Changes to Federal Gun Law
Gun Law Grows With No End In Sight
For four years (2005 - 2009), NRA has quashed bad laws and floated good ones,
Gun Laws of America • Edition 6
This plain-English supplement helps you navigate to new federal gun laws. The statutes are found at gunlaws.com using our National Directory feature. Any laws enacted after the publication of Edition 6 will be posted here as well.
P.L. 109-59, HR 3, Sec 11131, Custom Gunsmiths. 26 USC §4182 note. (enacted 8/10/05)
P.L. 109-92, S 397, Protection of Lawful Commerce in Firearms Act (enacted 10/26/05)
A statement of purpose asserts: This act is designed to prohibit such lawsuits; to preserve citizen access to arms and ammo for lawful purposes; to guarantee citizen protection under the 14th Amendment; to prevent such lawsuits from placing unreasonable burdens on commerce; to protect the 1st Amendment rights of the industry; to preserve and protect the separation of powers, federalism, state sovereignty and comity between the states; and to exercise congressional power under the Full Faith and Credit clause (Art. IV, sec. 1).
15 USC §7902: A frivolous lawsuit against the firearms industry, called a qualified civil liability action, cannot be brought in federal or state courts and any such suits pending as of this law are to be immediately dismissed.
15 USC §7903: The firearms industry, firearms, ammunition, components and persons are defined as found in other long-standing sections of firearms law. A qualified civil liability action against the firearms industry is defined to broadly include actions by anyone against the industry for relief from harm, “resulting from the criminal or unlawful misuse of a qualified product by the person or a third party,” with exceptions, including specified felonies by the firms, negligence, knowing violations of state or federal law related to sale or marketing which are proximate cause of the harm claimed, knowing false record keeping or otherwise aiding such, knowingly cooperating with a straw purchase, breach of contract or warranty, defects in design or manufacture unless it occurs during a criminal offense, and certain proceedings by the U.S. attorney general.
The Child Safety Lock Act of 2005 is part of this law. In 18 USC §921 note, are findings that this law is intended to promote safe storage of handguns by consumers, to prevent access to or use of a handgun by unauthorized people including children, and “to avoid hindering industry from supplying firearms to law abiding citizens for all lawful purposes,” with a list naming hunting, self-defense, collecting, and competitive or recreational shooting.
18 USC §922(z) is added making it a crime for an FFL to transfer a handgun to a person without including a secure gun storage or safety device, commonly referred to as a gun lock (includes numerous devices for preventing a gun from firing). This is the eighth appearance of this term in federal law, first introduced under president Clinton. All government officials of every type are exempt from this requirement, along with all law enforcement personnel. Also exempt are rail police, curios and relics, and transfers made when locks are unavailable due to supply-chain problems outside the dealer’s control, as long as the dealer gets the customer a lock within 10 business days. Penalties for a dealer who doesn’t provide the locks include suspension or revocation of license and fines. This section does not create a basis for a lawsuit or establish a standard of care.
As an incentive to use the lock, you get immunity from a qualified civil liability action, which in this section (as opposed to the prior one) means, a civil action brought against you for harm caused by criminal or unlawful misuse of the handgun by a third party, who did not have your permission to use it, and which you had locked. There is no protection for negligence as defined.
This law amends 18 USC §922(a) by deleting paragraphs 7 and 8 (concerning making, importing, selling or delivering armor-piercing ammo) and replacing them with essentially the same conditions but slightly better grammar. It also amends 18 USC §924(c) to add a minimum 15-year prison sentence for a crime of violence or a drug-trafficking crime while possessing or using armor-piercing ammo. If murder of a government official results, the death penalty or life in prison apply, and penalties in the event of manslaughter are provided.
A study by the AG is required to see if standardized body-armor testing is feasible, which must include the effect of barrel length and the amount of powder used. The report, to the judiciary committee in the House and Senate, was due in two years (10/26/07).
P.L. 109-295, HR 5441, Department Of Homeland Security Appropriations Act of 2007, 42 USC §5207, Disaster Recovery Personal Protection Act of 2006 (enacted 10/4/06)
P.L. 110-53, HR 1, Implementing Recommendations Of The 9/11 Commission Act Of 2007, Title XIII, Sec. 1309, Prohibition Of Issuance Of Transportation Security Cards To Convicted Felons (enacted 8/3/07)
P.L. 110-180, HR 2640, NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007 (enacted 1/8/08)
Records: A federal agency or department that has records of people who are prohibited possessors under 18-922(g) or (n) must submit those records electronically (not manually) to the attorney general at least quarterly.
Records Correction: If those agencies become aware that disqualifying information does not or no longer applies, they must update, correct, modify or remove the records from their files and tell the attorney general (who runs NICS), so NICS is kept up-to-date. The AG has 30 days to correct NICS with new information and must report compliance to Congress annually for every agency or department that maintains, submits and corrects such records. The Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS), formerly excluded from this process, must also comply with these rules (with no mention of the DHS “no-fly” list).
Illegal Aliens: DHS is also charged with removing illegal aliens from the NICS list (to reinstate their rights), if they gain citizenship. This applies to people “who have changed their status to a category not identified under section 922(g)(5) of title 18,” and would apply under a future amnesty bill.
Confidentiality: The AG is required to keep all this information accurate and confidential, and must remove and destroy obsolete and erroneous names and info in a timely way. The AG must work with states to develop computer systems to electronically provide information when court orders are issued, lifted or removed, and information about certifiable mental cases.
Only Valid Mental Records: The reporting agencies are forbidden from giving mental-health records to the AG if: a) the adjudication or commitment has been set aside, expunged, or the person is fully released or discharged from any mandatory treatment, supervision or monitoring; b) the person is found by any lawful authority to no longer suffer from the disqualifying condition; or c) the disability was based on a procedure that did not include an opportunity for a hearing by the person. Exceptions exist for a person who pleads not guilty by reason of insanity, is found unfit to stand trial, lacks mental responsibility, and for criminal cases under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
Application for Relief: All agencies reporting mental-health records must establish procedures to allow people adjudicated or committed to apply for relief. Applications for relief must be processed within 365 days. If an agency fails to act for any reason, including because it has no money to do so, it is deemed to have denied relief without cause. This lets the applicant sue for relief. To clarify, the procedure for the suit is spelled out in 18-925(c), and attorney’s fees are awarded at the rate for local public-interest legal-aid organizations. If you get relief from disabilities under this law, the reason for the disability is deemed to have never occurred for purposes of the prohibited possessor statute. The agency that grants the relief must notify you of this, covering the “acquisition, receipt, transfer, shipment, transportation or possession of firearms.”
Advanced Warning Required: From 2/8/08, any federal department or agency that could certify you as a mental defective and hence a prohibited possessor, must now give you oral and written notice that this would remove your gun rights, inform you of the penalties for illegal gun activity, and describe how you can reclaim your gun rights under this law. Anyone already in NICS has all the new protections and rights-restoration options. A lengthy section (3,148 words) incentivizes state cooperation through funding and penalties, defines record-keeping requirements for the states, an annual report to Congress on progress and a GAO audit. The FBI is banned from charging a user fee for conducting background checks. The AG is not required to give NICS records on illegal aliens to immigration authorities, but may.
P.L. 111-8, HR 1105, Omnibus Appropriations Act 2009, “Tiahrt Amendment,” (enacted 3/11/09)
P.L. 111-24, HR 627, Credit CARD Act of 2009, Sec. 512, 16 USC §1a-7b (enacted 5/22/09)
The Secretary of the Interior (responsible for those lands) cannot make or enforce any regulation that prohibits an individual from possessing a firearm (including an assembled or functional firearm, which fell under the ban) in the National Park or National Wildlife Refuge System if the person is not a prohibited possessor, and possession complies with the law of the State in which the land is located. The act takes effect on Feb. 22, 2010, nine months after enactment.
P.L. 103-55, 15 USC §5901, Armored Cars
15 USC §5902: States regulate armored-car companies and crews, and the weapons they can use, and if a bona fide crew member has met the state’s standards, then the person “shall be entitled to lawfully carry any weapon” the company can legitimately employ in any state while the person is acting for the company. The state’s standards must include: annual qualified class and range training in safety and marksmanship for each weapon the crew member will be licensed to carry; an annual background check for disqualifying records; continuing training in weapon safety and marksmanship; the receipt or possession of said weapons does not violate federal law; the member’s license is for not more than two years. In §5903 the feds declare that this law supercedes any state law to the contrary. §5904 defines terms in this law in a manner consistent with normal English.
Note: 42 USC §3760, Byrne grants, repealed, P.L. 109-162, 1/5/06; additional repeals and changes posted at gunlaws.com. Serious research should always include an online check for the latest version of any statute, which Congress can change at any time without notice. Please bring any discovered errors or needed updates to the attention of the publisher.
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