After the Senate adjourned this evening, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) released the official language to the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act. This is the amendment that he and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) will submit to Sen. Chuck Schumer’s S. 649.
I’ve briefly scanned through it and have some preliminary observations.
First, the incentives to the states to provide more and better data to the NICS System looks to have been lifted in its entirety from Sec. 101 and 102 of Schumer’s S. 374.
Second, if you offer to sell a firearm using any forum, gun board, Facebook, Gunbroker,com, etc. OR any classified ad in a newspaper or free trading post paper, you must do a background check. From Section 122
(B) pursuant to an advertisement, posting, display or other listing on
the Internet or in a publication by the transferor of his intent to
transfer, or the transferee of his intent to acquire, the firearm.
The bill does say offering to sell or exhibit your gun for sale in your private residence doesn’t constitute a gun show. Still, if you offered to sell it first on the Internet and completed the sale at home, a check would be required.
Third, while the dealer can substitute a CCW or FOID card for the NICS check, it still has to be done by a licensed dealer and a Form 4473 must be completed. Moreover, if I’m reading it correctly, substitution of the CCW for the NICS check would only apply if the Feds have certified it is equivalent. I know there are many states where the a CCW is not accepted in lieu of a NICS check.
Fourth, under Sec. 129 – Rule of Construction it states:
Nothing in this subtitle, or an amendment made by this subtitle, shall be construed-
to extend background check requirements to transfers other than those
made at gun shows or on the curtilage thereof, or pursuant to an
advertisement, posting, display, or other listing on the Internet or in a
publication by the transferor of the intent of the transferor to
transfer, or the transferee of the intent of the transferee to acquire,
the firearm; or
(2) to extend background check requirements to
temporary transfers for purposes including lawful hunting or sporting or
to temporary possession of a firearm for purposes of examination or
evaluation by a prospective transferee.
I would still worry about so-called temporary transfers for purposes other than hunting or sporting purposes between non-family members. If you loaned a friend who was separated from an abusive spouse a gun for self-protection, it might be dicey.
Finally, the only part of the bill I like is that it makes knowingly violating the prohibition against a national gun registry an offense with a 15 year prison term.
UPDATE: Sebastian has a much more thorough analysis of the amendment here. I would make sure to read the comments as they also contain a lot of analysis.
In general, it seems to be upon reflection that requiring background checks for private sales conducted or arranged at gun shows or through the Internet or a publication is just one step away from universal background checks. All it would take to make it so would another amendment to the bill. The gun prohibitionists could make the argument, and in this case I’d consider it valid, if you are going to require background checks for a gun sold through a posting on an electronic bulletin board, why not require it for posting a notice on a cork bulletin board at work.