The Next Round Of Congressional Legislation

Certain congressmen and senators have been busy introducing new legislation that may impact gun rights. A number of bills dealing with school safety have also been introduced and I’m including them in this list until such time as the text of the bill becomes available. Never forget that deceptively named bills can cause immense problems for gun owners.

House of Representatives

HR.359 – Rep. Robert “Bobby” Scott (D-VA)
Rep Cummings, Elijah E. [D-MD] – 1/23/2013
Rep Wolf, Frank R. [R-VA] – 1/23/2013
To establish and operate a National Center for Campus Public Safety.
Referred to the House Judiciary Committee

HR.404 – Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA)
Rep Davis, Danny K. [D-IL] – 1/23/2013
Rep DeLauro, Rosa L. [D-CT] – 1/23/2013
Rep Lee, Barbara [D-CA] – 1/23/2013
Rep Meeks, Gregory W. [D-NY] – 1/23/2013
Rep Moran, James P. [D-VA] – 1/23/2013
Rep Norton, Eleanor Holmes [D-DC] – 1/23/2013
Rep Pierluisi, Pedro R. [D-PR] – 1/23/2013
Rep Sherman, Brad [D-CA] – 1/23/2013
Rep Slaughter, Louise McIntosh [D-NY] – 1/23/2013
Rep Takano, Mark [D-CA] – 1/23/2013
To enhance criminal penalties for straw purchasers of firearms.
Referred to the House Judiciary Committee

HR.410 – Rep. Steve Stockman (R-CA)
Restore the Constitution Act of 2013 (To provide that any executive action infringing on the Second Amendment has no force or effect, and to prohibit the use of funds for certain purposes.
Referred to the House Judiciary Committee

HR.427 – Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL)
Rep Chu, Judy [D-CA] – 1/25/2013
Rep Deutch, Theodore E. [D-FL] – 1/25/2013
Rep Grijalva, Raul M. [D-AZ] – 1/25/2013
Rep Lee, Barbara [D-CA] – 1/25/2013
Rep Moran, James P. [D-VA] – 1/25/2013
Rep Norton, Eleanor Holmes [D-DC] – 1/25/2013
To prevent the illegal sale of firearms, and for other purposes.
Referred to the House Judiciary Committee

HR.431 – Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA)
Rep Bishop, Timothy H. [D-NY] – 1/25/2013
Rep Bonamici, Suzanne [D-OR] – 1/25/2013
Rep Cicilline, David N. [D-RI] – 1/25/2013
Rep Clarke, Yvette D. [D-NY] – 1/25/2013
Rep Conyers, John, Jr. [D-MI] – 1/25/2013
Rep Ellison, Keith [D-MN] – 1/25/2013
Rep Farr, Sam [D-CA] – 1/25/2013
Rep Grijalva, Raul M. [D-AZ] – 1/25/2013
Rep Holt, Rush [D-NJ] – 1/25/2013
Rep Matsui, Doris O. [D-CA] – 1/25/2013
Rep Meeks, Gregory W. [D-NY] – 1/25/2013
Rep Norton, Eleanor Holmes [D-DC] – 1/25/2013
Rep Pingree, Chellie [D-ME] – 1/25/2013
Rep Schakowsky, Janice D. [D-IL] – 1/25/2013
Rep Schwartz, Allyson Y. [D-PA] – 1/25/2013
Rep Slaughter, Louise McIntosh [D-NY] – 1/25/2013
Rep Van Hollen, Chris [D-MD] – 1/25/2013
To restore certain authorities of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives to administer the firearms laws, and for other purposes.
Referred to the House Judiciary Committee


S.129 – Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
A bill to save money and reduce tragedies through prevention grants.
Referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee

S.134 – Sen John D. Rockefeller IV (D-WV)
Sen Blumenthal, Richard [D-CT] – 1/24/2013
Sen Coburn, Tom [R-OK] – 1/24/2013
Sen Heller, Dean [D-NV] – 1/24/2013
Sen Johanns, Mike [R-NE] – 1/24/2013
A bill to arrange for the National Academy of Sciences to study the impact of violent video games and violent video programming on children.
Referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

S.145 – Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
A bill to amend title 32, United States Code, to authorize National Guard support for State and local efforts to keep schools safe from violence, and for other purposes.Referred to Senate Committee on Armed Services

S.146 – Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
A bill to enhance the safety of America’s schools.Referred to Senate Judiciary Committee

S.147 – Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
A bill to establish minimum standards for States that allow the carrying of concealed firearms.Referred to Senate Judiciary Committee

S.148 – Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
A bill to safeguard America’s schools by using community policing strategies to prevent school violence and improve student and school safety.Referred to Senate Judiciary Committee

S.150 – Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
See this post for more information on this bill.

Grass Roots North Carolina Legislative Tactics Seminar

The GRNC Legislative Tactics Seminar will be held in Raleigh, NC on April 14th. The subtitle for this seminar is “Guerrilla Tactics for Gun Rights Warriors.”

GRNC’s annual legislative tactics seminar, taught by GRNC president Paul Valone, will teach you how to better defend your rights. Far beyond the typical “write-your-congressman” approach, the updated and expanded seminar will feature hardball tactics for making politicians and corporations accede to your demands. Learn why citizen groups often fail, and why the political process is not “broken.” As one sage put it: “The legislative process works just fine. It just doesn’t work the way you think it does.”

Following the seminar, GRNC will conduct its meeting of the board of directors, after which attendees are invited to join us for drinks and dinner.

Date: Saturday, April 14, 2012
Location: Rights Watch International office, 2016 Cameron St., Suite 217, Raleigh, NC 27605.

Registration: 8:30 AM
Legislative Tactics Seminar: 9:00 AM until 3:00 PM
Board of Directors Meeting: 3:00 PM until 5:00 PM
GRNC dinner get-together: 6:00 PM until?

Registration: Contact GRNC president Paul Valone at Fee is $50, waived for active or new GRNC volunteers. Demonstrated history of supporting gun rights may be requested.

Given GRNC’s success on gun rights legislation during this session of the General Assembly, I think anyone who attends will learn a lot. Unfortunately, for me, I’ll be in St. Louis at the NRA Annual Meeting. However, if you aren’t going to be at the NRA Annual Meeting and can be in the Raleigh area for this, I’d encourage you to attend.

This Is What The NRA Does Well

While I have often been critical of the NRA when they have meddled in court cases or have brought cases with not enough focus, I have also recognized that they are very good in the electoral and legislative arenas. A prime example of their legislative expertise can be seen in the items included of interest to gun owners in the recent minibus appropriations bill.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The final conference report on the combined Fiscal Year 2012 Agriculture, Commerce/Justice/Science (CJS) and Transportation/Housing/Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations bills—also known as the “Mini-Bus,” was passed by both the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate, and has been signed into law.

One of the most important ways that Congress has protected the Second Amendment is through a number of general provisions included in various appropriations bills. Many of these provisions have been included in the bills for many years—some of the provisions go back almost three decades. This conference report is no exception, as it contains 12 provisions that strengthen the Second Amendment and protect the American people.

Specifically, the conference report makes PERMANENT the following protections:

  • Firearms Database/National Gun Registry Prohibition. No funds may be used to create, maintain or administer a database of firearms owners or their firearms. This prohibition has been in place since Fiscal Year 1979, and prevents the federal government from establishing a national gun registry.
  • Former Firearms Dealers Information Retrieval Prohibition. No funds may be used to electronically retrieve personally identifying information gathered by federal firearms licensees. The provision prohibits the creation of a gun registry from dealers’ records that are required by law to be surrendered to the federal government when a dealer goes out of business. This provision has been included since FY 1997.
  • Information Gathering Prohibition/24-Hour Destruction of Records. A prohibition on the use of funds to retain any information gathered as a part of an approved instant background check for more than 24 hours. This provision protects the privacy of law-abiding gun buyers by prohibiting gun buyers’ personal information about legal gun purchases from being retained by government authorities for more than 24 hours after a firearm background check. It has been included since FY 1999.

In addition, the conference report adds two NEW provisions designed to bolster our gun rights and protect the Second Amendment from unelected bureaucrats who would twist the law to facilitate their gun-control agenda.

  • Prohibit Funding for “Gun Walking” Operations. No funds may be used to knowingly transfer firearms to agents of drug cartels unless U.S. law enforcement personnel control or monitor the firearms at all time. This amendment is designed to prevent the Justice Department (or any government entity) from spending taxpayer dollars on “gun walking” programs like Operation Fast and Furious.
  • Shotgun Importation Protections. Prohibits the Department of Justice from requiring imported shotguns to meet a “sporting purposes” test that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) has used to prohibit the importation of shotguns with one or more features disliked by the Agency, such as adjustable stocks, extended magazine tubes, etc.

Finally, the conference report RETAINS the following provisions:

  • Curio and Relic Definition. A prohibition on the use of funds to change the definition of a “curio or relic.” This provision protects the status of collectible firearms for future generations of firearms collectors.
  • Physical Inventory Prohibition. Prohibition on a requirement to allow a physical inventory of Federal Firearms Licensees. The Clinton Administration proposed a rule in 2000 to require an annual inventory by all licensees. While the Bush Administration eventually withdrew the proposal, Congress has still passed this preventive provision every year since FY 2007.
  • Business Activity. A prohibition on the use of funds to deny a Federal Firearms License (FFL) or renewal of an FFL on the basis of low business activity. This provision prohibits BATFE from denying federal firearms license applications or renewals based on a dealer’s low business volume alone.
  • Firearms Trace Data Disclaimer. A requirement that any trace data released must include a disclaimer stating such trace data cannot be used to draw broad conclusion about firearms-related crime.
  • Firearms Parts Export to Canada. A prohibition on the use of funds to require an export license for small firearms parts valued at less than $500 for export to Canada. This provision removed an unnecessary and burdensome requirement on U.S. gun manufacturers that was imposed under the Clinton Administration.
  • Importation of Curios and Relics. A prohibition on the use of funds to arbitrarily deny importation of qualifying curio and relic firearms. This provision ensures that collectible firearms that meet all legal requirements for importation into the United States are not prevented from import by executive branch fiat.
  • Transfer of BATFE Authority. A prohibition on the use of funds to transfer any duty or responsibility of the BATFE to any other agency or department. This provision was written in response to a Clinton Administration plan to transfer firearms enforcement to the FBI or Secret Service. It also prohibits the Executive branch from skirting the will of Congress by allowing another agency to implement policies the BATFE is prohibited from implementing.

Jerry Finally Makes Up His Mind

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) finally made up his mind on a slate of firearms-related bills that required either his signature or his veto. He did it on the last day that he could make a decision.  He signed four bills and vetoed one. As to the impact, the result is mixed for California gun owners.

Let’s start with the veto. Brown vetoed SB 427 which would have forbidden mail order shipments of certain ammunition to California. In his veto message, he noted:

This measure would amend a recently enacted law concerning the sale and purchase of handgun ammunition. That law is currently being litigated.

Let’s keep our powder dry on amendments until the court case runs its course.

Now to what he signed.

SB 610 amends the California carry application process in such a way as to require sheriffs to make the determination on whether the applicant shows “good cause” before the applicant has gone through the required training process. Thus, the applicant is saved the cost of going through training only to find out he or she is going to be denied for a carry permit. This was a CalGuns backed measure.

AB 144 is the bill that got most of the attention because it would outlaw unloaded open carry. It was introduced by Assemblyman Anthony Portatino (D-Pasadena). There had been a concerted effort by many gun groups to get Gov. Brown to veto this bill as it outlaws the only mode of carry available to most Californians. In that sense it is bad. However, signing this bill may in a counter-intuitive way be to our advantage especially when it comes to moving California forward to becoming a shall-issue state.

In Peruta v. San Diego, U.S. District Court Judge Irma Gonzalez cited the exceptions that would allow the plaintiff, Edward Peruta, to have armed self-defense outside the home. One of those exceptions under California law was unloaded open carry. Because of this, she felt justified in denying Mr. Peruta the ability to obtain a concealed carry permit. With Gov. Brown’s signing AB 144, this exception is now removed. The case was appealed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and the foreclosing of this option could well have an impact upon the case.

AB 809 now requires the registration of long guns in California starting in 2014. Handguns are currently required to be registered and this bill sponsored by Assemblyman Mike Feuer (D-LA) extends it to all guns. In a signing statement attached to this bill, Gov. Brown noting that the state already requires a background check on all firearm purchases but only retains it with regard to handguns, said, “I see no reason why the state should not also retain information pertaining to the sales of long guns.”

Finally, SB 819 sponsored by Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) expands the use of the fee charged in the dealer record of sale (DROS) process. From the analysis of the bill provided by the legislature:

Provides that the Department of Justice (DOJ) may use dealer record of sale (DROS) funds for costs associated with its firearms-related regulatory and enforcement activities regarding the possession, as well as the sale, purchase, loan, or transfer, of firearms, as specified.

In essence, SB 819 changes the DROS fee into a tax because it will now be used for purposes beyond activities related to just the sale and transfer of a firearm. The fee is already being challenged in Federal court by the CRPA/NRA Legal Project in the case of Harris v. Bauer and this will only help the case.

California gun attorney Clint Montfort had this to say about the bills on the CalGuns forum. He is an associate with Chuck Michel in Michel & Associates.

The DROS bill will necessarily and immediately be challenged in the NRA’s Harris v. Bauer case. If anyone doesn’t understand the DROS issue or SB 819, I recommend reading the NRA’s alert in that case on or reading the complaint in that case.

Everyone knows how AB 144 will be used agaist the other side in the current LTC cases (SAF/CGF & NRA/CRPAF).

SB 427 was vetoed as a result of the NRA’s Parker v. CA case from last year that overturned AB 962 and is currently being appealed.

Obviously it certainly would have been nice if AB 809 wasn’t signed. But at the end of the day, two of the three bills that were signed aren’t the end of the world. They become part of litigation that was already set in motion. So while those cases are litigated, enjoy purchasing all of your ammo over the internet and in stores without leaving a thumbprint. Lets see how litigation plays out regarding long gun registration.

The pro 2A bill on his desk was signed.

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.