Congressional Democrats Introduce National Gun Registration and Licensing Act

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Posted: Jun 07, 2018 6:15 PM
Congressional Democrats Introduce National Gun Registration and Licensing Act

On Wednesday, congressional Democrats introduced bills to the House and the Senate that would establish a “system of licensing for purchasers of certain firearms” and “a record of sale system for those firearms” that would create a national registry for firearm sales and transfers in the United States and broadly prohibit the sale or transfer of guns to anyone without a federal license.

Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) introduced the House version of the bill, H.R. 6024, while Sen. Tammy Duckworth (also of Illinois) introduced the Senate version of the bill, S. 3002.

Although the exact text of the proposed bills is not yet available to the public, Rush has put forth similar legislation in the past. Back in 2009, Rush introduced “Blair Holt's Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act,”which proposed the establishment of a national firearm licensing system for gun owners and a federal registry of gun sales and transfers. According to the text of the proposed legislation, Americans without licenses would not be able to legally possess or buy most types of firearms. In fact, the guns that qualified for these licensing and registration systems were to include “(i) any handgun; or (ii) any semiautomatic firearm that can accept any detachable ammunition feeding device,” except for antique guns.

Rush’s bill also laid out the exact requirements for obtaining a federal firearm possession license, which would have, among other requirements, involved fingerprinting all prospective gun owners, releasing their mental health records to the government, and forcing them to take a potentially ever-expanding firearms knowledge test that could be added to at will by the president’s attorney general [emphasis mine]:

SEC. 102. APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS.

(a) In General. — In order to be issued a firearm license under this title, an individual shall submit to the Attorney General (in accordance with the regulations promulgated under subsection (b)) an application, which shall include—

(1) a current, passport-sized photograph of the applicant that provides a clear, accurate likeness of the applicant;

(2) the name, address, and date and place of birth of the applicant;

(3) any other name that the applicant has ever used or by which the applicant has ever been known;

(4) a clear thumb print of the applicant, which shall be made when, and in the presence of the entity to whom, the application is submitted;

(5) with respect to each category of person prohibited by Federal law, or by the law of the State of residence of the applicant, from obtaining a firearm, a statement that the individual is not a person prohibited from obtaining a firearm;

(6) a certification by the applicant that the applicant will keep any firearm owned by the applicant safely stored and out of the possession of persons who have not attained 18 years of age;

(7) a certificate attesting to the completion at the time of application of a written firearms examination, which shall test the knowledge and ability of the applicant regarding—

(A) the safe storage of firearms, particularly in the vicinity of persons who have not attained 18 years of age;

(B) the safe handling of firearms;

(C) the use of firearms in the home and the risks associated with such use;

(D) the legal responsibilities of firearms owners, including Federal, State, and local laws relating to requirements for the possession and storage of firearms, and relating to reporting requirements with respect to firearms; and

(E) any other subjects, as the Attorney General determines to be appropriate;

(8)an authorization by the applicant to release to the Attorney General or an authorized representative of the Attorney General any mental health records pertaining to the applicant;

(9) the date on which the application was submitted; and

(10) the signature of the applicant.

Given the substance of Rep. Rush’s past gun control proposal, it appears likely that his more recent bill and Sen. Duckworth’s companion Senate bill include many, if not most, of the same provisions.

According to the Washington Examiner, Rush’s office promoted H.R. 6024 as a measure that will protect people from “mass killings and shooting deaths”:

"Americans are demanding that Congress take real action to prevent gun violence and we must address this issue head on and do our part to prevent the senseless mass killings and shooting deaths in cities across this nation," [Rush] said.

For her part, Sen. Duckworth insisted that gun registry and licensing requirements are necessary to keep children safe:

"We owe it to the countless and growing number of firearm violence victims to take action," she said. "I don't want my daughters to have to grow up in a country that won’t protect them from firearm violence, which is why I'm proud to join Congressman Rush in this effort and we will keep pushing until all of America’s children are safe."