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Oct 12 2011

Hatch, Begich Support Second Amendment Rights

Introduce Firearms Interstate Commerce Reform Act

WASHINGTON - Recognizing the need to revamp outdated and restrictive gun laws, U.S Senators Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) have introduced the Firearms Interstate Commerce Reform Act. The bill allows for the interstate sale of firearms and removes several antiquated and unnecessary restrictions imposed on interstate firearms transactions.

“Utahns and Americans everywhere have a right to bear arms, and this legislation ensures that onerous and outdated restrictions on everyone’s Second Amendment rights are no longer in place,” Sen. Hatch said. “By removing these restrictions, we can ensure that the constitutional freedoms we seek to protect remain intact.”

“Current laws restricting interstate commerce of firearms not only lag behind common sense and new technology, they are unfair and burdensome,” Sen. Begich said. “This legislation cleans up decades-old laws that are unnecessarily restricting the rights of Alaskans and other Americans to purchase and sell firearms.”

“The National Instant Criminal Background Check System has made many restrictions enacted in 1968 obsolete.  It’s time to bring the law into the 21 st century. This important legislation will modernize and streamline interstate firearms transactions. The NRA and gun owners across the nation thank Senators Hatch and Begich for their leadership on this issue,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action.

The Firearms Interstate Commerce Reform Act removes a number of restrictions from the Gun Control Act of 1968, which only allowed licensed dealers to sell rifles and shot guns to residents of a different state under a lengthy series of conditions. The restrictions were supposed to prevent buyers from evading “background checks” available at the time, which were mainly carried out through state laws requiring local police chiefs to issue firearms permits.

However, since 1998, all people buying firearms from dealers in the U.S. have been subject to computerized background checks under the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System; a system much more sophisticated and advanced than what was available in 1968. As a result, the complex system of state laws currently restricting the interstate commerce of firearms is outdated. In some cases, current law requires citizens to jump through so many hoops, it hinders or even prevents these sales.

The new law would allow:

  • Individuals to buy handguns, as well as rifles or shotguns, from licensed dealers in another state, subject to the background check requirement. The buyer and dealer would still have to meet in person and comply with the laws of both states;
  • Dealers to engage in their business at gun shows in other states, but would have to comply with the laws in the state where the gun show takes place;
  • The bill would reduce theft and loss of firearms during shipment between dealers by getting rid of a provision that says dealers may not transfer firearms to one another face to face, away from their business premises. Currently, dealers who agree on a sale are forced to return to their businesses and ship firearms to one another which involves some risk of theft or loss. The new law would allow an in-person exchange.

Similar legislation has been introduced in the House.

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