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House Dems launch new gun control bills criminalizing private sales and extending FBI holds to 30 days

A handgun and a gun safe. (Tech. Sgt. Thomas Dow/U.S. Air Force)
March 02, 2021

The National Rifle Association (NRA) and the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) warned that Democrats could move on gun control legislation in just days, and on March 1, Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2021 and the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021 were both introduced in the House of Representatives.

California Rep. Mike Thompson’s Bipartisan Background Checks Act would criminalize private gun sales, making even transactions between family members illegal. Instead, a gun-owner seeking to sell his firearm would first require government permission.

“It shall be unlawful for any person who is not a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer to transfer a firearm to any other person who is not so licensed, unless a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer has first taken possession of the firearm,” the proposed bill states.

Thompson tweeted that he was proud of the legislation Tuesday morning. “Proud to introduce [HR8], my Bipartisan Background Checks Act, a bill to expand background checks and save lives. We began our work to EndGunViolence either years ago after the tragedy at Sandy Hook and will not stop until we deliver for the American people,” he wrote.

Sponsored by South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn, the Enhanced Background Checks Act would allow the FBI to put a hold on transferring a firearm for up to 30 days, rather than the three days currently allowed by law.

The legislation was previously introduced during the last session of Congress, and NSSF Senior Vice President Lawrence Keane said the group would be as opposed to it now as it was then.

“This bill increases the burden on small business firearm retailer owners and flips the burden of proof on its head. This would make it incumbent upon the law-abiding citizen to prove his or her innocence to the government to exercise their Second Amendment right to purchase a firearm instead of the government being responsible for proving an individual is prohibited. This could potentially deny a law-abiding citizen their rights for up to a month, while they are saddled with the burden of proving their innocence. That’s un-American,” Keane said.

He continued, “Rather than placing further burdens on retailer and law-abiding gun owners, Congress should focus on adequately resourcing NICS. NSSF is the only organization that has successfully advocated for NICS to have the necessary resources to perform its mission in a timely manner.”

The National Rifle Association called the introduction of both bills “sneaky” in a tweet alerting Second Amendment advocates to the moves.

“Late last night, Democrats in Congress introduced two EXTREME GUN CONTROL BILLS pushed by Biden & Pelosi,” the NRA tweeted Tuesday morning, referencing both Thompson’s and Clyburn’s legislation.