Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) told Politic365 after a hearing on universal background checks for aspiring gun buyers that the process won’t be anything like “big brother.”
Lee likened the process to current database practices by the FBI.
“FBI has a database of all people who perpetrated a crime that helps investigators all across america,” Lee said.
“The registration would be housed in a legal law enforcement database protected accordingly and it just means that if you lost your gun, law enforcement would be able to access [a registry] to be able to determine where your gun might be–and so it is not big brother. It is simply a source place where everybody can go to,” she continued.
When asked about whether she was familiar with 3-D printing technology that has the potential for citizens to make magazines, guns, and gun parts, she said that she wasn’t but added that she realizes “technology is changing all sorts of things.”
Lee also said that some of the initiatives that were being discussed in the hearing on Friday — universal background checks — should have been passed a decade ago “so we could look at the 3-D perspective.”
“I support gun registration, gun safety with requiring guns to be locked up and secured and make that a federal offense,” Lee said. “Because we see what happened in Sandy Hook because guns were not locked up.”
Before the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut in December 2012, the shooter is reported to have taken his mother’s weapons.
After gun registration is implemented, Lee said, “more sophistated approaches” such as how to tackle 3-D gun printing can be examined.
“Frankly whatever we put in place, that’s what the witnesses were saying, someone is going to try and go around it,” she said. “But the point is let’s get the infrastructure in place then we will be more prepared to deal with 3-D, to deal with sophisticated ways of trafficking.”
During the hearing, Lee asked chief of police for the Austin Police Department in Austin, Texas, whether a background check would lead the chief and his officers to “go throughout Austin and knock on doors and confiscate guns.” Art Acevedo, the police chief, assured her that they were not.
Acevedo explained that there is a fear of a “slippery slope” that opponents of gun registry fear. They fear one day of the federal government coming in and taking guns.
Acevedo said that one of his officers in the Austin Police Department recently had to kill a man who believed they were going to take away his guns. News reports say that the officer killed a 70-year-old rifle instructor who drew his gun at an officer when the officer requested the man to turn over the gun. They were responding to a call from the man and the 911 operator told the man to leave his gun in the house, which he did not.
“That man has been convinced by I believe irresponsible rhetoric, Acevedo said. “And it’s on both sides.”
Last week the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill which would require background checks for all gun sales.
The next stop for the bill is the Senate for a vote.