As we reported in May, Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) have introduced S. 941, the “Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Reform and Firearms Modernization Act of 2009” in the U.S. Senate. Representatives Steve King (R-Iowa) and Zack Space (D-Ohio) have introduced a companion bill—H.R. 2296—in the U.S. House. The bills would roll back unnecessary restrictions, correct errors, and codify longstanding congressional policies in the firearms arena. These bipartisan bills are a vital step to modernize and improve BATFE operations.
Of highest importance, S. 941and H.R. 2296 totally rewrite the system of administrative penalties for licensed dealers, manufacturers and importers of firearms. Currently, for most violations, BATFE can only give a federal firearms license (FFL) holder a warning, or revoke his license.
S. 941 and H.R. 2296 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 will help prevent the all-too-common situations where BATFE has revoked licenses for insignificant technical violations—such as improper use of abbreviations or filing records in the wrong order.
S. 941 represents the first time such BATFE reform legislation has been introduced in the Senate. However, the House passed similar legislation (H.R. 5092) in the 109th Congress by a 277-131 vote. A majority of the House--224 congressmen--cosponsored H.R. 4900 in the 110th Congress.
A fact sheet on S. 941/H.R. 2296 can be found here.
Please be sure to contact your U.S. Senators and Representative, and ask them to cosponsor and support S. 941 and H.R. 2296! You can call your U.S. Senators at (202) 224-3121, and your U.S. Representative at (202) 225-3121.