OpenCongress Blog

Blog Feed Comments Feed More RSS Feeds

Gun Registry Bill Draws Massive Resistance

February 18, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

With the election of Barack Obama in November came anxiety among gun owners that the constitutional right to bear arms would be curtailed. As the rest of the economy slumped, gun and ammunition sales surged following the election. Now there is a specific piece of legislation in Congress that gun-rights activists have identified as the leading threat – the Blair Holt’s Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act of 2009.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Bobby Rush [D, IL-1], would establish a federal gun licensing and registry program that would help the government track information on gun ownership and gun sales across the country. It would apply to handguns and all rifles with a “detachable ammunition feeding device.”

Currently, this kind of registry is specifically banned under U.S. Code, so the bill proposes to undo a rule enacted by the 99th Congress under President Reagan, which reads:

No such rule or regulation prescribed after the date of the enactment of the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act may require that records required to be maintained under this chapter or any portion of the contents of such records, be recorded at or transferred to a facility owned, managed, or controlled by the United States or any State or any political subdivision thereof, nor that any system of registration of firearms, firearms owners, or firearms transactions or dispositions be established.

Along with the federal registry, the bill also proposes a federal licensing requirement for all gun owners. In order to get a license, a person would have to submit a photo, thumbprint, their address, a release of their mental health records, and more to the United States Attorney General. Current gun owners would have two years to acquire a license.

There are several other controversial provisions in the legislation, including the ability for the Attorney General to, “during regular business hours, enter any place in which firearms or firearm products are manufactured, stored, or held, for distribution in commerce, and inspect those areas where the products are so manufactured, stored, or held.”

It would also add a new “child access prevention” provision to U.S. law making it “unlawful for any person to keep a loaded firearm, or an unloaded firearm and ammunition for the firearm, any 1 of which has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce, within any premises that is under the custody or control of that person” if that person knows that a child could potentially acquire the firearm. Notice the “interstate commerce” language here that places this in Congress’ jurisdiction under Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 of the Constitution. Similar language can be found in the bill’s findings section.

A similar bill was introduced by Rep. Rush in the last session of Congress, but it was never considered by committee. Like last year’s version, the Blair Holt’s Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act of 2009 is currently sitting in the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security with no legislative action planned.

For a bill that has received so little attention from Congress, it has received an incredible amount of attention from the public. In just the past 7 days, 35,769 people have viewed its page on OpenCongress. It’s also the second-most blogged about bill in Congress and second in the list of bills most often covered in the news. It’s gotten all this attention at the same time that the country’s focus on Congress has been firmly fixed on the $787 billion stimulus bill, nonetheless. One more thing – the bill’s standing among OpenCongress users as of this writing: 24 in favor – 1138 opposed.

Like this post? Stay in touch by following us on Twitter, joining us on Facebook, or by Subscribing with RSS.
 

Comments

Displaying 31-39 of 39 total comments.

  • Anonymous 02/24/2009 10:15am

    Taking up this kind of legislation against people who own guns, just might be the wrong thing. I am armed, and so are many Americans. I will defend the 2nd Ammendment, so will many Americans.

  • citizenhbtrack 02/24/2009 10:33am

    H.R. 45 needs to be “blown away” immediately because it’s nothing but another attempted scam to dilute and eventually totally flush away our Constitutional Rights that the original Constitution allows as setup by the True Founding Fathers. Why have we allowed a corporate constitution the power to start overruling our Original Constitution and Bill of Rights? Let’s WAKE UP!

  • citizenhbtrack 02/24/2009 2:39pm

    H.R. 45 must be thrown out and defeated because it’s another scam to dilute and inevitably take away our Constitutional Rights as originally granted by the True Founding Father’s of the original Constitution, not the Corporate constitution being forced on the American people. Let’s WAKE UP to the travesty of our American Constitution and Bill of Rights being taken away from us.

  • Anonymous 02/24/2009 3:14pm

    What part of “shall not be infringed” do these demonrats not understand?

  • NorthGaRepublican 02/24/2009 3:55pm

    I am opposed to these Gun Bans. I think that our basic liberties such as guns, religion, and free speech should not be taken away from us. I will never give up my guns, never.

  • Spam Comment

  • Spam Comment

  • Wild_Bill 02/27/2009 7:28am

    Simply put; Barack Obama, Rahm Emanuel and Eric Holder are the triad of all evil and all of them are arrogant, elitist, socialistic, Nazi, jerk, DICTATORS!!!!! If Obama wants my guns then simply come kill me!!!! You are NEVER going to take my guns… “BOY!!!!” I don’t give a damn who you are!!!!

    Obama stands for: One Big Ass Mistake America!!!!

  • Anonymous 03/05/2009 5:16am

    Governments should fear the people, the people should not fear the government..

Due to the archiving of this blog, comment posting has been disabled.