Essentially capitalizing on the tragic Buffalo, N.Y. Tops supermarket mass shooting, three Democrat Senators—Cory Booker and Bob Menendez, both from New Jersey, and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut—have “reintroduced” legislation requiring federal licensing in order to purchase or acquire firearms.
The proposed “Federal Firearm Licensing Act,” the bill mandates approval from the Department of Justice via a license that would require renewal every five years, “at which point the applicant will have to go through a background check and undergo firearm safety training again,” according to a press release from Booker’s office.
The 11-page bill may be read here.
“Firearm licensing laws have broad public support and have been shown to reduce gun violence in states that have enacted them,” Booker asserted, “including in my home state of New Jersey. This is the moment to enact ambitious legislation – as a nation, we must rise to it, or we are fated to witness the deadly scenes of this past weekend and years past over again.”
According to Booker’s press release, in order to obtain a federal firearm license, the bill would require the following:
- Certification that the individual completed firearm safety training, which must include a written test and hands-on training to ensure safe use and accuracy.
- Completion of a criminal history background check.
- Submission of fingerprints, proof of identity, and verification that the individual is at least 21-years-old.
- The federal firearm license must be renewed every five years at which point the applicant will have to go through a background check and undergo firearm safety training again. The bill contains a mechanism for the DOJ to revoke the license if the individual poses a danger to themselves or to others. It would require the Federal Bureau of Investigation to regularly conduct checks to ensure that individuals are in compliance with federal license requirements and keeps in place requirements that all people purchasing firearms from a federal firearms licensee undergo a background check.
A report in the Western Journal asserts the sponsors are “using the Buffalo mass shooting as a political tool.”
Writing at the Western Journal, Richard Moorhead asserts, “The law would fundamentally revise gun ownership from a right enjoyed by American citizens to a privilege bestowed by the government at its own discretion.”
Opposition is already ramping up, and with a 50-50 split in the U.S. Senate, it is not likely the measure will gather momentum, and if the Congress flips in November, the legislation will probably be permanently stalled.
Even anti-gun Sen. Chris Murphy, Blumenthal’s colleague from Connecticut, isn’t sure of the bill’s future. He told the New York Times the bill might not pass through Congress, but he said Democrats must bring up guns on the campaign trail this year. Then, again, they might not.
“My main recommendation,” Murphy told the newspaper, “is for Democrats to go out and run on this issue, proudly and strongly. My worry is we would have a vote on the Senate floor, but then Democrats would not be willing to go out and talk about that vote in campaigns.”