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U.S. House Bows to Biden, Passes Legislation to Cancel Your RIGHT to Obtain a Firearm

Monday, March 15, 2021

U.S. House Bows to Biden, Passes Legislation to Cancel Your RIGHT to Obtain a Firearm

The U.S. House Representatives, with the urging and support of Joe Biden, passed two bills on Thursday – H.R. 8 and H.R. 1446 – that would usher in a sweeping overhaul of how firearms are bought and sold in the U.S. Neither would impede criminals, who overwhelmingly obtain their firearms outside normal channels of lawful commerce. But together they would transform the constitutionally protected right to obtain firearms into a privilege administered at the whim of anti-gun bureaucrats.

To understand why these bills are so consequential, it’s important to understand how retail firearm sales work under existing federal law.

Currently, the primary means by which the federal government regulates firearms is through a network of licensed dealers (FFLs) making commercial sales. Anyone who repetitively engages in firearm sales for livelihood and profit is required to become an FFL. Failure to do so is already a federal felony. So when the media mentions “unlicensed dealers,” they’re actually talking about criminals, not people falling into a legal “loophole.”

Anyone buying a gun from an FFL must first go through a computerized, point-of-sale background check administered by the FBI. This check, which is supposed to be instant, searches several national databases to determine if a would-be buyer falls into any statutorily-defined category of “prohibited persons,” which include such things as felons, people who have been committed to a mental institution, and illegal aliens.    

If the search does not turn up a disqualifying record, the system notifies the dealer to proceed. Sometimes, however, the records are unclear, and a response cannot be provided immediately. This results in a delay of up to three business days to allow the FBI to conduct additional research. 

If the FBI still has not resolved the check within that three business day period, the FFL has the option (but not a requirement) to proceed with the sale, provided he or she has no reason to believe the buyer is prohibited. This is known as a default transfer.

The system is structured this way not because of some inadvertent loophole but as an intentional safeguard to protect Americans’ constitutional right to obtain firearms.

As with any constitutional right, the burden is on the government to justify a restriction, which in the case of a background check means the FBI must be able to locate a disqualifying record before it blocks a sale. The three day default transfer window ensures the government maintains the burden of proof, provides a specific timeframe to resolve incomplete checks, incentivizes the FBI to administer the system efficiently, and ensures legal transfers are not subject to extended delays.

Without the automatic default transfer option, the FBI could block even legal firearm sales, simply by refusing to complete the check.

Private individuals who are not selling firearms with the principle objective of livelihood and profit can make occasional transfers, sales, loans, or gifts of firearms without becoming an FFL. They cannot, however, transfer a firearm to anyone who they have reason to believe is legally prohibited from buying firearms. Private individuals also have the option (but not the requirement) to process a private transfer using the services of an FFL, with the attendant background check and record-keeping required of the dealer for a commercial sale.

The bills passed by the House last week would – in the case of H.R. 8 – presumptively ban any private transfer of a firearm, including loans and gifts, as well as – in the case of H.R. 1446 – eliminate the automatic three day default transfer period for dealer sales.

This means that every time a firearm changed hands, the transfer would have to be processed by an FFL, which would involve fees, background checks, and government-accessible paperwork documenting the sale. Friends and neighbors could no longer freely loan, sell, or trade firearms amongst the people they know and trust. Even some family members could no longer share firearms with each other.

Handing a firearm over to someone without hiring an FFL to facilitate the exchange would be a federal crime under H.R. 8, unless you could show the situation fell into certain narrow and confusing exceptions. For example, you could loan someone a gun for self-defense, but only if the person was actually under attack at the time. You could not loan someone a firearm as a safeguard against danger that had not yet materialized.

Making matters worse, H.R. 1446 would empower the FBI to indefinitely delay a firearm sale or transfer, simply by failing to complete the “instant” check that would now be mandatory for EVERY non-exempt transfer. There would be no automatic default transfer window. Instead, it would be up to the intended recipient of the gun to appeal a delayed background check and ask – for the second time – for an answer from the FBI.

If the FBI failed to answer this SECOND request for a resolution to the background check, the dealer would have to wait an additional 10 business days before deciding whether to transfer the gun. So, at a minimum, H.R. 1446 would allow the FBI to arbitrarily impose an extended delay, even in the case where a person stood on his or her rights by appealing the FBI’s non-answer to the check. If the person did not appeal, there would be NO option for the dealer to transfer the gun, even though the FBI had not shown the transfer was illegal.

 Taken together, these bills transform the right to obtain firearms into a privilege administered at the say-so of the government. They also set the stage for a universal registry of gun owners and the transformation of the current “shall-issue” paradigm for FFL transfers to eligible buyers into a “may-issue” system where the FBI can block sales on a case-by-case basis as they see fit.

Arch anti-gun Senator Chuck Schumer has already promised that the legislation will get a vote in the Senate, where the margin for victory or defeat is razor thin.

That is why every freedom-loving American must contact their senators NOW and firmly but respectfully demand that they vote NO on H.R. 8 and H.R. 1446.

Giving the government total authority to document and oversee the movement of every legal gun in America is a recipe for a crackdown on law-abiding gun owners, while leaving criminals operating outside the bounds of the law untouched.

Do not delay. Make your voice heard TODAY or suffer the potential loss of your rights tomorrow! Contact your U.S. Senators Now!

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Louisiana: House Passes Constitutional Carry, Now Headed to Gov. Landry’s Desk for His Signature

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Louisiana: House Passes Constitutional Carry, Now Headed to Gov. Landry’s Desk for His Signature

Today, the House voted 75-28 to pass Senate Bill 1, the NRA-backed constitutional carry legislation that passed the Senate last week.

Washington: Two Anti-Gun Bills Advance Through the Legislature

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Washington: Two Anti-Gun Bills Advance Through the Legislature

On Tuesday, February 27th, HB 2118, the “FFL Killer” passed the Senate, and SB 5444, "sensitive places" expansion, passed the House. Both bills were amended in the second chamber and now must return to their ...

Minnesota: Two Anti Gun Bills Scheduled to be Heard in Committee

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Minnesota: Two Anti Gun Bills Scheduled to be Heard in Committee

On Thursday February 28th at 10:30 am, House File 601 and House File 4300 will be heard in Room 200 of the State Office Building by the Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee and the Children and ...

Colorado: Anti-Gun Bills Continue to Move through the State Legislature

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Colorado: Anti-Gun Bills Continue to Move through the State Legislature

Two anti-gun bills continue to move in the Colorado State Legislature. HB24-1174, introduced by Majority Leader Monica Duran (D-HD 23),  is set to be heard next week in the House Finance Committee. HB24-1310 , introduced by ...

Maine: PETITION: Stand with Maine Gun Retailers

Monday, February 26, 2024

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Gun Control groups are launching an all-out assault on the Second Amendment in Maine. Their most recent tactic?

South Dakota: Enhanced Conceal Carry Legislation Headed to Governor Noem's Desk

Thursday, February 29, 2024

South Dakota: Enhanced Conceal Carry Legislation Headed to Governor Noem's Desk

On February 27th, Senate Bill 203 received final passage on the House floor on a vote of 62-8. The legislation will now head to Governor Noem's desk for her consideration.

Michigan: “Gun-Free Zone” Legislation Passed in the Senate

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Michigan: “Gun-Free Zone” Legislation Passed in the Senate

House Bill 4127 and House Bill 4128, legislation that would restrict law-abiding gun owners in and around polling places, which includes ballot drop boxes, passed out of the Senate will be sent back to the House ...

Ohio: Gun Owner Credit Card Privacy Bill Passes the Senate

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Ohio: Gun Owner Credit Card Privacy Bill Passes the Senate

Yesterday, the Senate Veterans and Public Safety Committee passed Senate Bill 148, The Second Amendment Privacy Act. The bill was quickly sent to the Senate floor where it passed by a vote of 25-7. This ...

Oklahoma: Pro-Gun Constitutional Amendment Strengthening the Right to Keep and Bear Arms Passes Committee

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Oklahoma: Pro-Gun Constitutional Amendment Strengthening the Right to Keep and Bear Arms Passes Committee

Yesterday, House Joint Resolution 1034, a joint resolution proposing to amend the Oklahoma constitution to provide further protections for the right to keep and bear arms, was passed by the House Rules Committee and is ...

Maine: Gun Registries, Red Flags, Universal Background Checks and more.

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Maine: Gun Registries, Red Flags, Universal Background Checks and more.

It has been a busy week for Maine’s anti-gun politicians. From releasing a new bill that would implement Universal Background Checks and Red Flag laws in Maine, to Rep. Jared Golden (ME-02) pushing for a ...

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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.