U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler introduced legislation this week that would further protect the privacy of gun owners.
Called the Gun Owner Privacy Act (GOPA), the bill would bolster existing protections that ban the federal government from collecting information on gun owners during an FBI background check.
Under current law, the fed cannot create a database of gun owners who pass a NICS check. The GOPA goes further by explicitly blocking funds for the purpose of data collection while also giving any gun purchaser who feels as though they’ve been wrongly tracked by a government agency an avenue to sue in federal court for damages.
You can see the entire text of the bill embedded below.
Along with the GOPA, the Georgia Republican introduced a resolution that calls attention to states with may-issue concealed carry laws that require applicants to provide to their local sheriff or magistrate a “good cause” (or reason) as to why they need to exercise a Constitutional right.
In many may-issue jurisdictions, the applicant may also need to provide certain documentation (e.g. police report showing one was a victim of a crime, a restraining order against a violent stalker) to substantiate his or her reason as to why he or she needs to bear arms outside the home. A simple, unsubstantiated claim of “self-defense” is often not enough to convince the state to issue a permit.
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Loeffler would like Congress to take action against those states that infringe on one’s 2A rights with may-issue permitting standards.
“The Second Amendment is our Founding Fathers’ reaffirmation of our natural God-given right to defend life, liberty and property,” said Loeffler in a press release.
“Law-abiding citizens should be free to exercise their Second Amendment rights without overly intrusive government surveillance. I’m proud to introduce the Gun Owner Privacy Act to ensure that firearm owners are not unlawfully tracked by the federal government and a resolution to guarantee that the right of Americans to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, especially to carry outside the home.”
One last side note, Loeffler’s GOPA only applies to gun owners who pass a background check. It does not apply to those who fail. Since there are at least a hundred thousand denials per year, the vast majority of which are false positives, it makes one wonder what the ATF is doing with all that data on those individuals who’ve been wrongly denied.
To give you an idea as to how the numbers break down, in fiscal year 2017, the federal government denied 112,090 firearm purchases. Of those, the ATF only investigated 12,710. Of those 12,710, the United States Attorney’s Office (USAO) said only 12 met its criteria for prosecution, as GunsAmerica previously reported.
What this indicates is that there may be hundreds of thousands of law-abiding prospective gun purchasers on the government’s radar because they were mistakenly denied by NICS.