Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Open letter to Senators RE: S. 649

Dear Senators

Have any of you read S. 649? Specifically the background check requirements. Under the proposed bill, the following innocent activity would be a felony if the transfer is not done through a federal firearms licensed dealer:

  • If you go to a party and hand your firearm to the homeowner for safe storage.
  • If you are in a self defense situation and you hand your firearm to someone to protect himself.
  • If you go to your friend’s house and hand him your firearm for him to inspect your new purchase.
  • If you give a firearm as a gift to your uncle, that raised you.
  • If you store your firearm collection at someone’s home for safe keeping while you are out of town. You will also have to go through an FFL and background check in order to get your firearms back.
  • If you and a non related roommate share a gun safe and either one of you leave for more than seven days.
  • If you give a firearm, that has been a family heirloom, to a nephew that you raised.
  • If you let someone on a private shooting range inspect your firearm.
  • While you may gift a firearm to certain family members, you cannot receive anything of value in return.
  • While you may gift a firearm to certain family members, you can't loan those certain family members a firearm

There are many more scenarios where I can see someone unintentionally breaking the law including, if you hand your firearm over to, or otherwise allow the transfer of your firearm to a police officer. While the bill contains the exemption “by operation of law”, as it’s written, it appears to apply only to estate owned firearms being transferred to the legal heirs.

There are no exemptions for law enforcement departments to issue firearms without first having to go through an FFL. While I am no fan of exemptions to firearm laws for law enforcement personnel, lacking this exemption may harm community safety

There are no exemptions for security companies that issue firearms to their personnel.

There are no exemptions for firearm instructors that operate on private shooting ranges.

This bill is a legal disaster looking for a victim, compliance would still be voluntary, albeit illegal and still won’t affect already illegal transfers, such as those between prohibited persons. What would compel a criminal seller to conduct a background check on his criminal buyer anyway? Telling a criminal seller he has to make a firearms transfer through an FFL is like telling a crack dealer he has to sell his crack at a pharmacy, it won't happen.

If the Senate wants to address background checks, open up NCIS to the public, it would still be voluntary but it would still get the same compliance rate.

Bill Baldwin