By: Amy Jo Underwood
A gun control bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) that would mandate psychiatric evaluations and have strict penalties for possessing firearms or ammo without a license, including up to 15-25 years in prison. While this bill will face severe pushback, it is not unlike some of the policies proposed by President Biden and Vice President Harris during their campaign trail. Biden and Harris have both stated intentions to pass various legislation through executive order when deemed necessary.
H.R. 127, proposed by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) is one of the most sweeping pieces of gun control legislation to be introduced in Congress. H.R. 127 would establish a federal gun registry, mandate psychiatric evaluations for those purchasing firearms, mandate government-run firearm training, and establish a publicly accessible database of gun owners. Additionally, there would be a government insurance fee of hundreds of dollars paid to the attorney general every year to continue the ownership of the firearm.
According to H.R. 127, anyone who has had a history of mental illness, substance abuse, or a brain disease would not be allowed to possess a firearm. The proposed penalties include 15-20 years of prison (and/or $75,000-$100,000 of fines) for those who possess either guns or ammunition without a license, and 5-10 years of prison (and/or $30,000-$50,000 fine) for giving a firearm or ammunition to an unlicensed person. Penalties are also provided for loaning a weapon or ammunition to an unlicensed person. Under these restrictions, many law-abiding citizens would be categorized as felons.
Bills such as H.R. 127 make the Biden gun control agenda look more moderate, but President Biden and Vice President Harris have promised to implement unprecedented gun control laws. Biden has vowed to implement legislation (through executive order, if necessary) that would create a mandatory buy-back program for specific types of firearms, require background checks for all gun sales, limit the amount of guns an individual can purchase to one per month, reinstate restrictions on those with mental illness (reversed by President Trump), regulate the possession of existing weapons, and incentivize red flag laws. Vice President Harris has stated similar intentions, and has a proven record of supporting gun control legislation during her time as District Attorney, California Attorney General, and in the U.S. Senate.
“I am calling on Congress to enact common sense gun law reforms, including requiring background checks on all gun sales, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and eliminating immunity for gun manufacturers who knowingly put weapons of war on our streets.” - President Joe Biden, February 2021