Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

S. 77: The Firearms Dealer Harassment Act

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Senator Charles Schumer, (D-N.Y.) has introduced S. 77, the "Anti-Gun Trafficking Penalties Enhancement Act of 2007." A more appropriate title would be the "Firearms Dealer Harassment Act." S. 77 directly threatens federal firearms license holders (FFLs) and gun buyers in two important ways.

First, S.77 would require that currently confidential Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) records on firearms traces be turned over--on demand--to any government entity, for any purpose. (Currently, information from firearms traces can only be used in bona fide criminal investigations by law enforcement agencies.) S. 77 would require that these records be made available to any government agency for any reason, or for no stated reason whatsoever, without any justification or respect for privacy.

NRA has fought for years to maintain the confidentiality of this data and not allow it to be abused by anti-gun politicians. S. 77 would reverse those victories. (For more information, see "The ‘Tiahrt Amendment’ on Firearms Traces: Protecting Gun Owners` Privacy and Law Enforcement Safety".)

Anti-gun activists and politicians have sought this confidential data for use in lawsuits against the firearms industry; its release would lead directly to increased levels of harassing lawsuits and more firearms dealers being forced out of business. Gun buyers would find fewer dealers, higher prices and a smaller selection of firearms.

As damaging as this provision would be to firearms dealers, another provision could do even more harm. S. 77 would unleash the federal government to harass FFL holders at will, for any reason, as often as it chooses.

S. 77 would remove the restriction on BATFE that allows it only one regulatory inspection of dealers per year, and instead grant unlimited authority to go after dealers without need to show cause. This change is completely unnecessary, since BATFE already has significant legal methods for regulating dealers and enforcing firearm transfer laws:

  • Currently, BATFE can conduct FFL inspections once a year, without a warrant, to ensure all dealers operate in compliance with the law.
  • BATFE can conduct an inspection of a dealer without a warrant as a part of an ongoing criminal investigation.
  • BATFE can, of course, get a warrant when it suspects a dealer of criminal activities.

The law requires FFL holders to cooperate with all types of inspections. However, BATFE is prohibited from conducting inspections outside these limits to eliminate the type of harassment that was common before passage of the Firearm Owners’ Protection Act in 1986. S. 77 would turn back the clock on this vital reform, with devastating consequences for gun dealers and gun owners’ rights.

Finally--and perhaps most ominously--S. 77 would define certain already-illegal firearm transactions as "racketeering activity" under the "Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act" (RICO). Certainly, no one condones illegal sales (such as transfers to prohibited persons) but including them in RICO is overkill:

  • Under RICO, if a person commits two or more acts of "racketeering activity" within ten years, that "pattern of racketeering activity" can subject the violator to a 20-year prison term (in addition to the current sentences for the actual firearm violations) and seizure of assets.
  • Current sentences for this type of violation begin at five years in prison and a $250,000 fine per gun--so a person with a "pattern" of violations would already be subject to at least a decade in federal prison and a half-million dollar fine.

Even more disturbing, anyone "injured" by a "pattern of racketeering activity" can bring a civil suit against the violator; a successful plaintiff "shall recover threefold the damages he sustains and the cost of the suit." Of course, a crime victim couldn’t be "injured" by the illegal transfer itself--only by a later criminal use of the gun--so S. 77 would open a whole new path for anti-gun politicians and activists to sue gun owners and dealers for the actions of criminals.

IN THIS ARTICLE
Other
TRENDING NOW
President Donald J. Trump to Address NRA Members at the 2022 NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits in Houston, Texas

News  

Thursday, May 12, 2022

President Donald J. Trump to Address NRA Members at the 2022 NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits in Houston, Texas

Former President Donald J. Trump will headline the 2022 NRA-ILA Leadership Forum on May 27, at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston.

“[A]ll We Need You to Do is Give us the Gun”: U.K. Launches National Firearm Surrender Campaign

News  

Monday, May 23, 2022

“[A]ll We Need You to Do is Give us the Gun”: U.K. Launches National Firearm Surrender Campaign

On March 12, a two-week campaign was launched in the United Kingdom to encourage subjects of Her Majesty the Queen to surrender firearms, ammunition, weapons, and any other object even vaguely reminiscent of a gun ...

NRA Statement Ahead of 2022 NRAAM

News  

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

NRA Statement Ahead of 2022 NRAAM

The National Rifle Association released the following statement on Wednesday, May 25

NRA Achieves Historical Milestone as 25 States Recognize Constitutional Carry

News  

Friday, April 1, 2022

NRA Achieves Historical Milestone as 25 States Recognize Constitutional Carry

Half the country will now enjoy the freedom to carry a handgun for self-defense without a permit from the state thanks to the tireless efforts of men and women of the National Rifle Association. 

Hunter Biden Incident Shows that Gun Laws are for the Little People

News  

Monday, April 5, 2021

Hunter Biden Incident Shows that Gun Laws are for the Little People

There is a central hypocrisy at the heart of the gun control effort.

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

ATF Partners with Anti-gun Researchers to Expand Agency’s Power

News  

Monday, May 23, 2022

ATF Partners with Anti-gun Researchers to Expand Agency’s Power

On May 17, the Department of Justice announced the release of a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives publication titled the National Firearms in Commerce and Trafficking Assessment (NFCTA). The report is the result of the ...

News  

Friday, February 15, 2013

Semi-Automatic Firearms and the “Assault Weapon” Issue Overview

Semi-automatic firearms were introduced more than a century ago. The first semi-automatic rifle was introduced in 1885, the first semi-automatic pistol in 1892, and the first semi-automatic shotgun in 1902. Semi-automatics account for about 20 ...

Georgia: Gov. Kemp Signs Constitutional Carry

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Georgia: Gov. Kemp Signs Constitutional Carry

Today, Governor Brian Kemp signed Senate Bill 319, constitutional carry, into law. Georgia is now the 25th constitutional carry state, and the fourth to join that group in 2022. Half of the country now recognizes the right ...

Choke Point “Lite”

News  

Monday, May 23, 2022

Choke Point “Lite”

Ten years ago, the Obama Administration introduced “Operation Choke Point,” a program to weaponize the banking industry and financial service providers against certain lawful businesses and merchants. Implemented by Eric Holder’s Department of Justice and ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.