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Gun-Ban Senators Propose Federal Licensing Scheme

Gun-Ban Senators Propose Federal Licensing Scheme

(Dzm1try / Shutterstock photo)

If there’s one thing you can count on in life, it’s rabidly anti-gun legislators introducing sweeping legislation whenever a tragedy has taken place.

And this year is no exception, with three gun-ban-loving senators proposing legislation to, among other things, require prospective buyers to acquire a newly instituted federal firearms license in order to purchase a gun.

The Federal Firearms Licensing Act, by New Jersey U.S. Senators  Cory Booker and Bob Menendez, and Connecticut U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal—all Democrats—would, according to Booker, “move us in the right direction.”

“In our nation, gun violence has become eerily routine and we’ve done little to stop the horrific mass shootings that devastate the lives of victims and their loved ones,” Booker said in a press release announcing the legislation. “Accepting this shameful status quo will continue to lead to deadly consequences. We need to adopt proven, common-sense measures that will address the scourge of gun violence and make our communities safer.”

Of course, what Booker refers to as “common-sense legislation” is more commonly referred to by law-abiding gun owners as national licensing and registration—a completely unconstitutional idea that these same senators have been pushing for years. This time, they’re hoping the horrible murder of 10 people in a Buffalo, New York, supermarket might garner them the support they need to push the measure past the finish line.

In fact, it only takes a brief look at the legislation to see exactly how restrictive it is. And, how it will only affect the law-abiding, since violent criminals don’t follow the law in the first place—that’s why they’re called “criminals.”

“Except as provided in subsection d, it shall be unlawful for any individual to purchase or receive a firearm unless the individual has a valid Federal firearm license” the legislation states.

Not surprisingly, a person would have to jump through a lot of hoops to qualify for the license. To qualify a law-abiding American must have certification that he or she has completed firearm safety training, which must include a written test and hands-on training to ensure safe use and accuracy, completion of a criminal history background check, and must also submit fingerprints, proof of identity and verification that the prospective purchaser is at least 21 years old. It would also require a new license to be applied for every five years.

If that “firearms safety training” worries you, it should. As with most laws written by anti-gunners, the exact amount of training isn’t specified so would likely be at the whim of whatever administration happens to be in the White House at the time.

Even so, the requirements actually stated in the bill are quite onerous. And they include an unspecified level of accuracy that would be required in order to qualify to purchase a gun.

“The system established under paragraph (1) shall require that ‘(A) an individual shall be eligible to receive such a license if the individual has completed training in firearms safety, including a written test, to demonstrate knowledge of applicable firearms laws; and hands-on testing, including firing testing, to demonstrate safe use and sufficient accuracy of a firearm (ii) as part of the process for applying for such a license,” the measure states.

The measure would also impose strict requirements if a gun owner chose to sell his or her firearm to someone else. The government would need all the pertinent information, of course, in order to keep track of who owns what firearm—a registry, in other words.


“It shall be unlawful for any individual to sell or otherwise dispose of a firearm to a person unless the individual reports the transaction to the Attorney General not later than 3 business days after the date on which the firearm is sold or transferred, which shall include identifying information on the firearm seller and on the firearm transferee, including the make, model, and serial number,” the legislation states.

Another thing that shouldn’t surprise those who follow Second Amendment issues closely is that the proposed measure makes no mention of the cost for the federal license. Presumably the government could set the cost as high as it wanted, making it hard for many Americans to afford the license.

While it’s unlikely the legislation will gain a lot of traction with strong Republican opposition, just the fact that such proposals are put on official paper is frightening. We’ll keep track of this measure and report back if it begins moving through the legislative system.

Freelance writer and editor Mark Chesnut is the owner/editorial director at Red Setter Communications LLC. An avid hunter, shooter and political observer, he has been covering Second Amendment issues and politics on a near-daily basis for the past 20 years.

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