Gun-rights group sues government over ban on interstate handgun purchases

Alan Gottlieb, president of the CCRKBA.  (Photo: NY Daily News)

Alan Gottlieb, president of the CCRKBA. (Photo: NY Daily News)

The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms announced a lawsuit on Tuesday targeting the federal government’s ban on interstate handgun purchases.

Defendants in the lawsuit include Attorney General Eric Holder and B. Todd Jones, the director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit, a Texan and two Washington, D.C. residents, argue that current law basically criminalizes the cross-state transfer of handguns.

“It is overreaching, if not downright silly, in today’s environment with the federal instant background check system to perpetuate a prohibition on interstate handgun purchases that has outlived its usefulness,” said CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb in a press release.

“If a law-abiding citizen can clear a background check and legally purchase a handgun in his own state, he would pass the same background check just across the border in another state,” he continued.

The main issue at stake is allowing dealers to sell handguns directly to purchasers from other states, something they’re allowed to do with rifles and shotguns but not with handguns.

“Federal law allows for interstate long gun sales,” explained Gottlieb, “as long as the dealer follows the law, so what’s the logic of the federal government banning interstate handgun sales? Some states allow for, or even welcome, interstate handgun sales, so what’s the federal government doing?”

Under current law, one can purchase a handgun from an out-of-state dealer. However, that dealer can’t give the firearm directly to the buyer nor ship the firearm directly to the buyer’s address. The dealer must send the gun to another dealer in the buyer’s home state, who will perform the background check on the prospective purchaser and complete the transfer.

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