Below the Radar: The Trafficking Reduction And Criminal Enforcement Act

Second Amendment Activist Protest Activism Take Action
Second Amendment Activist Protest Activism Take Action

United States – -( One of the biggest red lines Second Amendment supporters have drawn is the registration of firearms – and anti-Second Amendment extremists have known that for a long time. So, they try to find ways to sneak registration – or at least the groundwork for registration – past those who defend Second Amendment rights. One such bill trying to do that is HR 4255, the Trafficking Reduction And Criminal Enforcement (TRACE) Act, introduced by Representative Mike Quigley (D-IL).

In a release, Quigley claims his legislation is intended to help reduce gun trafficking by “improving gun tracking data.” One of the provisions that is intended to do so is the requirement that the gun’s serial number be also placed in a hidden location inside the firearm’s receiver. This is similar to the practice of hiding a car’s VIN – the purpose being to combat auto theft by making efforts to alter or wipe out the VIN moot. The legislation also requires dealers to do physical checks of their inventory. It should be noted that stealing firearms and altering or eliminating serial numbers are already prohibited by 18 USC 922.

Now, it does make sense for those who exercise their Second Amendment rights to take measures to safeguard against theft, and if their firearms are stolen (which, sadly, happens) to also have measures that can ensure their return if recovered. That being said, often, those measures are best left up to the individual gun owners and firearms manufacturers. One-size fits all government mandates don’t work.

That being said, to those who don’t follow Second Amendment issues closely, those parts of the legislation seem reasonable. However, it is a very bad piece of legislation. Quigley’s bill has received the support of the Brady Campaign, Everytown, and the Violence Policy Center. Or, in other words, there are three very huge red flags about this bill for any knowledgeable Second Amendment supporter. That’s because Quigley’s legislation goes further than the hidden serial number and the physical inventory checks.

It also repeals the Tiahrt Amendment, which prohibits the retention of record from the National Instant Check System (NICS). Quigley’s legislation would permit the retention to take place for 180 days – roughly six months. Lots of mischief would take place. Quigley’s legislation would also require FFLs to report their inventories to the government. In other words, the government would be keeping a lot of data on aw-abiding Americans.

Why? It’s about carrying out the strategy Nelson “Pete” Shields revealed long ago: “The first problem is to slow down the increasing number of handguns being produced and sold in this country. The second is to get handguns registered. And the final problem is to make the possession of all handguns and all handgun ammunition – except for the military, policemen, licensed security guards, licensed sporting clubs, and licensed gun collectors – totally illegal.”

Today, of course, you can also add modern multi-purpose semiautomatic rifles and shotguns to the list of guns Shields wanted to ban. Expanding the retention of records and requiring FFLs to send inventory reports to the government is a “slice” towards “solving” the second “problem” Shields articulated. That alone explains why three anti-Second Amendment groups support it.

Of course, there are already very tough laws for misusing firearms. For instance, a convicted felon in possession of a stolen gun with an altered or obliterated serial number faces 25 years in prison according to the provisions of 18 USC 922 and 18 USC 924. And, as the NRA documented in 1999, even one small gun trafficking op can get someone a lot of jail time.

Second Amendment supporters should take the time to contact their Representative and Senators and politely urge them to oppose this legislation. When it comes to dealing with the misuse of firearms, registration is not the answer, and the failure to enforce laws on the books should not be rewarded by allowing the stage to be set for a registration system.

About Harold Hutchison

Writer Harold Hutchison has more than a dozen years of experience covering military affairs, international events, U.S. politics, and Second Amendment issues. Harold was consulting senior editor at Soldier of Fortune magazine and is the author of the novel Strike Group Reagan. He has also written for the Daily Caller, National Review, Patriot Post,, and other national websites.

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Why on earth should someone spend 25 years in jail for simply altering serial numbers? No one was raped, murdered, robbed, yet the sentence is longer than for rape, robbery or many murders!


Try reading everything, dont skim.

For instance, a convicted felon in possession of a stolen gun with an altered or obliterated serial number faces 25 years in prison according to the provisions of 18 USC 922 and 18 USC 924.


I did read it. Did you? A convicted felon, ie, one who served time for their crime and was released, and just because they had a gun that had been stolen and had no serial number… doesn’t mean the felon stole it, or they committed a crime. The only crime now is having possession of that gun, and they get 25 years!

Will Flatt

Good article, well written, and informative. The only part that falls flat is at the end where Harold directs the reader to go hat-in-hand to their district’s current tyrant and beg them to not tread on them yet again. Yes, oppose this, but if you think that begging mercy from the very tyrants that are depriving you of your rights under color of law is the answer, well then you’re a special kind of stupid. No, gun owners need to lay down the law. Tell them not to go there or else they will be arrested. But also make sure… Read more »

moe mensale

You just couldn’t stand it, could you? You pat Harold on the back for a good article and then slap him across the face for wimping out at the end. And yet you say the same thing he says – “oppose this.” When did politely explaining your opposition to some legislation become conflated with “begging mercy” from your Representative or Senator? Who do you think will get listened to more – the constituent who coherently explains his opposition or the one who threatens an arrest? Wanna guess who might actually get arrested? Get out of Mom’s basement more often. The… Read more »

Will Flatt

Shut up moe, you twit. One can praise on the one hand and criticize on the other. Harold needs to learn to write a fully laudatory article and not wimp out at the very end, which he’s done for a very long time. He needs to quit the hell out of telling readers to lick the boot as an answer to all the insults to our liberty. And you need to stop drinking the koolaid. In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a whole class of tyrants in the legislatures at the state and federal levels who dont GAF what people… Read more »


Harold’s first article under his name in weeks! And it was the best he has ever written!

No wishy washy “some say, but others believe”, or “gun owners must, 2nd amendment supporters need to…” all while holdin the NRA’s water.

Will Flatt

Yes Harold is writing a bit less frequently and what he loses in frequency he makes up for in quality. His only remaining error is in directing readers to crawl to their district’s current tyrant and plead for their rights to not be violated again. Better to put the tyrants on notice that they will be arrested if they move against our rights under color of law. Complaining doesn’t do squat, punishing acts of tyranny does.

Wild Bill

Good info, and not too pushy about telling us how to think.


@Wild Bill My guess is that he is trying to avoid the things that have gotten him a verbal/written lashing previously in an attempt to rebuild some reputation. He has to this day still never apologized or accepted responsibility for his actions defending Gun Control and infringements to the US Constitution. For that reason, I do not believe he has changed. Without that turning point from him, all we can expect is that he is biding his time until he reverts back to what he really believes in and that is telling all of us how we need to learn… Read more »

Will Flatt

Harold’s failure to apologize for his previous actions is why the petition remains at and is still available to be signed with the more than 60 readers who have shared this. If Harold publicly accepts responsibility and shows he has actually changed, then fine; but until then he needs to know he remains in a probationary status and is still subject to being asked to leave Ammoland.

moe mensale

You and that stupid little petition again. I can hardly wait until you get another 40 moronic sycophants to sign it. I’m sure the Ammoland editors are just waiting with bated breath for you to hand it to them.

Do you really think you have any say on whether any Ammoland writer gets put on “probationary status” or is subject to contract cancellation? If you do, then you’re really full of ……. arrogance.

Will Flatt

I’m sure Little Harold appreciates your pseudo-intellectual B-job. More than 60 people agree with me, and upvote what I have to say, and you have less than nothing. You’re the zero here, and your opinion is less than worthless. Thanks moe, it’s nice to be despised by the despicable.

moe mensale

Why do you think Harold or any Ammoland writer owes an apology to you or any of us here? Their articles are their opinions, not ours. You can love them, hate them or not give a shit. Speak to you directly? Publicly take responsibility? Maybe give him a second chance? That’s a lot of self-importance and superiority you’re projecting there. You’ve gotta be related to Will Flatt.

Will Flatt

I appreciate being despised by the despicable (that would be YOU) more than being admired by the admirable. Every time you blather, more people sign the petition at

By all means, keep pounding that keyboard, my little monkey moe!!


While my firm adherence to the 1st amendment prevents me from signing that petition, I do find your depiction of Moe to be refreshingly accurate. 🙂

Wild Bill

@Gentlemen, Looks just like my old clerk-typist! Types the same, too!


@moe mensale Considering you are one of the newer idiots here, I’ll give you an explanation even though I have seen enough of your posts to know who and what you are and understand that you are not looking nor wanting a factual explanation. Harold has been a Gun Control apologist here on ammoland for a very long time. He has repeatedly defended infringements against the Second Amendment as “Necessary”, spoken down to those of us fighting against those infringements, and publicly tried to blame us for the Left’s continual propaganda in an attempt to shame and ostracize us. That… Read more »


Apparently they are claiming that hiding the serial number would make return easier if it is recovered by authorities after theft or loss. However it is my understanding that few if any LEO make any effort at all to locate legal owners of “recovered” firearms, except possibly for prosecution. If they (LEO) are going to (at their discretion) steal or destroy our property rather than find us and return it – what is the point of having a seral number or reporting theft or loss? Seems to me that a better approach would be to require LEO to check database… Read more »

Deplorable Bill

Finnky; We had a local deputy out here who’s initials are M. R. who is/was famous for “holding on to stolen firearms”. He knowingly kept several stolen firearms of a friend of mine after they were recovered for nearly a decade. He was forced to return them when a sheriff from another county got wind of it. I have SEEN federal types steal firearms they have coveted from innocent people, even friends. You don’t want to get me started on corrupt judges, but I can name two of them. Trust? Respect? Honorable?

Arm up, carry on.


I once came home (I lived in a condo at the time) and my next-door neighbor informed me that 2 guys were arrested outside my condo while removing 2 large tool boxes from my car. His station wagon had also been broken into and he had gotten his stuff back while the police were still there and said I should call the county sheriff to retrieve my items (about a thousand bucks worth of tools). When I called I was informed that there was no reported theft at my address. My neighbor only got his stuff back because he had… Read more »


Our Founding Fathers would already have been finished shooting a second time.


Great article, Harold! Thank You! This IS important information!


Unfortunately, Mike Quigley IS my representative and Durbin and Duckworth are my Senators 🙁