Today, Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) released the following statement after submitting three appropriations language requests to the House Appropriations Committee to defend the Second Amendment and support law abiding businesses:
“The Second Amendment gives Americans an undeniable right to bear arms. Unfortunately, there has been a continual push to chip away at this right by the Obama Administration and other gun control advocates. ATF should not be able to require gun dealers in four states to arbitrarily report on multiple legal rifle sales.
“Furthermore, allowing the Attorney General to block the importation of a firearm, even though it is perfectly legal to possess the firearm in the U.S., defies commonsense and is an infringement on the Second Amendment. Finally, small business owners should not have to rent warehouse space and squander precious capital just to store paper copies of 20 years of guns records when those records can easily be stored electronically. My three commonsense appropriations submissions aim to correct these injustices and defend the Second Amendment.”
“Brad Desaye, President of J&G Sales, Ltd in Prescott, Arizona, released the following statement after hearing of Rep. Gosar’s three appropriations submissions:
“I appreciate and respect Rep. Gosar listening to our concerns and taking action to support the Second Amendment. The three issues Congressman Gosar is seeking to address are positive steps to defend the Second Amendment and to help small businesses like J&G Sales. It is a true pleasure to have a Representative that seeks out employers and constituents, asks for our input, and then takes a stand to help us! Thank you Congressman Gosar.”
The full text of Congressman’s three appropriations language submissions can be read by clicking on the titles below.
No Funds for BATFE’s Southwest Border Initiative
The Southwest Border Initiative, a program of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE or ATF), is unconstitutional and a hindrance to lawful gun owners. In a publication by BATFE, citizens are given “key indicators” to tip them off about potential trafficking activity. The problem with this approach is that it encourages citizens to be unnecessarily suspicious of normal gun purchasing activity. For instance, one of the indicators that BATFE associates with trafficking is the purchase of semiautomatic pistols (9mm and .45) that are completely lawful and that are owned by millions of Americans.
Other unconstitutional “key indicators” by the BATFE encourage suspicion when purchasers don’t “haggle or question the price of a firearm,” “lack the physical stature to handle the firearm being purchased,” or “pay in cash with the same denomination.” These admonitions raise alarms about complete legitimate behavior by law-abiding gun purchasers and result in unnecessary persecution and infringements on the Second Amendment. Even more troubling, the Southwest Border Initiative targets four southwest border states (Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and California) when requiring unconstitutional and burdensome reports from dealers who lawfully sell two or more rifles to a person within five business days.
Eliminating the 20 Year Gun Paperwork Requirement
Current law is ambiguous regarding the permissibility of maintaining acquisition and disposition (A&D) records electronically. Instead of codifying the decision into law, Congress delegated this authority to the Attorney General, who in turn delegated it to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE or ATF). Under this authority, BATFE has created a variance system that allows Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) to apply for permission to store their records electronically on a case-by-case basis. This system is backwards. In the 21st century digital record keeping should be standard, not secondary.
Rep. Gosar has heard from FFLs in his district that the current paper record keeping requirement is a large burden to their businesses. One such business owner informed Rep. Gosar that he has to go so far as to rent warehouse space just to store the massive number of A&D records that he is required to keep for a minimum of 20 years. Given that both industry and government experts agree that digital records are superior, it makes sense to make such action explicitly allowed under law.
Blocking Unconstitutional Interpretations through the Sporting Purposes Test
18 U.S.C. 922(r) is a troubling statute because it leaves decisions on the legality of imported firearms, firearm parts, and ammunition to the Attorney General’s discretion. 18 U.S.C. 925(d) gives the Attorney General (AG) latitude to determine which firearms and ammunition are suitable for importation. Under the sporting purposes test, the Attorney General and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE or ATF) have claimed they have the right to block the importation of a firearm, even though it is perfectly legal to possess the firearm in the U.S.
The sporting purposes test is an infringement upon the rights of Americans to buy and assemble guns to protect themselves. Giving the AG the latitude to make decisions regarding the purposes for which an American seeks to purchase parts and assemble a gun is not in keeping with our Constitution. Rep. Gosar’s appropriations request seeks to include the text of H.R. 2710, the Lawful Purpose and Self Defense Act of 2015, introduced by Rob Bishop (R-UT) and supported by the NRA, as a provision in the fiscal year 2017 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies bill.