U.S. Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Mark Begich (D-Alaska) have introduced the Senate companion bill to H.R. 58, the “Firearms Interstate Commerce Reform Act,” which was reintroduced in the U.S. House in January of 2011. This common sense reform to broaden lawful interstate sales of firearms has been an NRA priority for many years. Similar legislation has repeatedly been introduced in the Congress since 2004, when Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) introduced H. R. 4048, which was then titled the Firearm Commerce Modernization Act.
The legislation would remove several antiquated and unnecessary restrictions imposed on interstate firearms business since 1968:
• Virtually all interstate transfers directly between private citizens are banned; so are nearly all interstate handgun sales by licensed dealers.
• Firearms dealers may only do business at their licensed premises or (since 1986) at gun shows in their own state.
• Dealers may not even transfer firearms to one another face to face, away from their business premises.
These restrictions originated with the Gun Control Act of 1968, which only allowed licensed dealers to sell rifles and shotguns to residents of a different state under a lengthy series of conditions. First, the buyer’s state had to have a law allowing such transactions. Second, the transaction had to comply with the state law in both the buyer’s and seller’s states. Third, the dealer had to notify the chief law enforcement officer in the buyer’s state, and wait for evidence that the officer had received the notification. Finally, the dealer had to wait seven days after receiving the notice before completing the transfer.
These restrictions have become obsolete due to the implementation of the NICS instant background check system. Passage of the Firearms Interstate Commerce Reform Act would serve to significantly modernize our federal gun laws. For more information, click here.