Representatives Ruben Gallego (D-AZ-7th), Eleanor Norton Holmes (D-DC), Robin Kelly (D-Ill-2nd), and Mike Quigley (D-Ill-5th) have introduced a bill designed to force licensed gun dealers to abide by a new set of requirements, some of which Congress has refused to pass.
Titled the “Good Neighbor Gun Dealer Act,” it is designed to expand Department of Justice control over Federal Firearms Licence holders (FFLs) by creating a whole new level of bureaucratic oversight. It is a combination of repetition and novelty, whereby preexisting laws are coupled with laws that have not even been passed under the guise a “voluntary code” which the Attorney General can use to launch new investigations into individual FFLs.
The system would work by creating certificates which are awarded to FFLs who play along. Those who do not receive a certificate may receive a knock on the door.
The Good Neighbor Gun Dealer Act would required FFLs to abstain “from selling a firearm to a straw purchaser, gun trafficker, criminal, or other individual prohibited by law from purchasing a firearm.” There are already laws on the books prohibiting FFLs from doing these things. The act would also require FFLs to “cooperate fully with all law enforcement investigations, and notify law enforcement of suspected straw purchasers of firearms.” Again, this something they are already under obligation to do.
Then bill mandates that FFLs “maintain a well-trained, responsible, law-abiding workforce,” which is something FFLs do intuitively as they are already under federal oversight. The fact that maintaining such a workforce is even listed as a requirement hints that the Good Neighbor Gun Dealer Act is designed to broaden the reasons for which the AG could begin an investigation.
Lastly, the Good Neighbor Gun Dealer Act would require FFLs to go beyond federal law by changing the way background checks are conducted. By law, when someone comes in to purchase a gun they go through a background check and receive and instant green light, an instant red light, or a delay, The green light means that can purchase immediately, the red light means they are barred from purchasing for criminal or mental reasons, and the delay means the FBI gets three more business days to do a deeper background check. If the FBI has not found incriminating evidence on the would-be purchaser at the end of three business days, the FFL can legally hand the gun over to the buyer. This is the law.
Reps. Gallego, Holmes, Kelly, and Quigley want the three day extended background check stretched indefinitely. They want FFLs to promise they will not hand a gun over to a would-be purchaser even if the extended background checks last for weeks. They justify this push by claiming alleged gunman Dylann Roof got his gun because of the rule allowing a purchase under delay, when in reality the FBI says he got it because of a clerical error on the part of a reviewer in the FBI background check system.
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