New York Democrat Threatens Extinction of Local Gun Shops with New Bill

The pro-gun community has seen its fair share of backdoor gun-ban schemes. Frivolous lawsuits, financial regulation, and “smart gun” safety requirements have all been used by anti-gun advocates in an attempt eliminate guns by destroying the firearms industry.

Last week, freshman Democratic Rep. Joe Morelle announced a different kind of gun ban. Dubbed the Gun Theft Prevention Act, the proposed legislation would mandate strict security requirements on gun shops, impose stiff penalties for non-compliance, and hold shops accountable for crimes committed with stolen firearms.

If implemented, the law would almost certainly force thousands of gun shops around the country to shutter their doors.

At a press conference announcing the legislation, Morell framed his bill as a “common sense” way to stop the “mass shootings” that have become “an article of living in the United States.”

“Licensed gun dealers are not required to take the most basic step to ensure these dangerous weapons don’t fall into the wrong hands,” Morelle said. “It’s negligent and it’s dangerous.”

SEE ALSO: Federal Court Blocks Ban on Handgun Signs, Pictures at Gun Shops

As justification, the congressman alluded to a gun shop that had been broken into seven times since 2007 and claimed that, in 2017, “more than 575 gun shops were robbed nationwide.” His stats appear to originate from anti-gun Bloomberg-funded outlet The Trace, which conducted an investigation into gun shop theft in partnership with The New Yorker.

Under the bill, all gun shops would be required to install “basic safety precautions,” including locked cabinets and video surveillance devices. Shops would either be forced to retrofit their displays with secured cases or move firearms from display racks to cabinets or safes every night.

To enforce the new requirements, Morelle’s bill calls for hiring 650 additional ATF agents to perform mandatory audits of all firearms dealers every three years. Shops found not abiding by the new requirements would face suspension or revocation of their licenses.

SEE ALSO: Gun Shop Owner Dies Defending Store from Armed Robbers

Here’s the worst of it: the bill would also repeal a portion of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act by removing civil protections for gun shop owners who “allow” guns to be stolen that are subsequently used in violent crimes. In other words, if a criminal steals firearms from a shop the ATF deems did not have sufficient security measures, the shop owner can be sued if someone uses any of those firearms in a violent crime at any future point.

With that potential liability, insurance companies will be far less likely to offer policies that local gun shops can afford—if they offer any policies at all.

But the bill doesn’t stop with shop owners. It also includes a long-sought gun control provision that would require gun owners to report lost or stolen firearms or face criminal charges. In addition, it mandates that all gun shop employees be able to pass a NICS background check.

The bill has been introduced but has yet to be officially filed. It stands a good chance of passing the Democrat-controlled House but will almost certainly die in the Republican-controlled Senate.

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About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over four years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Waco. Follow him on Instagram @bornforgoodluck and email him at

{ 9 comments… add one }
  • Easy Eddie November 29, 2019, 12:33 pm

    Morelle ‘inherited’ the NY 25th District Congressional seat formerly occupied by Louise Slaughter. Both of them being reasons why we left NY and settled 1600 miles away. I enjoyed doing business with the gun shop Morelle references. Yeah, the owner could have done more; but the last break-in saw the actors attach a chain to the front window bars and pull it out of the building. They made off with a limited number of guns, largely shotguns if I remember correctly. I don’t know if he ever reopened.

    Whenever a Democrat talks about ‘common sense’, we should run like hell in the opposite direction. Ultimately, their concept of ‘common sense’ will only be realized when citizens have no weapons. It’s probably productive to email your (Republican) Senator and McConnell’s office to express our profound disgust with anything that ‘common sense’ Morelle and his kind propose.

  • Earl Haehl May 17, 2019, 3:49 pm

    There are currently excessive regulations on storage etc which all gun dealers are responsible–they are subject to periodic inspection of records as well as inspections to insure proper security. Theft occurs, even in large operations. This is because the 1968 Act declare that commerce in firearms is governed by the commerce clause of the Constitution. I realize that California has exempted itself from federal law as regards pass through traffic.

    What these laws do is criminalize being “victimized” in states where victimization has already bee raised to a superior moral plane.

    The gun community needs to mobilize to the challenge of opposing this regulation. The congress critters from these states need to realize that they are complicit in the passage of the laws taking away their jurisdiction over the licensing of dealers.

  • RJ May 17, 2019, 8:08 am

    That’s funny, they haven’t prosecuted one parent for leaving a gun laying around the house for their unstable child to take to school. But they will go after a robbed businessman!

  • Frank S. May 17, 2019, 7:26 am

    Background checks for gun store employees? Sounds like a good idea. “REASONABLE” security in a gun store? Another good-sounding idea. Just have to make it REASONABLE security. I doubt requiring moving guns to a safe or secure room instead of a glass display case will break anything but the really small shops. I’m not sure it’s really required assuming there are other means in place to make entry to the store difficult though. Requiring cameras and alarms that alert police and not just the owner seems to be a “must have” that most have in place already. the gun shop owner responsible for how a stolen or purchased gun is used? Negative! That’s like suing Ford when someone dies in a car crash. Things like that DID happen in the small airplane industry, and just about killed it in the US until a law was passed saying that the manufacturer couldn’t arbitrarily be sued after a plane crash.

    The issue isn’t that some of these are good ideas, it’s the implementation and what constitutes “reasonable”. It’s obvious some of the ideas aren’t there to be “reasonable’, but to be restrictive and costly in order to shut small shops down and restrict lawful gun ownership.

    • 3=73 Armor May 17, 2019, 12:30 pm

      I think all your points are good. If a gun shop does not take REASONABLE security precautions (bars on windows or guns in locked cabinets, alarm and video, etc), then I also think they should be held liable.

  • Dr Motown May 15, 2019, 4:34 pm

    I\’m sure it will stop young urban black males from shooting each other up….SMDH

  • Mark N. May 15, 2019, 1:29 am

    Hmm, sounds AWFULLY familiar. The same bill is pending in the California Legislature this session (but has been tabled, last I heard). The California bill requires video recording of all areas where customers come into contact with firearms and the point of sale, as well as the outside of the shop and any associated parking lot. the recordings to be kept for at least five years. (Apparently the storage requirement calls for a massive number of terabytes.) Weirdly, the bill also requires that the recordings not be kept in the cloud but n premises–where of course they are going to be stolen by the enterprising thieves who are breaking in. The cost to stores in the tens of thousands of dollars. Yes, the sole purpose of the bill is to force gun shops out of business. The same bill also outlaws home based FFLs (but no one knows why this provision is there, since kitchen counter FFLs have to follow all the same laws).

    • Mark N. May 16, 2019, 1:06 am

      I spoke too soon. It came out of suspense, got voted on by the Assembly and was forwarded to the Senate. It is going to be awful if this passes. Transfer fees will go through the roof for internet purchases (they are already $75 through the brick and mortar stores, $25 with my local tabletop dealer) to pay for all the required improvements, and no guns will be sold for less than MSRP. Without full retail pricing, the small stores will not survive.

  • J May 14, 2019, 10:34 pm

    We just got this into law in Illinois this past Jan. 2019 with the new Gov. Pritzker signing into law the Firearm Illinois Registration & Dealer Licensing Bill. It does a lot of the things this New York bill does, but more. It is being seen in several Democratic controlled states a way to eliminate firearm dealers and avenues for firearm purchases.

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