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
Canadian Provinces Respond to Federal Gun Confiscation Plea: Pound Sand

News  

Monday, October 3, 2022

Canadian Provinces Respond to Federal Gun Confiscation Plea: Pound Sand

From Canada last week came a heartwarming story of how certain Canadian jurisdictions are responding to the central government’s plea to help it implement its draconian and legally-dubious firearms confiscation scheme.

Manipulated Public Opinion Polling Should Not Drive Public Policy on Guns

News  

Monday, October 3, 2022

Manipulated Public Opinion Polling Should Not Drive Public Policy on Guns

A recent study by the Crime Prevention Research Center underscored how easily public opinion polling can be used to distort, rather than illuminate, peoples’ true feelings on gun control. Policy-makers should take note.

Shipping Companies Prohibit the Lawful Shipping of Firearms

News  

Monday, September 19, 2022

Shipping Companies Prohibit the Lawful Shipping of Firearms

Wondering what federal law says regarding individuals who do not have a Federal Firearms License (FFL) that need to ship firearms? Well, if you go to the website for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and ...

More Pushback on Credit Card Surveillance of Firearm Buyers

News  

Monday, September 26, 2022

More Pushback on Credit Card Surveillance of Firearm Buyers

As we’ve previously reported, on September 9, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) approved a Merchant Category Code (MCC) for firearm retailers. MCCs enable payment processors and banks to categorize, monitor, and collect data on various types of ...

Court Rules Second Amendment Prohibits Federal Pre-Conviction Firearms Ban

News  

Monday, September 26, 2022

Court Rules Second Amendment Prohibits Federal Pre-Conviction Firearms Ban

Last week, a federal judge in the Western District of Texas ruled that a law which prohibits the acquisition of firearms by someone who is under felony indictment violates the Second Amendment. The decision to ...

Grassroots Spotlight: Meet Georgia Campaign Field Representative Alicia Adams!

Take Action  

Monday, October 3, 2022

Grassroots Spotlight: Meet Georgia Campaign Field Representative Alicia Adams!

When you first meet NRA-ILA’s Campaign Field Representative, Alicia Adams, you notice that she’s the “life of the party”; but when you take a closer look, you see that she loves life and friends, and has a zeal for our nation ...

Hawaii: Honolulu Police Department Considering Firearm Rules Changes

Monday, October 3, 2022

Hawaii: Honolulu Police Department Considering Firearm Rules Changes

Tomorrow, the Honolulu Police Department (HPD) will hold a public hearing to consider new proposed Rules governing Firearm Permits and Licenses in light of the recent Supreme Court decision in NYSRPA v. Bruen. The proposed ...

Illinois Sets the Stage for Possible Unprecedented Crime Wave

News  

Monday, September 26, 2022

Illinois Sets the Stage for Possible Unprecedented Crime Wave

As part of a criminal justice “reform” effort, the state of Illinois is preparing to unleash the first statewide no-cash bail law, which will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2023, and the ramifications could ...

Beto is lying about guns again

News  

Monday, August 22, 2022

Beto is lying about guns again

Democratic Texas gubernatorial candidate Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke’s position on guns is straightforward. The former New York manny wants to ban and confiscate America’s most popular firearms and further undermine Texans’ Second Amendment rights.

OREGON: Vote NO on Ballot Measure 114!

News  

Thursday, September 15, 2022

OREGON: Vote NO on Ballot Measure 114!

Ballot Measure 114 is the nation’s most extreme gun control Initiative and will be voted on this November! The NRA has launched a website to inform voters why they must VOTE NO on Ballot Measure 114.  It ...

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.