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Pro-Gun Congressmen Introduce Bill to Modernize Gun Sales

May 3, 2019
In The News

On Wednesday, Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) led several pro-gun members of his caucus – including Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-La.), Andy Barr (R-Ky.), Clay Higgins (R-La.), Mike Johnson (R-La.), Alex Mooney (R-W.Va.), and David Schweikert (R-Ariz.) – in introducing a bill to modernize the way firearms are sold under federal law. The Firearms Interstate Commerce Reform Act (FICRA) would update antiquated provisions of the Gun Control Act that reflect a bygone era of criminal recordkeeping and remove arbitrary impediments for law-abiding gun buyers and sellers.

Under current law, Federal Firearm Licensees (FFLs) can only operate in the state in which their business premises is located and can only sell or transfer handguns to persons who live in that state. An FFL can sell a long gun to a person who lives out of state, provided the sale occurs in a face-to-face transaction and complies with the laws of the state of sale and the state of residence of the purchaser. It used to be these non-resident long gun sales could only occur to residents of contiguous states, but that limitation was removed in 1986 by the Firearm Owners Protection Act.

Nevertheless, handgun sales continue to be subject to strict in-state only rules. This reflects now obsolete provisions of the so-called “Brady Bill” that required FFLs to transmit information about prospective buyers or transferees to the “chief law enforcement officer [CLEO] of the place of residence of the transferee.” The CLEO was then supposed to run a background check on the prospective transferee. The transfer could only occur once the CLEO notified the FFL there was no information that receipt of the handgun by the transferee would violate federal, state, or local law or until at least five business days had elapsed without notice from the CLEO that the transfer would violate the law. 

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