Congressman Introduces Bill to Criminalize, Tax Private Transfers

Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA) introduced a bill Wednesday that would both criminalize and effectively (not officially) tax the private transfer of firearms between law-abiding citizens.

Known as the “Keeping Guns from Criminals Act,” the bill would require background checks on all private transfers and sales, including those made over the Internet and at gun shows.

“This is not a complicated issue: No one wants guns in the hands of dangerous criminals,” said Rep. Beyer in a statement. “Time and again Congress fails to make meaningful progress to prevent gun violence in the face of overwhelming national demand to do so.”

“The Keeping Guns from Criminals Act will ensure that only responsible gun owners are able to purchase a firearm,” he continued. “There is no reason for us to wait for another tragedy to make this commonsense idea a reality to protect our families.”

In addition to the universal background check component of the legislation, it also encourages law enforcement to make sellers prove that the purchase was either approved approved by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) or that the buyer was a concealed weapons permit holder.

“This common-sense bill encourages every gun seller–including unlicensed sellers doing business online or at gun shows–to do a Brady background check before selling a gun,” said Brian Malte, Senior National Policy Director for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence in Washington, D.C. ”

“The consequences of providing a gun to a felon, fugitive, domestic abuser, or drug addict are deadly, and this common-sense bill will hold unlicensed sellers responsible for putting a gun into dangerous hands without doing a Brady background check,” added Malte.

The consequences of the bill for law-abiding gun owners should be readily apparent. For starters, it is tantamount to taxing gun ownership in that in order to transfer a firearm to another law-abiding citizen, e.g. a neighbor, hunting buddy, in-law, one would be required to pay a fee to an FFL or gun shop dealer to run the NICS check. Gun shop dealers don’t do NICS checks for free. To put this in a different context, should one have to pay a fee to a third party before being allowed to exercise’s one’s right to free speech?

Secondly, the notion that a private seller should have to prove that the buyer passed a background check or had a valid CCW permit is an overreach and places an undue burden on the seller. What happens if the buyer presented a fake CCW permit during the transfer? Under this bill it appears that the seller could still be held criminally liable even though the buyer deceived him.

There is also the issue of temporary transfers and borrowed firearms. What happens if I borrow a gun from a buddy for turkey season. Should he have to prove to the law enforcement that I passed a background check or have a CCW before loaning me the gun?

At the end of the day what this amounts to is an attempt by the government to chill the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners. As it’s been said, begin to make something difficult and then you begin to make it impossible. The harder, the more time consuming, the more costly it is keep and bear arms, the less likely people are going to exercise this right. The less people care about something, the easier it is for the government to take it away. Food for thought, anyway.

{ 14 comments… add one }
  • Paul November 6, 2015, 11:37 am

    You say: “what this amounts to is an attempt by the government to chill the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners.” I see it as trying to chill the rights of “non law abiding” citizens.
    As long as we keep fighting against public safety issues, we will lose. In Minnesota, if I meet a stranger in the street an d hand him a weapon in exchange for cash, no names, that is legal. Are you saying that you think that is a good thing? How is that protecting a law abiding citizen? When I sell one of my firearms, I absolutely want it to be recorded that it is no longer mine, so if my buyer does something stupid, it doesn’t come back on me.

    • Perry June 2, 2017, 4:47 am

      You’re already protected from recourse if you sell a gun to someone who then commits a crime with that gun so what are you complaining about? Unless you have reason to believe the person is prohibited from owning a gun you are not responsible for what that person does with the gun and their actions can’t come back on you. If such a law was passed then you would abide by that law the same as other legal gun owners but criminals would not obey such a law therefore such a law only serves to burden legal gun owners and will not impact criminals. There are more than 300M privately owned guns in the US and if this law were passed it would only apply to new guns sold after the day the law took effect because every gun that’s already on the streets can be sold any number of times with no way for law enforcement to know. When one of those guns is traced back to its first buyer that person can simply say they sold the gun prior to this law taking effect and no one can prove otherwise. So I ask you, how much impact do you think such a law will have considering that more than 300M guns on the street today would be exempt from the law?

  • sergio June 30, 2015, 7:26 pm

    That is why a lot of people support Donald Trump and started boycott mscnbc advertisers. Cray. The advertisers will get into the political affairs and loose sales. Cray world.,,

  • Kalashnikov Dude June 29, 2015, 5:09 pm

    I refuse to acknowledge any laws enacted which do not meet the standards set forth in the highest law of our land. That simple. Shall Not Be Infringed. If a law new or old infringes on my right to keep and bear arms, it is unlawful. I’m tired of eating the crap that keeps getting shoveled my way here in AZ. The out of control federal government has become tyrannous in my fine state. They have put an outpost in my six times duly elected sheriffs office here in Maricopa County which effectively forces my sheriff to run his office by their rule on pain of criminal prosecution. I voted for this man, not Obama and his race baiting, riot loving, anti American administration. My vote counts and my civil rights count every bit as much as the illegal aliens who have been empowered and enabled to their many criminal pursuits in my state and local communities by the weight of the federal government. No more tyranny. Get out of my state, get out of my sheriffs office, and get the fuck off my lawn! This is a warning.

  • zeke June 29, 2015, 5:08 pm

    If this ever past, ( It will never) it would drive the price of guns up. Gun trading will go underground. And we will be less free.
    What makes America great is not guns, it’s the freedom to own a gun ( among other things) Say what you will about the price of freedom, but there is a price. The price is vigilance, not only against people who might want to hurt you, but governments who want to make you more reliant on the government so they have more control. To stay independent we must stay armed, and
    we must suffer the consequences of being armed, just as we accept the consequences of war.

  • Steve Z June 29, 2015, 1:37 pm

    Let’s see 88 X 365 = 32,120 people killed by guns a year.
    Seems that the FBI Crime Statistics Report has a much lower number for Murders, and the numbers are trending DOWN.
    Appears that, like many of his kind, no lie is too great if it is to support what you want. Shades of the Nationalist Socialist party of the 1930’s Germany.
    P.S. – It has been proven that Senator Dodd Sr. used his copy of the Nationalist Socialists 1930’s Gun Laws for the 1968 U.S.A. Gun law, word for word. Even the Army Sergeant that did the translation from German to English was identified through the FOI documents.

  • D Hicks June 29, 2015, 10:21 am

    Murder is a crime,it doesn’t matter what weapon is used. Law enforcement is there after the fact of a crime. When the criminals are in charge what does a normal person do ?

  • Joe June 29, 2015, 7:43 am

    DUHhhhh… The laws on the books already cover everything, only the bad guys don’t seem to be paying them any mind, and the important ones covering disturbed mental patients are not being addressed by the doctors or the law enforcement personal.
    When are these gun grabbing progressives going to figure that one out…

  • MagnumOpUS June 29, 2015, 6:04 am

    These politicians aren’t ignorant: they are diabolical and sociopathic. No act occurring at the level of high government is unintentional; but sometimes, the consequence is unintended … or unexpected!

    When it hits the fan, they will be hard to find because they know they’ll be sought out.

    Good will always prevail over evil. It is the way of the Lord!

  • Michael E. Hensley June 29, 2015, 4:13 am

    Kind of a Moot point here in Virginia as all sales and transfers done via FFL holders only list Handguns, Long guns, etc.
    So who is to say when this weapon was transferred.

    • Rick Fannin June 29, 2015, 9:04 pm

      What if I do not give my name when I sell? If both parties use their 5th amendment right, there is no evidence of a transfer. Even if the transfer is on video, without a confession there will be no proof without serial numbers on the video. This law will just prevent law enforcement from getting info from the seller as to who bought the gun that was used in a crime. Why make law abiding citizens protect criminals.

  • George June 26, 2015, 10:44 am

    Another ignorant politician. We already have a federal law that says all interstate transfers of guns must go to an FFL holder. Then my state has a law that requires a background check on all purchases. He should leave it alone and let the state manage their own affairs. He also misses one big glaring issue…criminals and psychos don’t abide by any laws. The church shooter knew what we was doing was illegal and he did it anyway, so THAT law did not stop him. How would adding another one achieve what the previous one could not?

  • Slim June 25, 2015, 8:13 pm

    Don’t look Tom Grisham another Democrat put new restrictions in place. When are you going to wake up Tom! Weekend reading assignment Zell Millers a party no more.

  • Jeff S June 25, 2015, 3:26 pm

    Time to stop taking my car to his dealership for service.

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