Should Senate Democrats approve a sweeping new anti-gun bill, Congressman Steve Stockman (R-Texas 36th) announced Tuesday he will seek to automatically kill it using a House "blue slip."
"The Democrat gun ban is dead on arrival. I will introduce in the House a blue slip resolution that will automatically kill the Senate gun ban," said Stockman. "Not only are Democrats on the wrong side of public opinion, they are on the wrong side of the Constitution. You can't strip Americans of their gun rights, and you certainly can't do it by having the Senate create a national tax on firearms. They are in violation of constitutional limits on federal power."
A "blue slip" is a resolution that automatically returns to the Senate any bill that violates the "origination clause" of the United States Constitution. The origination clause states "All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives."
Blue slip resolutions are immediately considered as a matter of constitutional privilege, are debatable for an hour and are not subject to amendment.
Senate Democrats took three anti-gun bills (S. 374, S. 54 and S. 146) and quickly rammed them through the Judiciary Committee without even a committee report, then combined them into one bill (S. 649.) The bill includes language mandating a fee for background checks for all private transfers of firearms. Similar legislation has been construed by the Supreme Court to be a tax. By introducing a bill imposing a new tax through the Senate, Democrats have violated constitutional mandates and the bill is automatically invalid.
According to The Heritage Foundation, S.649 imposes a new tax by forcing individuals to pay for background checks when selling or giving away a firearm. The mandate to use the National Instant Criminal Background Check System does not provide a service to the buyer or seller but to the government, making it a tax.
Additionally, the Supreme Court ruled last year in NFIB v. Sebelius that mandating citizens to pay for a service can be construed to be a tax, with Chief Justice John Roberts writing the majority opinion expanding the federal definition of a tax.