Federal licensing, registration bill introduced
by Dave Workman
A bill that would require the licensing of all handgun owners and anyone who owns any semi-automatic handgun, rifle or shotgun that accepts a detachable magazine has been introduced by an Illinois Democrat.
The bill would also set up a federal registration system for all transfers of these so-called “qualifying firearms.” Perhaps the most ominous part of the bill is that it defines “qualifying firearm” as “any handgun; or any semi-automatic firearm that can accept any detachable ammunition feeding device; and does not include any antique.”
Gun rights activist David Codrea has labeled Rep. Bobby Rush’s HR 45, the “Blair Holt Firearms Licensing and Record of Sale Act of 2009” a “declaration of war on American gunowners.”
HR-45 was introduced into the House of Representatives in early January, just days after the 111th Congress convened. Rush (D-1st District), who was in 1968 a co-founder of the Illinois Black Panther Party and a member of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, is the lead sponsor.
According to Sharon Jenkins, Rush’s director of National Media Relations and Marketing, “It’s a simple, straightforward law enforcement measure that would require every gun manufactured or sold in America to have a ‘gun identification number’ (GIN) similar to what’s currently required for American automobiles (VIN-Vehicle Identification Number). It does not prohibit or in any way limit consumers’ Second Amendment rights to gun ownership.”
Named in memory of a heroic Chicago high school student who shielded the body of another student on a bus when a gunman boarded and opened fire, the bill would require private citizens to apply for a firearm license to the Attorney General, and pass a test on safe handling and storage of firearms, the use of firearms in the home and risks associated with such use, and the legal responsibilities of firearms owners, including a knowledge of federal, state and local laws. Each citizen applying for a gun license would have to open his mental health records to the Attorney General “or an authorized representative” and also submit a current passport-sized photograph with their name, address and the date and place of their birth.
This license would carry a number “unique to each licensed individual,” and be renewable every five years. The license can be revoked.
It would require owners of “qualifying firearms” to report any change of address within 60 days of the move, and it would also be a violation of law to not report loss of a firearm to the Attorney General within 72 hours after the loss or theft is discovered.
There is also a section relating to child safety, and it also provides for heavy fines and imprisonment for violations of the act.
Under the Rush bill, it would be illegal to sell, deliver or transfer a firearm to anyone who is not licensed. In addition, nine months after the date of enactment, this legislation requires the Attorney General to establish and maintain a federal record of sale system that would log every firearm transfer conducted in the United States that is processed by a federally licensed firearms dealer.
It also eliminates the prohibition on gun registration that is now a part of federal law.
There is an exception for “the infrequent transfer of a firearm by gift, bequest, intestate succession or other means by an individual to a parent, child, grandparent, or grandchild of the individual, or to any loan of a firearm for any lawful purpose for not more than 30 days between persons who are personally known to each other.”
There was no immediate indication from the Obama Administration whether it would support this measure.
Codrea sent out a blog on the proposed legislation that suggested the bill would leap to “the front burner” if there is just one shooting in a “gun free zone.”
Under Rush’s legislation, the Attorney General would create regulations that specify procedures for submission of gun license applications. These applications would be made through licensed dealers or federal agencies.
The license fee “shall not exceed $25.”
As word of the licensing scheme spread across the Internet, gunowners reacted with both indignation and defiance.
Rush issued a “fact sheet” on the legislation in which he claimed that “The purpose of this bill is to restrict the availability of firearms to criminals, youth and gang members.”
He further argued that “No sensible individual can argue with the fact that with over 200 million guns in the United States, we need a uniform system to keep track of these weapons.”
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