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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.

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Displaying 1-30 of 39 total comments.

  • Anonymous 02/18/2009 3:21pm

    This administration is taking away our liberity!
    Count me as an OPPOSED!

    Floyd T. Hopkins
    Ceder Hill, Texas

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 03/06/2009 10:39am

    Please remember that the president has taken an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States Of America and in the Constitution is the Bill of Rights and anytime that he votes for laws that go against our Bill of Rights he is commiting Treason. Remember (We the People)

  • Anonymous 02/18/2009 4:00pm

    Wow, This bill brings to mind the movie “Red Dawn” The information that would be recorded is exactly what an enemy invading the county would want to get their hands on.

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 02/19/2009 4:15pm

    Red Dawn specifically mentioned Federal Firearms Transaction Record 4473, which is the very form you fill out right now at the dealer to purchase or pick up a weapon. The Colonel in Red Dawn went to the sporting goods stores where the records were kept…..just like now.

    I would expect massive resistance now, but this is a patient crowd, and passion wanes for many with time. Not for me on this issue, but most aren’t as passionate about the 2nd as I am. Everyone’s on full alert now. We are motivated, scared, and vigilant. Once that fades, we will truely be in peril.

  • Anonymous 02/18/2009 4:20pm


  • Anonymous 02/18/2009 4:54pm

    Once again, the government is trying to fix the wrong thing. Those of us that own firearms legally are not causing the problem. There are 535 people running this country (435 n congress, 100 senators). Almost all of them are lawyers. Read the constitution—-I did—-I still can’t find the part where criminals get to plea bargin. Check out the Blair Holt story in the Chicago paper. BY LAW, a 16 year old can not own a firearm. He got it from a 15 year old. If this senator wants to fix the problem, do a judical reform. Quit spending money on making life in prison better than 75% of the people not imprisioned. NO CABLE TV. NO AIR CONDITIONING. Bring back the work details. These crimmanals are supposed to be paying a debt to society—NOT living the “High Life” on our tax dollars ($65,000 per prisoner per year).

    When I was young, my parents were responsible for my actions. If I broke or stole something, they had to pay. And so did I. Our kids have been taught not to respect anyone or anything. They have no responsibility. Society has made them this way. There are an awful lot of Baby Boomers out there that do not have any of the problems that the current kids have. But, we weren’t raised by Dr. Spock and his “Punishing a child will scar them forever” philosophy.

    Oppose this bill and force them to fix the problem. Lock up the gang members and make them do some hard labor for once in their life. Make sure they know if they get caought, they will pay—not sit around, swap stories, and learn new ways to rip off the honest, hard working AMERICANS.

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 02/19/2009 5:33am

    That’s the point. This senator doesn’t want to fix the problem. He just wants to restrict our freedoms until they no longer exist. One of these days they are going to go too far, and any real Americans will oppose them with force.

  • tarantula 02/18/2009 7:39pm

    Why is there no “slap Bobby Rush” button on here.

  • Dem02020 02/19/2009 7:42am

    What problem does it solve?
    None… it just creates fractures and divides among the American People, it makes them oppose one another angrily on this truly low priority national policy issue (what problem does it solve), and it drives apart Democrats also, when in fact they have common policy opinions on more important higher priority national policy issues, ones that not only pose problems but have solutions that we can work toward together… but alas too often, someone pulls this wedge issue out, and drives even Democrats one from another.
    What problem does it solve?
    None… it just creates fracture in the majority (not just the majority of Democrats, but of the American People all together), and weakens the majority in their work, by turning members against one another on things that just aren’t worth the political price.

  • Comm_reply
    fastreddie2 02/21/2009 4:33am

    The costs hidden costs related to this bill are astronomical. The required man power to police this is going to be ridiculous. The black market is going to profit greatly; giving the hardest criminals the wealth and power to fight back with ease. This will prevent the poor from harvesting wild game to support their families; in these rough times. The application for welfare will increase; therefore putting the costs on to the tax payer. This will drive retailers out of business, cut manufacturers numbers; due to decreased sales. All of these things cost “We the people” money. We can not afford reckless legislation like this. Why don’t we pass a bill; that makes those responsible for wasting tax payers money to fund their witch hunts; liable.

  • Anonymous 02/19/2009 9:25am

    The problem is that it does not solve any problem. It just creates more by making an honest citizen a criminal. There is enough gun laws on the books if the Feds would just start to enforce them in court. How many crimes how been charged under Federal laws for gun usage in crimes? Very few. Most of the crimes have been charged as state or local due to the Feds not getting involved. Put some teeth into and then use the laws on the books to prosecute the CRIMINALS not the people who don’t cause troble.

  • Anonymous 02/19/2009 3:52pm

    you have got to be kidding me…my god when will this crap end…they are out of control

    no way in hell

  • Anonymous 02/19/2009 6:12pm

    So much for the Land of the Free…

  • Anonymous 02/20/2009 3:17am

    Once again its backwards…..

    Criminals do not fall under " 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 or forfeit their guns to the government."

    They arent going to care about this, if criminals are intentionally planning on using a GUN to hurt or kill someone, does anyone really think they will take the time to do the above? Come on! This is only going to hurt the LAW ABIDING citizens of the country. Its been said before and I will say it again, criminals will have guns, law abiding citizens will not.

    Someone breaks into your house, your guns are locked up properly per the new law, that someone is packing, now what do you defend yourself with? Last I knew taking a knife to a gun fight wasnt real smart, but since your guns are locked up in a safe area of your home per the feds descretion, you are left with the knife….

    Sorry for venting, but I think its time more of us gun owners vent.

  • ronmon 02/20/2009 3:56am

    Help defeat HR45. Having owned guns for over 50 years, I have never used them against anyone (nor plan to) but would if forced within the confines of my own property with justification such as protecting my family from bodily harm. If I cannot protect my family and property by myself then I know the Police can’t be there fast enough to keep home intruders at bay. A lot can happen in the 5-15 mins for the police requires to respond. I am pretty sure I could stop a intruder long enough for the police to arrive if I had a gun. I am too old to use other means to protect myself such as a Bat or knife. I think this Bill HR 45 will just increase the black-market for guns and make the ones we have more valuable. It’s kind of like the Drug Market… they are against the law and the market is very profitable for them. This bill will not stop crime…. criminals will have guns. you don’t have to shoot intruders and trouble makers to in order to make them think twice before committing an act of aggression. Just show them your armed too. HR 45 is not taking the nation the right direction basically because we don’t trust the government to stop there. Read up on what happened in Britain… they don’t have firearms and crime has increased and the people are outraged and defenseless

  • ttharp 02/20/2009 9:17am

    The following excerpt from the Bill directly contradicts the Second Amendment:

    Section 922 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

    ‘(aa) Firearm Licensing Requirement-

    ‘(1) IN GENERAL- It shall be unlawful for any person other than a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector to possess a qualifying firearm on or after the applicable date, unless that person has been issued a firearm license—

    Tony in Texas

  • Anonymous 02/20/2009 10:33am


  • CowboyRick 02/20/2009 5:23pm

    This sounds like a definite Constitutional infringement of the Right to Keep and Bare arms, Blair Holt should be tried for Treasonous acts along with reasonable “Search and Seizure” provisions. This Man is a Criminal-must be from Illinois!

  • CowboyRick 02/21/2009 1:57am

    So I found out that it wasn’t Blair Holt but Rep RUSH from Illinois that introduced this bill. Representative RUSH should be held in CONTEMPT.

  • Comm_reply
    fastreddie2 02/21/2009 4:06am

    I believe we have the power to over turn this pointless gun law. Can you imagine the billions that would be spent to enforce this sensless, unprovoked law? I also believe that the individual responsible for this publicly unsupported bill; should be held responsible for all of the costs; for valuable time wasted.Why don’t we start holding these renegade congressman, senators and representatives fiscally responsible for their derreliction of duty? I believe any congressman whom speaks on his/Her own interest should be removed from the seat in which they set. An elected official is a representative of our people; not a leader of the people, When will they realize this and give control back to us? I believe our president clearly stated that he had no interest in our guns; why are we talking about a bill; that borderlines communism?

  • Comm_reply
    Anonymous 02/21/2009 2:38pm

    We have given little minded people big powers in the senate and congress
    the only legal way is to vote them out or maybe more of us should visit these twits at their(actually our offices) and confront them personally upfront and close…remind them that they represent us not the other way around..

  • buzzard072 02/21/2009 4:10am

    This scares the hell out of me! Don’t they have more important things to do, like getting our economy going? How do we protect our families and our country from criminals and terrorists?
    What’s next?

  • Spam Comment

  • denawilly 02/23/2009 6:53am

    It seems so strange to me that when the people of this nation have expressed their views on gun control over and over with their votes so many times that we do not want gun control, that there are still people, who are in the minority, that want to jam it down our throats. Pay attention Congress, we do not want gun control nor will we accept it.

  • theapguy 02/23/2009 7:50am

    I support the second amendment and a citizen’s right to bear arms for their own self-defense (and for other sporting purposes). This is particularly important in rural areas where access to law enforcement is few and far between. HOWEVER, requiring citizens to register their guns is not unconstitutional, nor will it make us less safe. On the contrary, it will make use more safe and will prevent guns from getting into the wrong hands. This is common sense people; the better a product is regulated, the safer it is for the consumer and those affected by the purchase. Take New York City for example, which now has one of the lowest handgun-related crime rates in the country and (not coincidentally) maintains one of the strictest gun regulation systems in the country.

    The problem facing this country in terms of firearms rights is not the perceived attempt by our government to regulate guns into illegality, it’s the paranoia and lack of common sense of SOME gun owners and advocates who think that our government is out to take all our firearms away from us in some kind of fantastical doomsday big brother scenario.

    The government has in recent years been lax on the regulation of the auto industry, the real estate industry, and the financial industry, and look where that de-regulation effort has gotten us? A subprime mortgage meltdown, the hijacking of Wall Street by the mega banks that eroded the entire economy, and giant SUVs that get terrible gas mileage and damage the environment.

    A re-regulation of the firearms industry is absolutely both in our interest and in the interest of our communities.

  • fastreddie2 02/23/2009 10:34am

    Hello theapguy,

    At no point in this response did you demonstrate credible research to back your claim. I found a few web sites that showed crime rates for Newyork; but none categorized a crime into a (hand gun crime.) I believe you fail to realize; gun crimes are committed by those whom disregard laws in the first place. When a governing body places these restrictions on law abiding citizens; only the criminals will benefit. The black market will become a flourishing way of life for the people whom caused this injustice in the first place. As for the government not governing our mortgage industry; I believe it was Bill Clinton whom made it easy for every person to purchase a house; whether it was affordable or not. I know people that were roped into these low interest HUD loans. They were legalized crime in my opinion. If that is the type of governing you choose; please move. I find it saddening that people like you can support a soldier being killed at the hand of our enemies; so you can live the good life; yet you have a problem with that same individual owning a gun to hunt with!

  • fastreddie2 02/23/2009 10:43am

    Im back to say that I did more research on theapguy’s claim that Newyork’s gun laws have lowered crime. I found one article that states the crime rate jumped 77% in 2008; 11% of this was gun crimes. This is per the NYPD’s figures. It sounds like the gun control laws are working great. Perhaps you neeed to leave your house; and take a look at the real world.

  • mosander 02/23/2009 1:13pm

    Well, Australia banned guns and crime is now escalating one year later. Imagine the lawmakers there just don’t understand it. With the ecomony sinking, crime will rise and old women need to be able to protect themselves. Check this out.
    Australian Gun Law Update
    Here’s a thought to warm some of your hearts . . ..
    From: Ed Chenel, A police officer in Australia

    Hi Yanks, I thought you all would like to see the now available data from Down Under. It has now been one year (12 months) since gun owners in Australia were forced by a new law to surrender 640,381 personal firearms to be destroyed by our own government, a program costing Australia taxpayers more than $500 million dollars. The first year results are now available: Australia-wide, homicides are up 6.2 percent; Australia-wide, assaults are up 9.6 percent; Australia-wide, armed robberies are up 44 percent (yes, 44 percent); In the state of Victoria alone, homicides with firearms are now up 300 percent as compared with the last one year period when private ownership of a firearm was legal. (NB: the law-abiding citizens did turn in their personal firearms, the criminal element did not and thus criminals in Australia still possess their guns.) While data for the 25 years preceding the confiscation of privately owned guns showed a steady decrease in armed robbery with firearms, this has changed drastically upward in the past 12 months as criminals now are assured their victims will be unarmed. There has also been a dramatic increase in break-ins and assaults of the elderly, while the resident is at home. Australian politicians are at a loss to explain how public safety has decreased, after such monumental effort and expense was expended in ‘successfully ridding Australian society of guns.’ This story of well intentioned government intervention in the rights of lawful individuals to own and possess firearms won’t be seen in the mainstream US media or on the American evening news. Senator Obama who advocates a similar confiscation in the US will not be reporting any of this to you. But, the Australian experience speaks for itself. Guns in the hands of honest citizens save lives and property and, yes, gun-control laws affect only the law-abiding citizens. Americans may want to take note before it’s too late! FORWARD TO EVERYONE ON YOUR EMAIL LIST. DON’T BE A MEMBER OF THE SILENT MAJORITY. BE A PARTICIPANT IN THE VOCAL MINORITY WHO DOESN’T WANT TO SEE WHAT HAPPENED IN AUSTRALIA HAPPEN IN THE US !
  • pdorsett 02/23/2009 1:44pm

    Our forefathers saw this coming when they wrote the Constitution! 2nd Amendment " A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. " This amendment was adopted so that Congress could not disarm a state militia.. Right to Bear Arms!!! Senators are you listening to the people. The Bill of Rights is to protect individuals from unjust acts of the government. Unjust invasion of privacy of personal property covered under 14th amendment is what I think. Shame on you bunch AGAIN!!

  • Anonymous 02/23/2009 4:27pm

    Who the hell do these twits think they are, not just with the attempt to violate our second amendment rights but all of the rest. They can try and pass any law they want. I will NEVER give up my guns, especially to a bunch of leftist bastards like these. Take our guns and they control us. The arrogance is galling. As a police officer, I would refuse to enforce such a law.

    People better start banding together now and get mobilized to stop these fascist jerks before it is too late.

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