Acting as a guest host for Glenn Beck's radio show, Chris Baker claimed that at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing scheduled for next week, Democrats will be "coming after your guns." Similarly, blogger Jim Hoft highlighted the hearing -- which is titled "Firearms in Commerce: Assessing the Need for Reform in the Federal Regulatory Process" -- and said: "Now they're coming for your guns." Not to be outdone, the Fox Nation linked to Hoft's blog post under the headline: "Democrats Schedule Meeting to Regulate Gun Sales."
One big problem for this black helicopter story line: It's already been debunked by other conservative media outlets. According to Hot Air's Ed Morissey, for instance, the hearing is on the topic of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives Reform and Firearms Modernization Act of 2009, a bill that has a large number of Republican sponsors and -- get this -- is supported by the National Rifle Association.
But here's Fox Nation trying their best to stoke gun owners fears:
And here's Baker doing the same thing:
However, Morrisey stated that while readers had expressed "concerns that Democrats might attempt to quietly push through a bill to limit 2nd Amendment rights before the midterm elections," "a source on Capitol Hill tells me that this hearing has nothing of the sort at issue." Rather, the hearing " will explore S941, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives Reform and Firearms Modernization Act of 2009, which was passed in the House as HR2296."
As Morrissey notes, the principal sponsor of S.941 is Republican Sen. Mike Crapo (ID) and the bill has a large number of co-sponsors from both parties. It's companion bill in the House, H.R.2296, is sponsored by Republican Rep. Steve King. The House version has 240 co-sponsors.
Furthermore, as Morrisey also notes, the NRA supports S.941. The NRA states:
As we've been reporting for months, Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) have introduced S. 941, the "Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Reform and Firearms Modernization Act of 2009" in the U.S. Senate. Representatives Steve King (R-Iowa) and Zack Space (D-Ohio) have introduced a companion bill--H.R. 2296--in the U.S. House. The bills would roll back unnecessary restrictions, correct errors, and codify longstanding congressional policies in the firearms arena. These bipartisan bills are a vital step to modernize and improve BATFE operations.
Of highest importance, S. 941and H.R. 2296 totally rewrite the system of administrative penalties for licensed dealers, manufacturers and importers of firearms. Currently, for most violations, BATFE can only give a federal firearms license (FFL) holder a warning, or revoke his license.
S. 941 and H.R. 2296 would allow fines or license suspensions for less serious violations, while still allowing license revocation for the kind of serious violations that would block an investigation or put guns in the hands of criminals. This will help prevent the all-too-common situations where BATFE has revoked licenses for insignificant technical violations--such as improper use of abbreviations or filing records in the wrong order.
Similarly, on Examiner.com, Sean McClanahan -- who serves as the host of Internet radio show Firearms Weekly -- reports that according to the office of Republican Sen. Charles Grassley (IA), the Judiciary Committee hearing will be on the subject of S.941.
So, to recap, Democrats schedule a hearing with "firearms" in the title and Fox and its cohorts start fearmongering even when they have no basis for their claims whatsoever.