Saturday, November 19, 2011

Twelve Big Wins for Gun Owners

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.

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