Legislation We Can Get Behind

Iowa Republican representative Steve King has introduced a bill in the house judiciary committee entitled "To reform the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, modernize firearms". If you've been paying attention, the BATFE is certainly a bureau that could use some reforming. This legislation proposes the following:
  • It clarifies the definition of the word "willful" because we all know that government bureaucrats are incapable of using a Websters dictionary. In order to revoke a gun dealer's license, his offenses have to be qualified as "willful". Unfortunately the BATFE has been calling every inadvertent petty error (like using "Y" and "N" on forms instead of "Yes" and "No") a willful violation.
  • It allows for BATFE findings to be appealed before an administrative law judge. Right now, firearm retailers have had to attempt to appeal the BATFE findings to the BATFE... Basically beg them to change their mind. That hasn't been a very fruitful process.
  • It allows a grace period for persons taking over a firearm business to correct the administrative shortfalls of the previous owners. Currently the BATFE is able to punish new gun shop owners for the transgressions of the previous owner.
  • It sets up a requirement for the BATFE to inform license applicants in writing with a reason for a denial of the license request and sets up an avenue of appeal. Currently the BATFE can simply refuse to issue a license with no explanation what so ever.
  • It codifies some limits on firearm information disclosure that have been limited through a series of appropriations riders.
  • It requires the BATFE to set up clear an documented investigation guidelines. Currently there are none. The BATFE does not have any written guidelines for how it investigates licensees and how it tests samples. In fact, they have ruled some devices legal only to change their minds after the manufacturer has manufactered and sold what they were told were legal devices. Often times these "re-evaluations" occurred as a punitive measurein retaliation after a manufacturer has offered testimony in legal proceedings that was not beneficial to the BATFE's case.
  • It defines the the licensing requirements for gunsmiths. Currently gunsmiths who do nothing more than repair firearms are saddled with the same license requirements that a retailer or manufacturer would have.
  • It prevents the disclosure of FFL record information to anyone but law enforcement agencies.
  • It refocuses the BATFE’s efforts primarily on violations of firearms, explosives, arson, alcohol and tobacco laws instead of on broad law enforcement tasks like gang or drug investigations.
  • It eliminates an anal retentive portion of the Youth Handgun Safety Act that states that a youth under 18 must have written permission on their person to use a handgun even when the parent or guardian is present. In other words, if you and your child were target shooting and you handed your child a pistol to fire, you have just broken the law if you did not also hand them a signed note stating that they may fire it.
  • It enacts a permanently ban on taxes or “user fees” on background checks by the federal instant check system. These fees are already banned yearly on appropriations riders. This just eliminates the need to renew that prohibition every year.
  • 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.
  • It allows manufacturers to import and transfer of machineguns for use in the development or testing of firearms and ammunition. This was an issue that the original machinegun importation ban did not take into account. Currently, ammunition manufacturers can not import AK47's for example to test the bullets that we are manufacturing and selling to the Iraqi army.
  • It permits federal security contractors and professional film and theatrical organizations to transfer and possess machineguns. There's been a big deal made because contractors in Iraq are inept in handling their weapons and executing tactics. This is largely because they can not be trained in the United States. Also a large portion of or entertainment business has been exported to other locations around the globe, because prop guns, guns that fire only blanks, are still considered machineguns even though they are incapable of firing a projectile. That makes filming action movies or war pieces impossible to do.
  • It repeals the expired Brady Act’s waiting period provisions removing dead law from the books.
  • It assigns sole responsibility to the BATFE for receiving multiple handgun sale reports. This relieves retailers from requirements based on a confusing patchwork of local and state laws.
  • It allows for the importation of barrels, frames and receivers from non-importable for use as repair parts in existing firearms.
Now we all know that the congress has been quite lax in getting things passed into law this session. Perhaps if we all get a hold of our congressmen and stress to them, the importance of this law, they will not let it die in committee.

The liberals see no need to fix the BATFE, they are fine with a government agency running roughshod over the rights of the citizens. The only thing that will convince them to pass this law that reins in this rogue agency is a fear of not being reelected.

Over sixty percent of us agree that the second amendment enshrines an individual's right to keep and bear arms. If only over sixty percent of us would get off our asses, perhaps we could preserve that important right.

By the way... Way to go Steve King. Y'all in Iowa reelect that man!

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