Let's hope the August recess was a relaxing one, because conservative lawmakers will need every last ounce of energy to fight the onslaught of bad bills waiting for them in the House. With more Americans desperate for answers than ever after a month of horrific mass shootings, Democrats think they have one: gun control. And not just any gun control. This time, the Left's attack on the Second Amendment comes with a helping of politically-correct thought control.
The Disarm Hate Act was California's idea. Two years ago, Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) home state sent a bill to the governor's desk that added personal prejudice to a long list of reasons local residents couldn't buy a gun. "There are too many examples in our country's recent history which show what a firearm can do in the hands of people who practice hate," said an assemblyman at the time. If a person is convicted of a hate crime, the Left argued, they shouldn't be allowed to own a firearm.
To a lot of legislators, it sounded like a reasonable idea. But in reality, it was California's clever way of giving the Democrats' dangerous hate crimes agenda a foothold in state gun law. Now, liberals want to take the idea nationwide. And with Judiciary Chairman Jerold Nadler (D-N.Y.) at the helm, they have a good chance at succeeding. Starting Tuesday, the House will try to persuade members to support a bill that would expand the Left's ridiculous hate crimes agenda to firearm owners. It would mean, as one expert put it, that would-be gun owners could lose their Second Amendment rights -- "not for violence, or even the threat of violence, but for a completely non-violent misdemeanor if it's declared a 'hate crime' by authorities."
Like most conservatives, FRC has been fighting this idea of "hate" crimes since it became part of the criminal code 10 years ago. Beyond the fact that the term "hate" is very elastic in the hands of the Left, we've never believed that someone should be punished extra for holding unpopular views, especially on issues like marriage and sexuality. All that's done over the past decade is turn the government into the federal "thought police" and intimidate people with strong personal beliefs. Just because someone is a victim of a politically-motivated wrongdoing doesn't mean they should get special treatment. A crime is a crime, regardless of what motivated it. And yet, if the House and Senate pass this bill under some misguided notion of ending hate, this disaster of a 2009 law will have wormed its way into an explosive section of federal law.
If the Democrats behind this bill were actually concerned about mass shootings, they'd focus on ways to take firearms out of the hands of people convicted of any misdemeanor connected to a violent act -- not just "hate crimes." The fact that House liberals are focusing all of their efforts on a law dealing with sexual orientation and gender identity exposes their true motives -- which is to use the gun issue to force their extreme social ideologies on the country.
Our nation has a serious problem. No one is arguing that. Schools, churches, shopping centers, businesses, and almost every place people gather have become targets for deranged individuals who are set on perpetrating evil and in possession of lethal weapons. "We are now at almost every two weeks, an active shooter in this country," special agent Christopher Combs said during a news conference in Odessa, Texas, the scene of one of the grisly August shootings. As a former police officer and ardent supporter of the Second Amendment, I'm willing to talk about guns and who should own them.
But the missing component to this discussion playing on an endless political loop is the impact of the moral vacuum created by eliminating virtue, faith, and civility from the public square. As I explain in an op-ed for Fox News, new gun laws will never achieve what a commitment to the Golden Rule can. The problem is not the absence of laws; it's the absence of morality. We all want to disarm hate -- but that's impossible without embracing Truth first.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.