Two federal lawmakers from Illinois introduced legislation last week aimed at ratcheting up federal mandates for gun dealers.
Known as the “The SECURE (Safety Enhancements for Communities Using Reasonable and Effective) Firearm Storage Act,” the bill is purportedly designed to prevent “smash and grab” gun store burglaries by implementing the following:
- Require FFLs, when their premises are closed, to secure all firearms in their inventory either by fastening them to an anchored steel rod or storing them in a locked safe or gun cabinet;
- Require FFLs to store all paper records of firearms transactions in a secure location so the records can be preserved in case they are needed for crime gun tracing investigations;
- Authorize the Attorney General to prescribe regulations with additional security requirements relating to alarm and security cameras, site hardening on FFL premises, and security of electronic records;
- Provide that an FFL that fails to follow these security requirements would face a civil penalty for the first violation; possible FFL license suspension for the second violation; and possible license revocation upon a third violation; and
- Add a new section to the FFL application for applicants to describe how they will comply with these security requirements, and direct the Attorney General to ensure that an applicant’s plan will be complaint before approving a license application.
Sponsors of the bill, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Representative Brad Schneider (D-IL-10) spoke about its importance for their home state of Illinois.
“Illinois is awash in guns that come from other states with weaker gun safety laws. Our bill would help prevent ‘smash and grab’ burglaries which supply criminals with weapons they use to carry out acts of violence in our streets. This common sense measure will help stem the flow of guns into Illinois and prevent bloodshed in our neighborhoods,” Durbin said.
“Almost 60,000 guns have been stolen since 2012. It doesn’t have to be this way. It simply requires gun dealers to take the responsible step of securing their inventory. The commonsense, practical reforms in the SECURE Firearm Storage Act ensure gun dealers are properly safeguarding their inventory so fewer of these weapons can be easily stolen and later used in violent crimes,” said Schneider.
The SECURE Firearm Storage Act has more than a dozen sponsors so far in Congress and is backed by Brady, Everytown for Gun Safety, Giffords and the Center for American Progress.
Giving the U.S. Attorney General carte blanche to determine the safety norms of mom-and-pop gun stores is a recipe for disaster. All an anti-gun A.G. would have to do to keep gun stores from opening up or staying in business is simply supply them with a never-ending list of cost-prohibitive security upgrades.
Eventually, an FFL would be faced with a decision, either flout the A.G.’s mandates and risk prosecution or close down for good. This is exactly the predicament Durbin and Schneider want to put America’s firearm dealers in, as it keeps them under the thumb of big government.
The bill is now before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. Sen. Durbin happens to be the chair of that committee. Chances are this won’t be the last we’ve heard of the SECURE Firearm Storage Act. Stay tuned for updates.