The final conference report on the combined Fiscal Year 2012
Agriculture, Commerce/Justice/Science (CJS) and
Transportation/Housing/Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations
bills-also known as the "Mini-Bus," was passed by both the U.S. House
and the U.S. Senate, and has been signed into law.
One of the most important ways that Congress has protected the Second
Amendment is through a number of general provisions included in
various appropriations bills. Many of these provisions have been
included in the bills for many years-some of the provisions go back
almost three decades. This conference report is no exception, as it
contains 12 provisions that strengthen the Second Amendment and
protect the American people.
Specifically, the conference report makes PERMANENT the following
-Firearms Database/National Gun Registry Prohibition. No funds may be
used to create, maintain or administer a database of firearms owners
or their firearms. This prohibition has been in place since Fiscal
Year 1979, and prevents the federal government from establishing a
national gun registry.
-Former Firearms Dealers Information Retrieval Prohibition. No funds
may be used to electronically retrieve personally identifying
information gathered by federal firearms licensees. The provision
prohibits the creation of a gun registry from dealers' records that
are required by law to be surrendered to the federal government when a
dealer goes out of business. This provision has been included since FY
-Information Gathering Prohibition/24-Hour Destruction of Records. A
prohibition on the use of funds to retain any information gathered as
a part of an approved instant background check for more than 24 hours.
This provision protects the privacy of law-abiding gun buyers by
prohibiting gun buyers' personal information about legal gun purchases
from being retained by government authorities for more than 24 hours
after a firearm background check. It has been included since FY 1999.
In addition, the conference report adds two NEW provisions designed to
bolster our gun rights and protect the Second Amendment from unelected
bureaucrats who would twist the law to facilitate their gun-control
-Prohibit Funding for "Gun Walking" Operations. No funds may be used
to knowingly transfer firearms to agents of drug cartels unless U.S.
law enforcement personnel control or monitor the firearms at all time.
This amendment is designed to prevent the Justice Department (or any
government entity) from spending taxpayer dollars on "gun walking"
programs like Operation Fast and Furious.
-Shotgun Importation Protections. Prohibits the Department of Justice
from requiring imported shotguns to meet a "sporting purposes" test
that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE)
has used to prohibit the importation of shotguns with one or more
features disliked by the Agency, such as adjustable stocks, extended
magazine tubes, etc.
Finally, the conference report RETAINS the following provisions:
-Curio and Relic Definition. A prohibition on the use of funds to
change the definition of a "curio or relic." This provision protects
the status of collectible firearms for future generations of firearms
-Physical Inventory Prohibition. Prohibition on a requirement to
allow a physical inventory of Federal Firearms Licensees. The Clinton
Administration proposed a rule in 2000 to require an annual inventory
by all licensees. While the Bush Administration eventually withdrew
the proposal, Congress has still passed this preventive provision
every year since FY 2007.
-Business Activity. A prohibition on the use of funds to deny a
Federal Firearms License (FFL) or renewal of an FFL on the basis of
low business activity. This provision prohibits BATFE from denying
federal firearms license applications or renewals based on a dealer's
low business volume alone.
-Firearms Trace Data Disclaimer. A requirement that any trace data
released must include a disclaimer stating such trace data cannot be
used to draw broad conclusion about firearms-related crime.
-Firearms Parts Export to Canada. A prohibition on the use of funds
to require an export license for small firearms parts valued at less
than $500 for export to Canada. This provision removed an
unnecessary and burdensome requirement on U.S. gun manufacturers that
was imposed under the Clinton Administration.
Importation of Curios and Relics. A prohibition on the use of funds
to arbitrarily deny importation of qualifying curio and relic
firearms. This provision ensures that collectible firearms that meet
all legal requirements for importation into the United States are not
prevented from import by executive branch fiat.
-Transfer of BATFE Authority. A prohibition on the use of funds to
transfer any duty or responsibility of the BATFE to any other agency
or department. This provision was written in response to a Clinton
Administration plan to transfer firearms enforcement to the FBI or
Secret Service. It also prohibits the Executive branch from skirting
the will of Congress by allowing another agency to implement policies
the BATFE is prohibited from implementing.