Two Bills Trying to Backdoor the Gun Industry into Bankruptcy

Rep. Carolyn Mulroney (D-NY). (Photo: C-SPAN)

In the hearings for the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (H.R. 800), in March of 2005, a bipartisan group of lawmakers acknowledged that frivolous lawsuits against the firearms industry sought to hamper a national industry and prevent Americans from pursuing their Constitutionally-protected right to keep and bear arms.

As a result, the PLCAA was signed into law by President George W. Bush on October 26, 2005. Fast-forward seventeen years, and there is a concerted effort by anti-gun politicians to bankrupt the firearms business by other means.

Rep. Carolyn Mulroney (D-NY) is helping to lead this charge via two pieces of legislation, the Firearm Industry Crime and Trafficking Accountability Act (H.R. 8740) and the Firearm Industry Fairness Act (H.R. 8741). Instead of bankrupting the firearms industry through frivolous lawsuits, these bills would do so through legislatively-imposed costs and crippling taxes.

The Firearm Industry Crime and Trafficking Accountability Act

The first, H.R. 8740, conflates the actions of the lawful producers of firearms with those potentially unscrupulous federal firearm licensees (FFLs) who sell “firearms to distributors and retailers who, according to ATF data, can fail to comply with Federal firearms law.”

The act begins with the foregone conclusion that companies within the firearms industry are complicit with what the legislation explicitly acknowledges are the actions of third (and sometimes fourth) parties. H.R. 8740 would, therefore, force any entity manufacturing or importing firearms, to create and maintain a “monitoring database” concerning the “criminal diversion or potential misuse of their products.”

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Not only would the entire industry be forced to build and maintain a database to be used to enforce whatever prevailing gun control efforts are currently popular, but the legislation would also dictate to manufacturers which retailers and distributors they would be allowed to sell their products to.

It also provides criminal penalties for failing to “investigate or inquire as to the distribution practices” of distributors and retailers. However, H.R. 8740 doesn’t stop there – it would actually criminalize the transfer of a yet-to-be-defined quantity of firearms to a state or distribution area which might exceed “the lawful demand” in that area.

“H.R. 8740 would be a logistical nightmare,” said Jason East, CEO of Adams Arms. “This [proposed] law ignores the logistical steps that would be involved in its requirements – tracking products from manufacturer, to wholesaler, to retailer, all the way to the consumer, even for serialized items would place an undue burden on manufacturers.”

Adams Arms, from Brooksville, FL, “is an American firearms and firearms parts manufacturer, best known for their Lifetime Warranty and for producing the Piston Conversion kit for Direct Impingement AR15s” according to the company’s website.

The Firearm Industry Fairness Act

The second piece of legislation, the Firearm Industry Fairness Act (H.R. 8741) is more straightforward in its intent – the imposition of an additional 20 percent tax on total revenue for any manufacturer or importer of semi-automatic “assault weapons.”

“In an already-tight industry, where companies already have a more difficult time obtaining insurance for worker’s comp, or even property insurance simply for being ‘in the gun industry,’ the margins are too small to shoulder an additional 20% tax burden, and that would have to be passed on to consumers in increased costs,” East added while discussing the Firearm Industry Fairness Act. “That additional cost could even price everyday Americans out of access to their 2nd Amendment rights.”

Indeed, the firearms industry is already said to have paid $7.85 billion in business taxes, including property, income and sales-based levies in 2021, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) website.

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“The growth of firearm and ammunition manufacturing year-after-year shows that this industry continues to meet the American demand for lawful firearm ownership. This industry produces the highest quality firearms and ammunition, and has been proud to welcome over 5.4 million first-time gun buyers in 2021 alone,” said Joe Bartozzi, NSSF President and CEO.

“These new gun owners are increasingly representative of Americans from all walks of life, including more women and more minority communities that have decided to exercise their right to keep and bear arms and to safely enjoy the recreational shooting sports,” he continued.

Fundamentally, what gun control activists have failed to accomplish through “frivolous lawsuits,” Rep. Mulroney’s legislation would seek to do by law. The industry isn’t taking this proposed legislation lightly.

The Pro-2A Community Responds

“I’ve personally contacted my reps, at the state and federal level,” East said of his company’s efforts to combat the ongoing legislative efforts to hamper the firearms industry. “And we encourage all Americans who enjoy their rights to do the same, because the scary thing about (H.R. 8741) is that because it’s a modification of the tax code, it only requires a simple majority to pass – not the usual two-thirds that new laws require,” East added, referencing that since this bill would be a tax modification, it could bypass a normal vote through the process of reconciliation.

East added that he’s pleased to have seen a lot of pushback from the industry lately, coupled with successful legal challenges from pro-2nd Amendment organizations like the Firearm Policy Coalition and the Second Amendment Foundation.

“It’s refreshing to see Americans from all walks, some of who are first-time gun buyers, saying that their rights are important to them, and seeing that their votes don’t always follow party lines, but fall in line with what they believe is right,” East said.

“What I wonder, is ‘why us? Why the gun industry?'” East mused. “Because it’s clearly not about gun control, it’s people control. They haven’t been able to stop bad people from doing bad things with laws, so they’re now trying to use them to control people through the industry. And the easiest way to control people, is to control their right to defend themselves.”

While H.R. 8740 and H.R. 8741 appear to have only the slimmest chance at passing into law, with Republicans assuming control of the House this month, it’s important to note that the battle over gun control is never-ending. These bills, though apparently doomed, are simply the latest effort setting a “high tide” legislative mark in Congress.

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About the author: Brian Jones Strong 2A proponent, Army Veteran. I earned my writing chops as a military journalist, continuing on to complete my BA at UMD in Communication, before working on political campaigns, and working with firearm regulations. When I’m not bending someone’s ear about the encroachment on our individual rights, I can usually be found at the range, or in my shop pretending to be a hobbyist blacksmith.

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  • Hondo January 19, 2023, 10:51 am

    Democrats are soulless vile human beings, bent on destroying our country, F them.

  • krinkov545 January 6, 2023, 9:02 pm

    Good riddance and enjoy your damnation in everlasting flames you satanic freak!

  • gypsy January 6, 2023, 3:47 pm

    still no justice, our children are under attack, our votes do not count just fake ballots

  • jimmy j January 6, 2023, 3:18 pm

    When is enough enough, our Government will not stop until we are disarmed and kneel before them, We are smart enough to know that we do not have a gun issue we have a people issue and that is that, As we know when someone kills another with a knife, car, bat or anything else but a gun it is a bad person did it not what they used, At some point we the people or our milletary needs to take a stand and uphold the law of the land, GOD BLESS AMERICA.

  • Sigmandh January 6, 2023, 10:56 am

    Why do all Democratic women, that’s right I said women, look like witches? Case in point, Pelosi, Waters, etc. I heard there is a broom shortage.

    • krinkov545 January 6, 2023, 9:06 pm

      Because her daddy is the Devil and their hate of everything good destroys their dead hellbound soul.

  • Fal Phil January 6, 2023, 9:55 am

    A better law would be to tax legislators an additional 50% on their income for the rest of their lives if they propose laws that infringe on constitutional rights.

  • Freds Guns January 6, 2023, 9:20 am

    New York should embrace this concept by having all law enforcement pay a 20% tax on the purchases of their firearms.

  • Rachel Lucas January 3, 2023, 9:46 pm

    Excellent and important article. Thank you!

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