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Pro-Gun Legislation in the 110th Congress

Friday, March 30, 2007

The "Tiahrt Amendment" on Firearms Traces: Protecting Gun Owners` Privacy and Law Enforcement Safety

For more than five years, anti-gun organizations and cities suing the gun industry have sought access to confidential law enforcement data on firearms traces. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) compiles these records when it traces firearms in response to requests from law enforcement agencies. Every year since 2003, Congress has passed increasingly strong language to keep this information confidential. The legislation--a series of "riders" to the appropriations bill that funds BATFE--is widely known as the "Tiahrt Amendment," after its sponsor, Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.). NRA-ILA will continue to support adding the "Tiahrt Amendment" to BATFE`s appropriations bill, and making similar protections a permanent part of federal law.

H.R. 1399 and S. 1001, Repeal of the District of Columbia Gun Ban

Introduced by Reps. Mike Ross (D-Ark.) and Mark Souder (R-Ind.) in the U.S. House and in the Senate by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.), the "District of Columbia Personal Protection Act," would end Washington, D.C.`s prohibition on using guns for self-defense in one`s home and conform other D.C. gun laws to federal laws, while retaining stiff penalties for illegal gun possession and armed crime.

The bill would allow D.C. residents to keep and own firearms including handguns. The bill eliminates D.C`s registration requirements for all firearms as well as restrictions on possession of handgun ammunition. It also would eliminate the requirement that firearms be kept unloaded and disassembled, which obviously prevents owners from using them in self-defense. The bill specifically allows for possession and carrying of a firearm in the owner`s home or business. It does not allow for firearms to be carried concealed outside the home or business.

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) Modernization and Reform

In the last Congress, leaders of the House Judiciary Committee`s Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security--Reps. Howard Coble (R-N.C.) and Bobby Scott (D-VA) joined forces to introduce H.R. 5092, the "Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) Modernization and Reform Act of 2006." The bill passed the House but failed to win passage in the Senate before adjournment. Similar legislation is planned for the 110th Congress. The legislation would allow fines or license suspensions for less serious violations, while still allowing license revocation for the kind of serious violations that would block an investigation or put guns in the hands of criminals. This prevents the all-too-common situations where BATFE has punished licensees for insignificant technical violations or paperwork errors--such as improper use of abbreviations, or filing records in the wrong order. This bipartisan legislation is a critical first step toward reforming BATFE.

S. 388 and H.R. 861, National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2007

Introduced in the House by Reps. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) and Rick Boucher (D-Va.) and in the Senate by Senator John Thune (R-S.D.), these bills would allow any person with a valid concealed firearm carrying permit or license, issued by a state, to carry a concealed firearm in any state. In states that issue concealed firearm permits, a state`s laws governing where concealed firearms may be carried would apply within its borders. In states that do not issue carry permits, a federal standard would apply. The bill would not create a federal licensing system; it would only require the states to recognize each others` carry permits, just as they recognize drivers` licenses and carry permits held by armored car guards. Rep. Stearns has introduced such legislation since 1995.

S. 376, Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act of 2007

Introduced by Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), and John Cornyn (R-Tex.), S. 376 would make important reforms to the federal law that allows current and retired law enforcement officers to legally carry concealed firearms in all 50 states. S. 376 would provide greater flexibility in satisfying training requirements, and would make other changes that would allow more police officers to carry firearms nationwide.

S. 408, Hunting Heritage Protection Act

Introduced by Sens. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.) Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), John Sununu (R-N.H.) and Jim Bunning (R-Ky.), S. 408 would recognize the heritage of hunting and provide opportunities for continued hunting on Federal public land. It provides that, except for reasons of national security, public safety or unless closed by federal law, federal lands shall be open to access and use for recreational hunting. The bill also implements the No-Net-Loss concept: if the federal government closes any lands to hunting, it would have to compensate by opening new areas to hunters.

H.R. 1141, Veterans` Heritage Firearms Act of 2007

Introduced by Rep. Chris Cannon (R-Utah), H.R. 1141 would create an amnesty period during which veterans and their family members could register certain firearms in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record. This bill would apply to firearms obtained by service members while stationed outside the U.S. prior to November 1968. This bill would allow former service members to legally keep firearms collected during wartime as souvenir and to pass them along to family members.

H.R. 1179, To clarify the authority of the Secretary of the Interior with regard to management of elk in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Introduced by Rep. Udall (D-Colo.) H.R. 1179 would allow the use of qualified hunters in the management of the elk herd in the Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP). RMNP`s elk herd has grown so large it threatens the ecological balance in the park and must be reduced. H. R. 1179 will allow hunting to be used as the most effective method to control the herd. Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) has introduced a similar bill (S. 684), relating to Theodore Roosevelt National Park (TRNP) in North Dakota. TRNP has similar problems with the size of the elk herd. S. 684 will allow hunting to be used to maintain the herd`s size.

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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.