Legislation to Protect Gun Owners' Rights, Reform Oversight of Federally Licensed Firearms Dealers Introduced in Congress

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Congressman Jason Altmire (PA-04) has joined with U.S. Congressman Steve King (IA-05) to introduce legislation that will clarify regulations and remove unnecessary restrictions on federally licensed firearms dealers and importers in the United States. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE) Reform Act would modernize and improve the BATFE by amending and clarifying its policies.

"As part of my ongoing efforts to safeguard Americans' Second Amendment rights, I want to make sure that federally licensed firearms dealers are not subject to poorly formulated and unnecessary regulations," Congressman Altmire said. "The legislation that I have introduced will bring common-sense reform to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives so that it can do a better job of punishing lawbreakers and keeping guns out of the hands of criminals without placing undue restrictions on local businesses."

The BATFE Reform Act would help to ensure that the regulations governing individuals and companies that hold a federal firearms license are clear and fair. For example, it would create a new system of penalties for federal firearms license holders who commit minor violations. This would prevent the BATFE from revoking federal firearms licenses for minor technical violations, such as improperly using abbreviations or filing records in the wrong order. Revocation of a license would still be an option for the BATFE to punish a willful violation of the law.

"This comprehensive reform bill will help to modernize and improve the BATFE by compelling it to focus its resources on targeting those who willfully violate the law and protecting the rights of law-abiding gun owners and retailers," Chris W. Cox, the Executive Director of NRA Institute for Legislative Action, said. "This legislation will ensure that law-abiding gun owners will not unknowingly wind up in a federal gun registration database. It will also create a fair system under which firearms dealers with minor paperwork errors are no longer threatened with the loss of their livelihoods. The NRA would like to thank Congressman Altmire for his leadership on this pro-law enforcement bill."

The BATFE Reform Act would also help small businesses that sell firearms by providing a federal firearms license holder with time to liquidate their inventory if they are going out of business; allowing a grace period for people taking over an existing firearms business in which they can correct pre-existing record-keeping problems; and reforming the license application procedures. This legislation would also permanently ban the creation of a centralized electronic index of dealers' records to protect gun owners' privacy. Congress has included language in its annual appropriations bills banning the creation of such an index for more than a decade.

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