Measure updates sections of federal firearms licensees

A Democratic group of legislators is touting legislation that would update sections in the U.S. Code directed at federal firearms licensees (FFLs) that are not updated in 30 years.

U.S. Reps. Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) and Robin L. Kelly (D-IL) joined U.S. Reps. David Cicilline (D-RI), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), and Joe Morelle (D-NY) in detailing the Federal Firearm Licensee Act.

Bill proponents maintain present rules insulate firearms dealers who engage in unlawful practices from enforcement action and frustrate law enforcement efforts to curb community gun trafficking and violence.

“Illegally sold and acquired guns account for more than 50 percent of the firearms used to commit crimes in Chicago,” Kelly said. “This is unacceptable. A lot has changed in the last 30 years, including how many people acquire guns. It is long past time to bring our gun trafficking laws into the 21st century to ensure that our government can adequately respond to the epidemic of gun violence and keep our communities safe.”

Kelly said the bill ensures FFLs do not unwittingly provide safe harbor to those illegally trafficking guns into neighborhoods.

Authorities noted bill provisions include requiring physical security measures to prevent firearm theft; clarifying the standards by which licensed dealers and employees are assessed for purposes of license issuance and renewal; and repealing Appropriations Riders that have impeded enforcement of existing law by barring the ATF from using funds to require licensed dealers to conduct physical firearm inventories and prohibiting the public disclosure of firearms trace data.

“Our outdated federal firearm licensing laws aren’t keeping pace with the proliferation of rogue firearms dealers or advancements in new technology,” Panetta said. “This bill is a comprehensive, common-sense way to prevent guns from getting into the wrong hands and keep Americans safe.”

Douglas Clark

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