would probably be so many e-mails that some wireless networks and e-mail servers would have given up the ghost.”

Democrats have wised-up and are using other elected officials as conduits for their gun control agendas. Lower profile elected officials like Eliot will not receive as much backlash from gun owners and will be better able to sneak through gun grabs.

Engel has previously introduced other gun control legislation such as the Flamethrowers? Really? Act and the PLEA Act. Based on Eliot’s growing track record, the New York congressman is slowly becoming a solid gun control carrier in the House, which takes pressure off the likes of Senators Chuck Schumer and Dianne Feinstein in the Senate.

Hutchinson raised another important note about this legislation and why it could set dangerous precedents. As much as we like to dig on politicians, the electoral model is the easiest way for constituents to exert pressure on their elected officials and punish them for bad behavior. Bills like the Safe Gun Storage Act, however, shift power away from elected officials and instead boost the power of unelected bureaucrats. In the case of the Safe Gun Storage Act, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) would be tasked with enforcing gun storage provisions.

Bureaucracies have a tendency to grow over time, so the CPSC will likely go from regulating gun safes and gun locks and then focus on regulating guns altogether, should HR 4691 be signed into law.

And good luck with trying to reform a bureaucracy. Last time I checked, you can’t unseat bureaucrats via election. The next best step is to defund agencies, but D.C. sure as heck isn’t interested in downsizing its bloated spending these days. Furthermore, such legislation would do nothing to curb gun violence.

In a 2001 study titled Safe-Storage Gun Laws: Accidental Deaths, Suicides, and Crime, researchers John Lott and John E. Whitley found that safe storage laws did not reduce crime. In fact, their study found the opposite, as noted below:

“The only consistent impact of safe-storage laws is to raise rape, robbery, and burglary rates, and the effects are very large. Our most conservative estimates show that safe-storage laws resulted in 3,738 more rapes, 21,000 more robberies, and 49,733 more burglaries annually in just the 15 states with these laws. More realistic estimates indicate across-the-board increases in violent and property crimes. During the 5 full years after the passage of the safe-storage laws, the 15 states faced an annual average increase of 309 more murders, 3,860 more rapes, 24,650 more robberies, and over 25,000 more aggravated assaults.”

The Safe Storage Act is no cure for gun violence, but it does facilitate a massive power grab for D.C.’s unaccountable bureaucracy.

Gun owners should stand firmly against this gun control legislation.

José Niño is a Venezuelan American freelance writer based in Austin, Texas. Sign up for his mailing list here. Contact him via Facebook, Twitter, or email him at joseinpolitics@gmail.com. Get his e-book, The 10 Myths of Gun Control, here.

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