Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

There have been a number of bills introduced in Congress that impact firearm ownership, ammunition, magazines, concealed carry, and other related issues. Some of the bills are actually good for us. However, the rest are either bad or really bad. While Rep. Carolyn McCarthy's HR 308 has gotten the most press, some of the other bills have the potential to cause real mischief for gun owners.

Below you will find a thumbnail description of each bill, its sponsor, number of co-sponsors, and other information available about the bill.

The Good

HR 58. Firearms Interstate Commerce Reform Act
Sponsor: Steve Scalise (R-LA)
Cosponsors: 1
This bill would allow interstate purchases and transfers of all firearms including handgun so long as it is legal in the state where the transfer takes place and the state of residence of the recipient. Currently, only rifles and shotguns are eligible to be purchased outside your state of residence. This bill would also allow a member of the Armed Forces define his or her residence as their home state, the state of their permanent duty station, or their place of abode from which they commute daily to their permanent duty station.

HR 126. Fairness in Firearm Testing Act 
Sponsor: Phil Gingrey (R-GA)
Cosponsors: 22
Amends the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to direct the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) to make a video recording of the entire process of its examination and testing of an item for the purpose of determining whether the item is a firearm (and if so, the type of firearm) or ammunition. Bars ATF from editing or erasing any such recording.

Directs ATF to make available a digital video disc that contains a copy of the recording: (1) at the request of a person who claims an ownership interest in such item; and (2) to a defendant in a criminal proceeding involving such item. Provides that an item which ATF has determined is a firearm or ammunition shall not be admissible as evidence unless: (1) ATF has complied with the requirements of this Act to make its digital video disc available; or (2) such compliance has been waived in writing by the person against whom the item is offered as evidence.

A law such as this might have prevented the conviction of David Olofson on charges of illegally transferring a machine gun. The AR-15 in question was made to burst fire through the use of cartridges with soft primers.

HR 420.
Sponsor: Denny Rehrberg (R-MT)
Cosponsors: 1
To provide an amnesty period during which veterans and their family members can register certain firearms in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, and for other purposes. (Short title and text is not yet available.)

The Bad

HR 263. Fire Sale Loophole Closing Act
Sponsor: Gary Ackerman (D-NY)
Cosponsors: 26
Amends the federal criminal code to make it unlawful for: (1) anyone whose federal license to import, manufacture, or deal in firearms has been revoked, or whose license renewal application has been denied, to transfer business inventory firearms into a personal collection or to an employee of such person or to receive a firearm that was a business inventory firearm as of the date of a revocation or renewal denial notice; and (2) anyone who has received a license revocation or renewal denial notice to transfer to any other person a firearm that was a business inventory firearm. Imposes a fine and/or prison term of not more than one year (five years for willful violations) for violations of this Act.

In essence, forces a NICS check on all firearms sold by a former FFL in liquidating their business.

HR 347. Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011
Sponsor: Thomas J. Rooney (R-FL)
Cosponsors: 1
Amends the federal criminal code to revise the prohibition against entering restricted federal buildings or grounds to impose criminal penalties on anyone who knowingly enters any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority. Defines "restricted buildings or grounds" as a posted, cordoned off, or otherwise restricted area of: (1) the White House or its grounds, or the Vice President's official residence or its grounds; (2) a building or grounds where the President or other person protected by the Secret Service is or will be temporarily visiting; or (3) a building or grounds so restricted due to an special event of national significance.

The bill would increase the penalty from one year to ten years for violations if the person possessed a deadly weapon or firearm.

HR 367. Freedom to Serve Without Fear Act of 2011
Sponsor: Laura Richardson (D-CA)
Cosponsors: None
Amends the federal criminal code to prohibit any person from knowingly carrying a firearm in, or within 250 feet of an entrance to or exit from, a building or structure, or at, or within 500 feet of, any other place, where a Member of Congress is performing an official and representational duty or engaging in campaign activity as a candidate for federal, state, or local office, if there are visible at such distances signs which clearly and conspicuously state that a Member will be present and the time the Member will be present. Specifies exceptions, including pursuant to the express written permission of the Member or the chief of police of the locality involved.

Requires a 10% reduction in funds a state would receive for the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program for a fiscal year if the state fails to have in effect by the specified compliance date laws and policies that similarly prohibit individuals from knowingly possessing firearms near a venue at which an elected or appointed state or local official is performing an official and representational duty or campaigning for public office.

Part of the findings includes "Fear of gun violence at events where elected representatives are performing their official or representational duties has a chilling effect on our democracy." If you were driving down the street in front of a building where a Congressman was campaigning and you had a loaded firearm in your car, you would be in violation of this law if it were to be passed.

HR 496. No title.
Sponsor: Peter King (R-NY)
Cosponsors: 4
To amend title 18, United States Code, to prohibit the carrying of a firearm near a place where a senior Federal official is holding an official public event or carrying out an official or representational duty, or where any person is campaigning for Federal elective office.

Seems to duplicate HR 367. The text has not been made available yet to the Government Printing Office.

HR 505.
Sponsor: Gerald Nadler (D-NY)
Cosponsors: None
To amend title 18, United States Code, to place limitations on the possession, sale, and other disposition of a firearm by persons convicted of misdemeanor sex offenses against children. The text has not been made available yet to the Government Printing Office.

This is a slippery slope sort of bill akin to the Lautenberg bill which made misdemeanor domestic violence a disqualifying factor in gun ownership. What is a misdemeanor sex offense involving children? Is it a 16 year old have sex with his 15 year old girlfriend?

The Ugly

HR 227. Child Gun Safety and Gun Access Prevention Act of 2011

Sponsor: Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX)
Cosponsors: None
Amends the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act to: (1) raise the age of handgun eligibility to 21 (currently, 18); and (2) prohibit persons under age 21 from possessing semiautomatic assault weapons or large capacity ammunition feeding devices, with exceptions.

Increases penalties for: (1) a second or subsequent violation by a juvenile of Brady Act provisions or for a first violation committed after an adjudication of delinquency or after a state or federal conviction for an act that, if committed by an adult, would be a serious violent felony; and (2) transferring a handgun, ammunition, semiautomatic assault weapon, or large capacity ammunition feeding device to a person who is under age 21, knowing or having reasonable cause to know that such person intended to use it in the commission of a crime of violence.

Prohibits any licensed importer, manufacturer, or dealer from transferring a firearm to any person (other than a licensed importer, manufacturer, or dealer) unless the transferee is provided with a secure gun storage or safety device. Authorizes the Attorney General to suspend or revoke any firearms license, or to subject the licensee to a civil penalty of up to $10,000, if the licensee has knowingly violated this prohibition.

Prohibits keeping a loaded firearm or an unloaded firearm and ammunition within any premises knowing or recklessly disregarding the risk that a child: (1) is capable of gaining access to it; and (2) will use the firearm to cause death or serious bodily injury.

Requires the parent or legal guardian of a child to ensure that a child attending a gun show is accompanied by an adult.

HR 308. Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act
Sponsor: Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY)
Cosponsors: 65
Bans "a magazine, belt, drum, feed strip, or similar device that has a capacity of, or that can be readily restored or converted to accept, more than 10 rounds of ammunition". Sebastian at Snow Flakes In Hell has an excellent analysis of this bill and how it differs from the Clinton era ban.

This is the legislation that has attracted the most attention in both the press and in the gun community. It also has the largest number of co-sponsors.

S 32. Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act
Sponsor: Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Cosponsors: 10
Is the Senate version of Carolyn McCarthy's HR 308.

S 34. Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act of 2011
Sponsor: Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Cosponsors: 9
A bill to increase public safety by permitting the Attorney General to deny the transfer of firearms or the issuance of firearms and explosives licenses to known or suspected dangerous terrorists.

This is a reintroduction of a bill that Lautenberg proposed in 2009 that went nowhere. It would make a person who was on the Terrorist Watch List or Do Not Fly list ineligible to buy or sell a firearm. As there is no set criteria for inclusion on this list and one does not know he or she is on the list, it is fraught with civil rights violations.

S 35. Gun Show Background Check Act of 2011
Sponsor: Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Cosponsors: 11
A bill to establish background check procedures for gun shows. A gun show is defined as anytime you have 50 or more firearms for sale, 10 or more firearms exhibitors, or at least 20% of the exhibitors are selling firearms. By this definition, a large flea market might fall into the category of "gun show".

S 176. Common-Sense Concealed Firearms Act of 2011  
Sponsor: Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
Cosponsors: None
The text has not been received by the Government Printing Office yet. However, Boxer's press release on the bill says:
Senator Boxer’s legislation would require all states that allow residents to carry concealed weapons to establish permitting processes that would include meaningful consultation with local law enforcement authorities to determine whether the permit applicant is worthy of the public trust and has shown good cause to carry a concealed firearm.

Currently, two states do not permit residents to carry concealed firearms, while three states, including Arizona, allow residents to carry concealed firearms in public without a permit. The other 45 states require residents to obtain permits to carry concealed firearms, but the majority of these states would not meet the standard set in this bill.


  1. I don't like HR 505, simply because young people under the age of 18 can be put on the sex offenders list for having consensual sexual relations with another young person under 18. And while *sexting* probably isn't the best thing to do, it is considered possession and distribution of child porn.

    So this will create a whole new class of people unable to exercise their 2A rights, but then again, this is the whole point.

    But it does represent quite the conundrum for prog's, they want to stop young people from getting on the sex offenders list for reasons stated above, but this same list will prevent them from owning firearms.....oh what to do.....

  2. Nadler's HR 505 is never meant to be passed. It's goal is to try and make gun rights supporters look bad by saying they don't care about sexual predators.