BS ALERT: Loose Language in Reid’s Gun Bill Allows for National Gun Registry

Published on April 5, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-04-05 at 9.11.20 AMTitle I of the Reid gun control bill purports to “fix gun checks.” The proposed “fix” in section 122 of S. 649 is to take away an individual’s right to sell or give away a firearm to another individual unless, in most cases, the individual uses a licensed importer, dealer, or manufacturer to make the transfer of the firearm.

In a departure from section 103(i) of Public Law 103-159, section 122(a)(4) of the Reid bill enacts a new section 922(t)(4)(B)(ii) of title 18 of the U.S. Code to direct Attorney General Eric Holder to issue regulations “requiring a record of transaction of any transfer that occurred between an unlicensed transferor and an unlicensed transferee.” The legislation does not define the term “record of transaction,” does not specify any limitations on who creates and who keeps the record of transaction, and does not explicitly incorporate the existing prohibition on a national firearms registry.

Thus, the loose language could be construed to allow the Department of Justice itself (or another agency specified by the Attorney General) to keep centralized records of who received what guns and where, by sale or gift from one individual to another. Any provision of a bill relating to firearms that authorizes the Attorney General to issue regulations should explicitly be made subject to section 103(i) of Public Law 103-159 to eliminate any risk of misconstruction of the provision to allow creation in whole or in part of a national firearms registry.

We Americans owe it to ourselves and our posterity to see that neither Senator Reid’s bill, nor any other legislation concerning firearms, waters down the strong protection against a national firearms registry contained in section 103(i) of Public Law 103-159. The freedom we save may be our own.

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