BATFE Reform an NRA priority

Chris Cox is urging NRA members and gun owners to contact their House Representatives and implore them to cosponsor HR 4900, the BATFE reform bill.

Here is a short list of changes that HR 4900 would have if passed:

  • Clarifies the standard for “willful” violations–allowing penalties for intentional, purposeful violations of the law, but not for simple paperwork mistakes.
  • Codifies limits on disclosure of firearm trace data–which Congress has already limited through a series of appropriations riders over the past three years, out of concern for gun owners’ privacy and the confidentiality of law enforcement records. The provision would still allow law enforcement agencies full access to trace data for bona fide criminal investigations.
  • Reforms the procedures for FFL applications. Under H.R. 4900, denial of an application will require notification to the applicant, complete with reasons for the denial. An applicant will be allowed to provide supplemental information and to have a hearing on the application.
  • Permanently bans creation of a centralized electronic index of dealers’ records–a threat to gun owners’ privacy that Congress has barred through appropriations riders for a decade.
  • Eliminates a provision of the Youth Handgun Safety Act that requires those under 18 to have written permission to use a handgun for lawful purposes (such as competitive shooting or safety training)–even when the parent or guardian is present.
  • Prevents disclosure of information in FFL records outside of law enforcement agencies.
  • Allows a grace period for people taking over an existing firearm business to correct problems in the business’s records. If a person inherits a family gun store, for example, the new owner shouldn’t be punished for the previous owner’s mistakes.
  • Cleans up federal law by repealing the Brady Act’s “interim” waiting period provisions, which expired in 1998.
  • Improves the process for imposing penalties, especially by letting FFLs appeal BATFE penalties to a neutral administrative law judge, rather than to a BATFE official.
  • Allows a licensee time to dispose of his firearm inventory when going out of business.
  • Requires BATFE to establish clear investigative guidelines.
  • Clarifies the licensing requirement for gunsmiths, to distinguish between repair and other gunsmith work and actual manufacturing.
  • Focuses BATFE’s efforts on violations of firearm, explosive, arson, alcohol and tobacco laws, rather than on broader areas such as gang or drug investigations.
  • Gives BATFE sole responsibility for receiving reports of multiple handgun sales. (Currently, dealers also have to report multiple sales to state or local agencies, a requirement that has shown little or no law enforcement value.)
  • Restores a policy that allowed importation of barrels, frames and receivers from non-importable firearms, when they can be used as repair or replacement parts.

It’s going to be a tough uphill battle on this issue, so it is extremely important to contact your Reps in the House and get them to cosponsor this bill, and then contact them again so we can get it passed.

Call the U.S. House today at (202) 224-3121 and ask your representative to cosponsor H.R. 4900.

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