Jan 20 2017

National Concealed Carry, Closing the “Gun Show Loophole”

On Tuesday, a group of 59 GOP representatives introduced a proposal for national concealed carry reciprocity. The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, entered as HR 38, is sponsored by Representative Richard Hudson of North Carolina and would treat concealed carry permits similar to driver’s licenses, in that anyone with a permit and a photo ID could carry in any state so long as they are not prohibited under federal law. When carrying in a non-resident state, the individual would still have the observe that state’s laws while visiting.

A similar proposal in the last Congress gained 121 co-sponsors, but did not advance as it had faced near-certain rejection from the Obama administration. Hudson is part of Trump’s Second Amendment Coalition and hopes that the proposal will gain more ground under Trump. Democrats have already threatened to block the proposal in the Senate by filibuster.

Texas legislators are moving to “close the gun show loophole” with the new bill HB 259. The bill would create a new set of offenses regarding the sale of guns at gun shows and would also authorize a fee. The bill would require background checks on private gun sales, but ONLY at gun shows – not anywhere else. In the bill, a gun show is defined as any place other than a permanent retail store at which three or more individuals have gathered to display firearms or firearm components to the public, and if a fee is charged either to display those goods or for admission.

It is currently legal in Texas to conduct a private sale without a background check, so long as the seller reasonably believes that the buyer is not a federally prohibited person – but the new bill would make that illegal, unless the buyer is a law enforcement officer or has a concealed carry permit.

If passed, anyone selling a gun at a gun show would be required to conduct a background check and keep a record of the sale – failure to do so would be a Class A misdemeanor. In Texas, class A misdemeanors are punishable by up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $4k, or both. It is the same class of crime as pimping, violation of a restraining order, and second offense DUI. If the organizer or promoter of a gun show is found to have “permitted” such a sale or is found to have not provided a person to conduct those background checks, they would be subject to the same charges.

The current version of the law would also require private sellers to conduct a background check on a licensed dealer before selling them the firearm.
Starting January 16th, the ATF will require all FFLs to use a new Form 4473. The new form features a bunch of new warnings and explanations, including the fact that the form needs to be completed on the premise of a licensed dealer, exclamation point. However, the new form’s most prominent feature is a reminder that even if state law has legalized marijuana, it is still illegal under federal law and smokers are ineligible to purchase firearms.
Despite being required no later than January 16th, the new form is not yet available for dealers.

Representative Thomas Massie has relaunched the Congressional Second Amendment Caucus and announced on Thursday the re-introduction of an old Ron Paul bill to repeal gun-free zones at schools. HR 34, also called the Safe Students Act, would repeal the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990. The bill has already received support from the NRA, Gun Owners of America, and the National Association for Gun Rights.

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