A bill introduced in the U.S. Senate would require all firearms to be
registered and mandate the creation of a record of sale for virtually
every firearm sold in the U.S.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.

The “Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act of 2000,”

S 2525,
is sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and has three noted gun-control advocates as Senate cosponsors: Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.; Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.; and Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J.

Schumer helped guide through the so-called assault-weapons ban when he was still a congressman in the House, while Boxer and Feinstein handled the legislation when it came to the Senate. Lautenberg

touts his gun-control record on his Senate website.

The bill was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee the day it was submitted, May 9, where it has languished ever since. So far, the bill has not appeared on the committee’s legislative schedule.

Specifically, S 2525 amends Sect. 922, Title 18 of the U.S. Code to require all persons to license “qualifying” firearms. Applicants for licenses must submit a passport-sized photograph, all personal information, a thumbprint and a statement testifying that applicants are not otherwise prohibited by law from possessing a gun.

Also, applicants must complete a mandatory firearms training course and demonstrate “the safe storage of firearms, particularly in the vicinity of juveniles,” as well as “the safe handling of firearms, the use of firearms in the home and the risks associated with such use,” and “the legal responsibilities of firearms owners, including federal, state and local laws relating to requirements for the possession and storage of firearms, and relating to reporting requirements with respect to firearms.”

“It is in the national interest and within the role of the federal government to ensure that the regulation of firearms is uniform among the states, that law enforcement can quickly and effectively trace firearms used in crime, and that firearms owners know how to use and safely store their firearms,” the measure says.

According to the bill, all authority for requiring firearms registration could be granted the federal government under the Constitution’s commerce clause.

The measure lists several goals of Feinstein’s regulations:

  • To protect the public against the unreasonable risk of injury and death associated with the unrecorded sale or transfer of qualifying firearms to criminals and youth;

  • To ensure that owners of qualifying firearms are knowledgeable in the safe use, handling and storage of those firearms;

  • To restrict the availability of qualifying firearms to criminals, youth and other persons prohibited by Federal law from receiving firearms; and

  • To facilitate the tracing of qualifying firearms used in crime by federal and state law-enforcement agencies.

The application process would be directed by the Treasury secretary, most likely under the auspices of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, a subdivision of the Treasury Department.

According to the bill, the term “qualifying firearm” includes “any handgun, any semiautomatic firearm that can accept any detachable ammunition feeding device,” but does not include “any antique” weapon.

The license issued under the bill would contain a photo of the applicant, be “tamper-resistant” and contain the applicant’s personal information, including a signature. The license would be good for five years, but subject to revocation if the applicant were convicted of a crime prohibiting firearms possession during the licensure period.

Also, gun owners could not sell or “otherwise transfer” any firearm to anyone other than through a licensed gun dealer, according to the text of the measure.

“It shall be unlawful for any person other than a licensee to sell, deliver, or otherwise transfer a qualifying firearm to, or receive a qualifying firearm from, any person other than a licensee unless, at the time and place of the transfer or receipt … the transferee presents to a licensed dealer a valid firearm license issued to the transferee,” says the bill.

Firearms dealers would then be required to file a form with the Treasury Department within 14 days of the sale or transfer containing a detailed description and serial number of the gun sold.

“Since Columbine, thousands of Americans have been killed by gunfire,” Lautenberg said on the Senate floor while introducing his legislation. “It has been more than a year since the Columbine tragedy, but still this Republican Congress refuses to act on sensible gun legislation.”

Critics have decried S 2525 as a prelude to total gun confiscation because such detailed possession and transaction records could eventually be misused by government agencies if ordered to collect guns by Congress or the president.

Related stories:

No right to bear arms?

Clinton pushes national gun ID card

U.N. coming for your guns

Survey says: Gun laws don’t reduce crime

Senate considers gun registration

Gun registration bill not moving

Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.