This is a quick primer on how to check legislation. In the last few days, I have received several emails concerning H.R. 45 and S.B.2099 regarding gun restrictions. So how do you know what is true and what to believe.
Of course, the best source is the primary source. You can search the The Library of Congress Thomas database for all legislation. You can search by bill number, words or phrase like fire arms, Senator or Representative. If you search by word or phrase, be sure to select the advanced search button and select variants on your search. This site is fairly easy to use, my only complaint is that if you are reading a long bill, such as the famous H.R.3200 (Affordable Health Care), it can time out on you.
There are a few sites that provide legislation overviews, but my favorite is OpenCongress. If you are using the links to bills on the right side of the blog, that is where I am directing you. This site provides more information about the bill: overview, bill text, progress, news, and comments that people can post in each section of the bill. There is also a poll whether you support/no support the bill.
OpenCongress has a document titled “America’s Healthy Future Act of 2009” or “Baucus Bill” that is currently in the Senate Finance Committee. There has been a lot of debate about releasing the bill, because of the uproar that happened with H.R.3200. That right there, is a signal to us–if our government fears transparency to us, what are they trying to hide from us.
When checking on H.B.45, I came across this site that provides a one page summary of gun legislation: National Association of Gun Rights (NAGR). Of course there is NRA (National Rifle Association) although not as straightforward as NAGR.
H.R.45 – Blair Holt’s Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act of 2009 is currently in committee, since February 2009 with one sponsor. The consensus from OpenCongress and NRA is this bill will not pass the committee stage. It is being watched by gun rights groups.
As for S.B.2099 – this doesn’t exist in this Congress.