Rep. Steve Scalise Introduces Bill to Relax Restrictions on Interstate Firearm Sales

Rep. Steve Scalise
Rep. Steve Scalise
NRA - Institute for Legislative Action
NRA – Institute for Legislative Action

Fairfax, VA -(AmmoLand.com)- Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) has introduced a bill to modernize certain aspects of interstate firearms commerce.

The Firearms Interstate Commerce Reform Act, H.R. 2246, would yield increased convenience and choice for consumers, while continuing to allow states to set their own policy regarding transfer and possession of firearms within their borders.

In 1968, when the federal Gun Control Act (GCA) was enacted, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) and today’s sophisticated computer technology did not exist, and what background checks were run on gun sales occurred at the state or local level. Recognizing that state approaches to gun laws varied, Congress enacted a nationwide system of licensing for those engaged in the business of firearm commerce and generally prohibited licensed dealers from selling guns to out of state residents or shipping guns directly to unlicensed buyers.

The 1968 law contained limited exceptions for interstate sale of rifles or shotguns. Specifically, the buyer`s state had to have a law allowing such transactions. Second, the transaction had to comply with the state law in both the buyer`s and seller`s states. Third, the dealer had to notify the chief law enforcement officer in the buyer`s state, and wait for evidence that the officer had received the notification. Finally, the dealer had to wait seven days after receiving the notice before completing the transfer. These requirements were intended to keep buyers from leaving their home states to evade whatever sort of background check might be required under state law.

In the 1980s, the Congress revisited these restrictions during the debate over the Firearms Owners` Protection Act (FOPA). As the Senate Judiciary Committee`s report on FOPA put it, the 1968 interstate sales provisions were “so cumbersome that they [were] rarely used.” When the Congress passed FOPA in 1986, it did away with the state authorization, notification and waiting period requirements. Federal law now allows dealers to make interstate rifle and shotgun sales, as long as: (a) the buyer meets in person with the dealer, and (b) the transaction complies with the laws of both the buyer`s and the seller`s states.

Since 1998, however, all people buying firearms from licensed dealers anywhere in the U.S. have been subject to computerized background checks under the FBI`s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), either by the dealer contacting NICS (directly or through a state “point of contact” agency) or by the buyer presenting a state firearms permit issued after a NICS check. NICS, moreover, is a national system that collects records from every state and makes those records available to every other state. Thus, even if a person leaves a state where some disabling conviction, commitment, or order was entered, any records reported to the databases encompassed by the NICS system will show up through a NICS check in any other state.

This means that even if a person buys a firearm from an FFL out of state, that FFL’s NICS check will also be able to screen for disqualifying records from the person’s home state. This makes a limitation on buying only from FFL’s in one’s own state unnecessary.

Under H.R. 2246, FFLs could sell both handguns and long guns to unlicensed residents from other states, but the transfer would still have to occur in a face-to-face transaction (in other words, no mail order sales to non-licensees), and it would still have to comply with the laws of the state of the buyer’s residence. Thus, a buyer could not go out of a state to buy a firearm banned in the buyer’s state of residence, and any prohibited person provisions, waiting periods, or other requirements specific to the buyer’s state of residence would still apply.

The bill would also allow FFLs to sell firearms at gun shows in other states, so long as they complied with the laws both of the state of transfer and of the buyer’s state of residence. All other rules governing retail sales by FFLs – including the paperwork, identification, and NICS requirements – would continue to apply.

Finally, the bill would recognize the realities that military members face in having to make frequent moves to duty stations throughout the U.S. and abroad. It would clarify that service members and their spouses are residents, for purposes of the GCA, of their state of legal residence, of the state in which the member’s permanent duty station is located, and of the state in which the member maintains a place of abode from which the member commutes each day to the permanent duty station. Civilian employees of federal agencies such as the State Department who are stationed overseas for long periods would also benefit, as the bill would effectively allow them to buy firearms in the U.S. during trips back home to their U.S. state of residence.

It’s high time Congress recognizes that today’s systems of interstate commerce and information sharing are far more advanced and well-developed than in the late 1960s, and federal regulation of firearms sales (products that are legal and constitutionally-protected in every state) should keep pace with these developments.

The NRA thanks Rep. Scalise for his leadership in this important effort.

About the NRA-ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the “lobbying” arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

For more information, please visit: www.nra.org. Be sure to follow the NRA on Facebook at NRA on Facebook and Twitter @NRA.

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    Michael PettitJACKDavid KurthPeteFrank Recent comment authors
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    Michael Pettit
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    Michael Pettit
    Michael Pettit
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    Michael Pettit

    I’m trying to start a grass roots movement regarding a number of current federal firearms laws that need to be eliminated from the books. I ask that everyone read this and approach it with an open mind and if you support this effort, contact your federal representative. There are basically two sets of firearms regulations currently in effect in the US, these being the Gun Control Act of 1934 and the National Firearms Act of 1968. Each of these “acts” were proposed and enacted by Congress and each has been amended numerous times by legislative action or direct intervention by… Read more »

    David Kurth
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    David Kurth

    This bill, to update an antiquated law, makes absolute sense to open minded people who are capable of exercising common sense. Unfortunately, because of that fact, it will doubtless fall prey to those in congress who “know better” of what’s in the best interests of the populis they are supposed to be serving, have forgotten the “presumption of innocence” our laws were based upon, assume the worst of society and will do everything in their power to kill this bill. Every American who values their freedom and believes the Government works at their bidding and direction rather than visa versa,… Read more »

    Pete
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    Pete

    Brady allows individual states to set their own terms for the purchase of handguns as long as those terms are at least as restrictive as Brady. MD is a state which has a convoluted procedure which was made more convoluted in 2013. This law sounds good, but I can’t imagine how anyone in any other state could apply it to a MD resident. It would benefit a MD licensee who wanted to sell at a show in another state. Part of the rub with this law would be the requirement that the licensee seller comply with the laws of the… Read more »

    Curtis
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    Curtis

    I see any thing that makes it easier for law abiding citizens to buy and sell guns and ammo a plus in my book. I had an ffl in the early 80s and have thought of getting it again so I could buy and sell again but avoided it because of all the gun restrictions. Might actually do it again now.

    Terry
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    Terry

    I am for anything making the lawful sale and purchase more convenient. I just wish the system set up to verify criminals are not buying firearms would be unforced. As a past FFL holder I have discovered when an applicant is denied, that is the end of the investigation,which is a felony.
    If the anti second amendment folks could get behind requiring the Feds to enforce just that existing law, I bet it would go along way in getting the real criminals off our streets and communities.

    Just my 2 cents.

    Loydd Fones
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    Loydd Fones

    This would really be great. I am an FFL and I and my wife would like to travel in retirement and do gun shows , and the way it is I can’t sell in another state but under these rules I may be able to ?

    Loydd Fones

    FFL 9-93-025-01-7G-04395

    Ed Owens
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    Ed Owens

    I am a strong supporter of this bill…I work out of state and ran into a problem recently trying to purchase lower receivers for builds while working in Montana. I could surrender my home license and establish local residence, but I am very proud to call myself a Texan! The BATF regulations work against honest gun owners, but isn’t that what the system wants to accomplish? I am glad that someone is working to fix it!

    Dogbreath
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    Dogbreath

    I can’t help but wonder, once we make interstate sales easier for us, and, in the process, drive the LGS out of business, if it wouldn’t be easier for the Feds to limit our ability to acquire firearms and ammo….

    AirborneSoldier
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    AirborneSoldier

    The commie left perverted the meaning of the interstate clause to RESTRICT trade. In fact, the commerce clause was inserted into the Constitution to prevent states from setting tariffs from one another, thus PROMOTING trade. The use of the commerce clause to justify the need for “licensed dealers” is un-American. ANY American should be able to dispose of his or her property in ANY manner they see fit. This bill is good, but does not go far enough.

    Alan Darby
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    Alan Darby

    Very sensible bill. Great job getting this on the agenda! I wish the bill would also address the public shipping firearms. This is still a tiresome business, with all the restrictions. UPS charges exorbitant amounts for “next day delivery service only” for handguns. Why can’t they go by Ground?

    Russell
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    Russell

    This is just another example of a Louisiana legislator in the pocket of the NRA. Okay we need Federal Gun legislation. Only Federal that applies to all States. Even the redneck South. It’s just to confusing. This would be for all of America. It’s apparent that States are not competent to regulate laws in their own States. Especially Southern States are in the pocket of the NRA. The NRA should be illegal because they are a private political organization. They are not a sports organization anymore, only political.

    Frank
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    Frank

    Excuse me, but your ignorance is absolutely astounding. The NRA is a group of activities. The political arm is the NRA/ILA. They are the watchdogs on federal, state and local legislation and alert their members to bills or policies that affect them. Much as the NAACP, NOW, CORE and numerous other similar groups do. The NRA also provides training to law enforcement officers, instructors in the shooting sports and safety training to schools. Firearms are a tool. Unfortunately it is a tool that is sometimes used by violent individuals. A hammer is a tool too and it can also be… Read more »

    JACK
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    JACK

    GOOD SENSEIBLE BILL, I CAN LEAVE INDIANA, DRIVE TEN MILES TO KENTUCKY AND BUY A LONG GUN BUT NOT A HAND GUN EVEN THO I HAVE A CARRY PERMIT.
    THE FEDS NEED TO DO ONE MORE THING AND THAT IS TO MAKE CARRY PERMITS JUST LIKE THE A
    DRIVERS LICENSE, GOOD IN EVERY STATE.

    Frank L Gallo
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    Frank L Gallo

    HR2246 is a great bill. I hope everyone gets behind it!