Senator Jeff Flake Introduces Already-Existing Gun Control Law

jeff flake gun control
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 30: Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) looks on during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing concerning the authorizations for use of military force, October 30, 2017 in Washington, DC. As Mattis and Tillerson face questions about the administration's authority to use military force, Congress is still seeking more information about the deadly ambush that killed four U.S. troops in Niger. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Arizona senator Jeff Flake has made it clear that he won’t be running for re-election, and while he’s doing so in opposition of Donald Trump, even he’s aware that he wouldn’t have won his primary contest.

The last piece of legislation he may propose is a gun control bill aimed at closing an alleged domestic violence loophole in the wake of the Texas church massacre. Preventing any man who raises  hand against a woman or child from owning a firearm is hardly a partisan issue – and such gun control legislation already exists in the form of the 1997 Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban.

“Senators Flake and Heinrich are working to ensure any individual convicted of domestic violence — whether it is in criminal or military court — cannot legally purchase a firearm,” Flake’s office said in a written statement provided to The Arizona Republic ahead of the bill’s introduction. “Currently, the military is not reporting misdemeanors of domestic violence to NICS, the database utilized for firearms background checks, and it’s not clear that they can under current law.”

Of course, Flake believes there to be a loophole in the 1997 gun ban thanks to the independence of military courts (while others believe the problem to be government incompetence), because the Uniform Code of Military Justice classifies domestic-violence cases as “assault” instead of having a specific domestic-violence charge. He made that clear in a Twitter back and forth with Donald Trump Jr.:

Trump Jr. also wrote in a since-deleted tweet “Wrong. Govt employees, like you, failed to do their job. He did a year for abuse and fracturing a kids skull. Should not have had a gun!”

For anyone slightly out of the loop, the perpetrator of the Texas church shooting had been previously convicted of assaulting his first wife and step-son, a crime that he served a year in prison for and a military discharge. The shooter had worked in the Air Force, and it appears that his conviction was never entered into an FBI database that contains such information.

Now, there is a point to be made about the independence of military courts, in that they only have one category of “assault,” and no separate definition for domestic abuse. Still, his charges and prison sentence would’ve prevented him from obtaining a firearm under other laws on the books had they actually been entered into the system.

Remember the old Republican talking point that there’s hardly any need for new immigration laws as long as we enforce the ones that we have on the books?

I think the same rings true of gun control, here. The laws were already on the books that could’ve prevented the massacre – yet the government dropped the ball.

What do you think about Flake’s latest stunt? Just more posturing? Tell us your thoughts below!