Sunday, December 12, 2010

Gun Owners of America Analysis of Current Gun Bills

Gun Owners of America Analysis of Current Gun Bills; Firearms Legislation In The 111th Congress

S. 160: This is the Senate-passed bill to grant a voting representative for the District of Columbia in the House. As a result of an amendment added on the Senate floor by Senator John Ensign, it would repeal the gun registration and microstamping provisions of D.C. law, and would bar the District from passing new anti-gun statutes.

S. 296 (Chambliss, Cornyn, Coburn, Isakson): This bill would replace the federal income tax with a national sales tax. Although the language is a little muddy, it appears that the 1934 National Firearms Act is retained.

S. 325 (Cochran): The bill would allow pest control pyrotechnics to be exempted from the explosives provisions of Title 18.

S. 371 (Thune, Vitter): This “Vermont-friendly” bill would authorize a person who can lawfully carry concealed in his state of residence -- or has a concealed carry permit from any state -- to carry a concealed firearm in all states. Unlike some reciprocity bills, it allows non-permit states like Vermont to benefit from its provisions and does not set “national standards” for carrying firearms.

S. 556 (Vitter): Current law allows long guns to be purchased in a face-to-face transaction with a gun dealer in a state outside the purchaser’s state of residence. This bill:

* extends that law to all firearms;

* allows the gun to be purchased at a gun show; and

* rescinds provisions that allow the state of residence to reach into another state and prohibit a transaction which has nothing to do with its jurisdiction.

S. 632 (Baucus et al.): This bill would provide that the manufacturer’s excise tax on recreational equipment be paid quarterly.

S. 669 (Burr): This bill would protect veterans by first requiring a finding by a judge or magistrate that an individual is mentally incompetent before his guns are taken away under laws administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs. This would replace the current method, which has resulted in the disarmament of more than 100,000 veterans by government psychiatrists, who have issued opinions claiming that PTSD symptoms require a returning veteran to get help to manage his financial affairs.

S. 816 (Crapo): This bill would codify the Bush Administration's regulations concerning guns in National Parks.

S. 843 (Lautenberg): This bill is the standard biennial effort to effectively abolish gun shows. It would require registration (18 U.S.C. 932), unlimited inspection requirements (subsection (d)), unlimited
record-keeping requirements (18 U.S.C. 932 (b)(4) et al.), and an uncapped fee of potentially any amount (18 U.S.C. 932 (a)(2)). A gun that is merely mentioned at a gun show by a private individual to a private individual would probably be required to undergo a Brady check. And experience with Instantcheck has shown that system shutdowns can effectively bring a gun show to a halt. Perhaps most importantly, however, a promoter who fails to notify EVERY attendee of his responsibilities under the Brady Law under 18 U.S.C. 932 (b)(3) (because, e.g., the person responsible for that took a bathroom break) would be subject to two years' imprisonment under 18 U.S.C. 924(a)(8)(B)(i). No rational person would sponsor a gun show under these circumstances.

S. 845 (Thune, Vitter): This is the GOA-supported “Vermont-friendly” concealed carry reciprocity bill.

S. 941 (Crapo, Leahy): This is the Senate counterpart to H.R. 2296 and is a reincarnation of a bill which contains a hodge-podge of relatively minor good things -- and one really bad thing which was used to secure the cosponsorship of Judiciary Committee Chairman Pat Leahy. The bad thing is that the bill would allow BATFE to impose, for the first time, civil penalties on federal firearms licensees. Civil penalties could easily put a small licensee out of business, but can be imposed without the burden of proof, disclosure requirements, and other protections accorded criminal defendants. And, although proponents argue that civil penalties will allow BATFE to impose penalties short of license revocation, there is no requirement that license revocations be reduced commensurately -- and it's pretty clear (and GOA has in fact been told) that this anti-gun provision was added as an inducement for the support of Leahy and Obama. And, while GOA has pushed other provisions in the bill tightening state-of-mind requirements and gun definitions, these are not enough to offset giving the BATFE a tool which has served as the central engine for expanding the power and jurisdiction of other agencies (like the SEC).

S. 1317 (Lautenberg): This bill would allow the Attorney General to deny the purchase of a firearm pursuant to an Instantcheck (or a permit which would allow a person to by-pass the Instantcheck) if he “suspect[s]” that the person has been engaged in conduct “related to terrorism” and the Attorney General has a “reasonable belief” that the firearm might be used in connection with terrorism. The Attorney General is specifically permitted to withhold any information concerning his “reasonable belief.” Take into consideration, in evaluating the application of this bill, that DHS in 2009 circulated an advisory attempting to link mainline Second Amendment and pro-life groups to “terrorism” -- and a number of recent newspaper commentaries have argued that groups like GOA and the NRA are, in some way, responsible for criminal acts recently committed in Pittsburgh and Wichita.

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