Senate Judiciary Committee to hold hearings today on Firearms Regulation UPDATE! This is a good thing!
Apparently they did in fact read it closer than I thought, closer than I read the hearing notice in fact because the notice is for NEXT week, not this week. Mea Culpa.
Anyway, these hearings are in response to a Senate bill S.941 (and it's house companion HR. 2296) which aims to reform the BATFE.
Some of the provisions in the bill:
· Clarify the standard for “willful” violations—allowing penalties for intentional, purposeful violations of the law, but not for simple paperwork mistakes.
· Improve the process for imposing penalties, notably by allowing FFLs to appeal BATFE penalties to a neutral administrative law judge, rather than to an employee of BATFE itself.
· Allow a licensee a period of time to liquidate inventory when he goes out of business. During this period, all firearms sold would be subject to a background check by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
· Allow a grace period for people taking over an existing firearms business to correct problems in the business’s records—so if a person inherited a family gun store (for example), the new owner couldn’t be punished for the previous owner’s recordkeeping violations.
· Reform the procedures for consideration of federal firearms license applications. Under S. 941, denial of an application would require notification to the applicant, complete with reasons for the denial. Additionally, an applicant would be allowed to provide supplemental information and to have a hearing on the application.
· Require BATFE to establish clear investigative guidelines.
· Clarify the licensing requirement for gunsmiths, distinguishing between repair and other gunsmith work and manufacture of a firearm. This would stop BATFE from arguing that minor gunsmithing or refinishing activities require a manufacturers’ license.
· Eliminate a provision of the Youth Handgun Safety Act that requires those under 18 to have written permission to use a handgun for lawful purposes (such as competitive shooting or safety training)—even when the parent or guardian is present.
· Permanently ban creation of a centralized electronic index of out of business dealers’ records—a threat to gun owners’ privacy that Congress has barred through appropriations riders for more than a decade.
· Allow importation and transfer of new machine guns by firearm and ammunition manufacturers for use in developing or testing firearms and ammunition, and training customers. In particular, ammunition manufacturers fulfilling government contracts need to ensure that their ammunition works reliably. S. 941 and H.R. 2296 would also provide for the transfer and possession of new machine guns by professional film and theatrical organizations.
· Repeal the Brady Act’s “interim” waiting period provisions, which expired in 1998.
· Give BATFE sole responsibility for receiving reports of multiple handgun sales. (Currently, dealers also have to report multiple sales to state or local agencies, a requirement that has shown little or no law enforcement value.) State and local agencies could receive these reports upon request to BATFE, but would have to comply strictly with current requirements to destroy these records after 20 days, unless the person buying the guns turns out to be prohibited from receiving firearms.
· Restore a policy that allowed importation of barrels, frames and receivers for non-importable firearms, when they can be used as repair or replacement parts.You can read more about these bills here.
H/T The Virginia Citizen's Defense League.