House Passes Appropriations
Bill That Would License Tens of Thousands of New "Kitchen-Table" Gun Dealers,
Undermine Gun Dealer Oversight
U.S. House of Representatives today passed appropriations legislation
for the Commerce, Justice, and State Departments containing a National
Rifle Association (NRA)-backed amendment sponsored by Representative Todd
Tiahrt (R-KS) that would severely undermine enforcement of federal gun
laws, the Violence Policy Center (VPC) charged today. VPC Legislative
Director Kristen Rand states, "The worst part of the Tiahrt amendment
would require the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
(ATF) to issue Federal Firearms Licenses (FFLs) to applicants who do not
run stocking gun stores, but instead operate out of homes and offices."
This would reverse
policies implemented during the Clinton Administration that significantly
reduced the number of licensed gun dealers, which topped 245,000 in 1994.
At that time, there were more gun dealers in America than gas stations.
Today, there are approximately 58,500 gun dealers in the U.S. Efforts
to reduce the number of "kitchen-table" dealers were prompted by studies�including
the VPC's 1992 report More Gun Dealers Than Gas Stations�and anecdotal
evidence showing that "kitchen-table" dealers contributed heavily to criminal
gun trafficking. Many of these dealers sold guns out of cars or apartments
in urban areas where gun possession is tightly regulated. In addition
to allowing virtually any non-felon to obtain a gun dealer's license,
the Tiahrt amendment would:
- Prohibit the public
release of information related to importation and production of firearms�the
only reliable national information available as to how many guns are
produced in a given year, as well as type, caliber, and manufacturer.
- Prohibit the public
release of information related to multiple handgun sales. Dealers are
required to report the sale of two or more handguns to the same person
within five business days. It would also prohibit the release of information
related to crime-gun tracing requests.
- Prohibit ATF from
issuing a rule requiring licensees to submit to a physical inventory
of their stock.
- Require the immediate
destruction of records of approved firearms transfers generated by the
National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
- Require that any
gun-tracing studies released by ATF be accompanied by lengthy disclaimers
intended to undermine the utility of such data.
Adds Rand, "Representative
Tiahrt's proposal would aid criminal gun traffickers and at the same time
devastate ATF's already weak oversight authority. The Senate should reject
this dangerous measure."
The Violence Policy Center is a
national non-profit educational foundation that conducts research on violence
in America and works to develop violence-reduction policies and proposals.
The Center examines the role of firearms in America, conducts research
on firearms violence, and explores new ways to decrease firearm-related
death and injury.
Wednesday, July 23, 2003
Violence Policy Center
(202) 822-8200 x122