United States – -(AmmoLand.com)- When it comes to our Second Amendment rights, the sad fact is that anti-Second Amendment extremists have a number of avenues to attack them. One of those that Second Amendment supporters have to keep a very watchful eye on are those that attack federal firearms licensees (FFLs), particularly the dealers.
In an ideal world, there wouldn’t be legal provisions requiring a license to deal firearms at either the federal, state or local level. It goes without saying, though, that we are not living in that ideal world. Those people who go through the process to get an FFL to become a dealer have chosen to make a living helping people exercise their Second Amendment rights. That said, your local gun store is a business, and it needs to be profitable while remaining within the provisions of 18 USC 922, 18 USC 923, and a host of state and local laws.
This is why the Keeping Gun Dealers Honest Act of 2021 is a serious threat to our rights.
Introduced in the House by James Langevin as HR 4271, and in the Senate by Ed Markey as S 2320, this is a bill intended to make life harder for FFLs in a number of ways.
The least bad part of this bill is the increase in the number of compliance inspections from one a year to three a year. This is a lot of red tape and hassle, and Markey and Langevin want to triple it for FFLs. But this bill gets worse.
For instance, current law states that an FFL can only be revoked after a felony conviction becomes final. After all, there are cases in which convictions get thrown out on appeal. Well, Markey and Langevin are changing that – immediately on conviction the FFL gets revoked, and there’s no provision for reinstatement.
Dealers would also be required to conduct a physical inventory if 10 “crime guns” are traced to them. The definition of “crime gun” is very vague. That vagueness also comes into play when they apply for a license. The Keeping Gun Dealers Honest Act of 2021 allows some bureaucrat to decide that a would-be FFL “is otherwise not suitable to be issued a license” – and the law leaves that provision very vague.
Current law requires willful violation of laws or regulations to trigger action. Markey and Langevin change that, empowering bureaucrats to go after dealers for honest mistakes. In other words, a dealer could face fines and jail time when he didn’t even intend to do anything wrong.
The sad thing is, there are current laws that can handle FFLs who go bad. They just need to be enforced. But Markey and Langevin aren’t interested in dealing with the FFLs who go bad. They want to create enough hassle and potential risk so that good FFLs, particularly the small businesses, decide to shut down.
The way things are right now, we need FFLs, particularly the local small businesses, to stay viable. That means we have to have their backs, especially when it comes to legislation. Second Amendment supporters need to contact their Representative and Senators and politely urge them to oppose both HR 4271 and S 2320. They also need to work to defeat anti-Second Amendment extremists like Markey and Langevin at the ballot box at the federal, state, and local levels as soon as possible.
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, Strategypage.com, and other national websites.