NSSF Responds to Raskin's Gun Tracing Bill

AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough

Rep. Jaime Raskin probably thought he was onto something. His goal is pretty simple. He wants to make it so gun tracing data is released to the public, which means a lot of gun stores will be implicated in crimes they had nothing at all to do with.


It's a push that's become something of a thing lately and is often predicated on a bad premise. Namely that gun stores are knowingly conducting illegal sales.

Raskin's bill would seek to make that a reality, and the NSSF has thoughts on this nonsense.

There seems to be no limit to how far some gun control politicians will go in their effort to smear the firearm industry. Instead of actually holding criminals accountable for their horrific crimes when they criminally misuse a firearm, apparently, it’s just easier to shift the blame. They would absolve criminals of their wrongdoing and hang the proverbial noose on an industry that actually follows the law.

U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) introduced H.R. 8764, the Clean Firearm Procurement Act. Despite its misleading name, it is a case study for all that is wrong with Washington, D.C.’s political gun control agenda. The legislation proposes that the U.S. attorney general disregard current law that prohibits the disclosure of sensitive firearm trace data and publish a public list of the firearms most-commonly misused by criminals when they commit violent crimes.

It gets worse.

The bill would then enable the attorney general to block any contract with firearm businesses that are listed as the manufacturer, distributor or seller of those firearms. The legislation ignores that firearms are manufactured, distributed and sold lawfully by federally-licensed companies. All retail transfers take place in a face-to-face transaction and are completed with a signed Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Form 4473.  This form requires that the person obtaining the firearm is not a prohibited person and then is verified by an FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) verification.


This is a fact that's commonly omitted in discussions of illegal guns and the impact of these weapons on various communities or even other nations.

For example, in much of the media coverage surrounding Mexico's lawsuit against various gun manufacturers, the reporting never seems to note that you can't just order a gun from a manufacturer and have it dropped at your house unless you happen to have an FFL.

Instead, you have to have it shipped to a licensed dealer, who then handles all the paperwork and background checks prior to an individual taking possession of the weapon in question.

It can't be a coincidence that Raskin doesn't want to talk about potential lawsuits or other ramifications against these supposed bad actors. This is likely an important point.

Absurd & Dangerous

This legislation is as absurd as it is dangerous. It would weaponize firearm sales to federal agencies and potentially block federal funding to law enforcement agencies to satisfy a political gun control agenda – all because criminals commit horrific crimes. It would also bypass the Tiahrt Amendment that prohibits the ATF from sharing sensitive firearm trace data outside of law enforcement for investigations.

That would deprive federal agencies – including the FBI, ATF, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, Federal Protective Service, U.S. Marshals Service, Central Intelligence Agency, State Department, Federal Aviation Administration, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Internal Revenue Service, National Park Service, U.S. Capitol Police, U.S. Secret Service and even the U.S. Postal Service (yes… they have a federal law enforcement function) from procuring firearms to sustain their missions all because criminals misuse certain firearms in the commission of their crimes.

Rep. Raskin is pitching this ill-planned bill as a means to go after “bad-apple gun dealers.” The truth is that’s not what this bill does. Not even close. It saddles the criminal misuse of firearms on manufacturers and retailers that have no connection whatsoever with the horrific crimes that criminals commit. That’s called “blameshifting.” It is intellectually lazy and ignores those who actually cause harm and commit crimes and instead assigns that culpability to a remote third party that is in no way associated with that crime.



What's more, I think Raskin knows that guns aren't showing up in the hands of criminals via rogue dealers who are in possession of an FFL in the first place. These guns are stolen, straw purchased, or illegally trafficked in some other way. They're not knowingly sold by gun dealers to criminals in violation of the law.

This is via the ATF, even, so we can't even try and pretend this is gun industry propaganda because it's anything but.

What's more, this is a federal law enforcement agency that's likely to be negatively impacted by this very data. As it is, there's something wrong with a gun dealer who sells to the ATF, at least in my opinion, but this bill will actually incentivize the ATF to "cook the books" on which guns are showing up, particularly if they want or need a particular type of firearm.

I'm not saying they'd do it, but the incentive would be there if someone at the agency was so inclined.

And for what?

There's a reason the Tiahrt Amendment exists in the first place. It's to keep manufacturers and gun stores from being penalized for actions that were beyond their control. Raskin wants to undo that simply to advance his anti-gun agenda and nothing else.

The NSSF, by contrast, has a vested interest in trying to stop this nonsense. However, that vested interest also puts them on the side of the angels in this one. Then again, that's what normally happens with the NSSF.

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