Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN Legal & Legislation

Federal Bill Seeks to Use Your Taxes to Bribe States to Require Gun Licenses

Friday, June 12, 2015

Federal Bill Seeks to Use Your Taxes to Bribe States to Require Gun Licenses

It's bad enough that antigun members of Congress want to enact federal legislation to impose the elitist views of their coastal enclaves on the entire country. What's worse is that in typical Big Government fashion, they want to use your tax dollars to accomplish their schemes. The latest example of this is the "Handgun Purchaser Licensing Act," which at least has the distinction of having an honest title, a rarity for antigun legislation. Rather than establishing the licensing mandate at the federal level, however, this bill would create a federal grant program to bribe states to do it themselves.

The bill's sponsors include Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal (both D-Conn.), Rep. Elizabeth Etsy (D-Conn.), and Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.). All hail from states that have their own handgun licensing requirements. The bill's findings claim, "Recently published research by top national experts, notably on Missouri and Connecticut hand-gun purchaser licensing laws, have estimated that Missouri's repeal of its handgun purchaser licensing law led to a 25 percent increase in firearm homicide rates while Connecticut's adoption of its handgun purchaser licensing law led to a 40 percent decrease in firearm homicide rates."

Apparently, this claim is supposed to give the bill the veneer of "evidence-based" policy making. In truth, the idea of using a federally-backed licensing requirement to create firearm registries and to suppress firearm ownership by making it more expensive and burdensome is nothing new. For almost a decade, for example, Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) has been introducing the "Blair Holt's Firearm Licensing and Record Sales Act," which would enact a direct federal mandate for the licensing of firearm ownership. In other words, the evidence manufactured by Michael Bloomberg's bought and paid-for "Center for Gun Policy and Research" at Johns Hopkins didn't stimulate the idea, it is trying to bootstrap it.

An analysis conducted by John R. Lott, renowned economist and director of the Crime Prevention Research Center, indicates the study on Connecticut cited by the bill's authors misrepresents the facts. "[U]nexplained," Lott states, "is that the firearms homicide rate was falling even faster immediately prior to the licensing law." Lott also accuses the researchers of cherry-picking their data. Lott notes: "To see … how sensitive the results are to the dates chosen, while it is true that Connecticut's firearm homicide rate fell by 40% from 1995 to 2005, it only fell by 12.5% between 1995 and 2010.  Meanwhile from 1995 and 2010, the US firearm homicide rate fell by 39% and the Northeast firearm homicide rate fell by 31%."

According to Lott, the bottom line is that Connecticut's overall violent crime rate as well as the violent crime rates for robbery and aggravated assaults had fallen before the licensing started and that when the licensing started they stopped falling and started to rise. While murder rates remained flat after Connecticut's licensing law was adopted, other types of violent crime have shown a rising trend since then.

Press releases by the bill's authors also indicate their desire to increase background checks for handgun purchasers. For example, Van Hollen's press release states, "permit-to-purchase requirements ensure that licensed and unlicensed firearm sellers are required to sell handguns to individuals with a valid permit or license." Neverthless, the bill's requirements could actually reduce background checks on firearm sales from federally licensed dealers (FFLs). This is because the grant eligibility requirements of the legislation ironically track existing requirements in federal law for so-called "NICS exempt" permits.

Generally, FFLs are required under current federal law to run background checks on non-licensed persons before transferring a firearm to them. This requirement does not apply, however, if the transferee has presented to the FFL a permit that "allows such other person to possess or acquire a firearm," and "was issued not more than 5 years earlier by the State in which the transfer is to take place" and "the law of the State provides that such a permit is to be issued only after an authorized government official has verified that the information available to such official does not indicate that possession of a firearm by such other person would be in violation of law." Thus, states that adopt a handgun license in accordance with the bill's standards could also thereby create a mechanism for residents to buy both handguns and long guns from dealers without having to go through a background check each time. While the NRA still opposes the bill, it's amusing how little understanding its authors have of the subject matter on which they are trying to legislate.

As we have said before, whether or not this bill gains traction in this particular Congress, it clearly signals the extreme views and agenda of the gun control movement. If the bill were passed, criminals wouldn't obtain a license to buy a gun from a dealer. They would simply obtain their guns the same ways they always have: by theft, straw purchases, from criminal associates or family members, or on the black market. Meanwhile, honest, peaceable Americans would have more impediments to exercising their rights. Unlike some consequences of the bill, however, its authors would no doubt consider the latter outcome a benefit of the legislation, not a bug.

TRENDING NOW
Biden Administration Bans Importation of Russian Ammunition

News  

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Biden Administration Bans Importation of Russian Ammunition

The Biden Administration’s Department of State announced that it will soon prohibit the importation of Russian ammunition into the United States. According to a release on the Department of State’s website, “[n]ew and pending permit applications ...

The Second Amendment Now Comes with Government-Issued “Harmful Language Alert”

News  

Monday, September 13, 2021

The Second Amendment Now Comes with Government-Issued “Harmful Language Alert”

The absurdity and dysfunction of the Biden Administration have become so pervasive that it’s easy to become numb to it all. But some things it does are still so outrageous and inconceivable – touching on ...

Atlantic Writer Promotes Culture War on Gun Ownership

News  

Monday, September 13, 2021

Atlantic Writer Promotes Culture War on Gun Ownership

Canadian-born political commentator and George W. Bush-era speechwriter David Frum has taken a break from promoting actual wars in the Middle East to advocate for a culture war on gun ownership here at home.

Texas: Attorney General Ken Paxton's Office Puts Woke Corporations on Notice

Friday, September 10, 2021

Texas: Attorney General Ken Paxton's Office Puts Woke Corporations on Notice

As NRA-ILA reported to you last week, a dozen new pro-Second Amendment bills took effect on September 1, including Senate Bill 19 sponsored by State Sen. Charles Schwertner (R-Georgetown) and State Rep. Gio Capriglione (R-Southlake).  Taxpayer dollars should ...

Biden Reiterates Call to Ban 9mm Handguns

News  

Monday, July 26, 2021

Biden Reiterates Call to Ban 9mm Handguns

During a July 21 CNN “presidential town hall,” Joe Biden expressed his support for a ban on commonly-owned handguns. Responding to a question about the recent increase in violent crime, the career politician stated,

Trudeau Ramps Up Gun Control Promises, Makes Guns a Wedge Issue

News  

Monday, September 13, 2021

Trudeau Ramps Up Gun Control Promises, Makes Guns a Wedge Issue

With days to go until the September 20 snap election called by Justin Trudeau, the Liberal Party leader and current Prime Minister, face the possibility of losing seats. As of early September, the Conservative Party had overtaken Trudeau’s Liberals as ...

The Truth about Radicals

News  

Monday, September 13, 2021

The Truth about Radicals

A once-reputable magazine used gunshot victims as a lever in the debate over medical treatment, using the claims of an untruthful doctor who would, apparently, say anything to advance his public health agenda.

NRA Files Comments Opposing ATF’s “Stabilizing Brace” Proposed Rule

News  

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

NRA Files Comments Opposing ATF’s “Stabilizing Brace” Proposed Rule

As we’ve previously reported, the Biden Department of Justice is threatening to upend the U.S. firearm industry and how Americans exercise their Second Amendment rights.

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.

NRA Reacts to the Withdrawal of the David Chipman Nomination

News  

Thursday, September 9, 2021

NRA Reacts to the Withdrawal of the David Chipman Nomination

The NRA applauds the reported withdraw of David Chipman's nomination to head the ATF.

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.