Sex Offender Registry
Bill Scheduled to be Considered by House Today Will Allow Misdemeanor
Sex Offenders Continued Access to Guns�Despite Ban Passed by House on
Voice Vote on Similar Bill Last Year
Wednesday, March 8, the U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to
consider a sex offender registration bill (H.R. 4472) that does not contain
a provision that would prohibit gun possession by individuals convicted
of misdemeanor sex offenses against minors. This is despite the fact that
such a ban was included in the "The Children's Safety Act of 2005" (H.R.
3132), a similar bill that was passed by the House in September 2005.
The gun prohibition was added to H.R. 3132 as an amendment by Representative
Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and passed on a voice vote. An anti-hate crime provision
that was added as an amendment to H.R. 3132 is also not included in the
The omission in the
current bill comes despite the fact that the Nadler amendment would keep
guns out of the hands of dangerous, known sex offenders. Although current
federal law prohibits the transfer to, or possession by, a person convicted
of a felony sex offense, it is legal under federal law for persons
convicted of misdemeanor sex crimes to buy, sell, and possess firearms.
Yet H.R. 4472 does not contain the Nadler amendment. "It is simply unfathomable
that anyone�even the gun lobby�would oppose a law to keep guns out of
the hands of sex offenders, but clearly they do," states Kristen Rand,
Violence Policy Center legislative director.
The Nadler amendment
is modeled on the highly successful Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban,
a provision added to federal law in 1996 that prohibits gun possession
by persons convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence offenses. Current
federal law allows gun possession by persons convicted of misdemeanor
sex offenses against minors�despite the fact that many states require
sex offenders convicted of such misdemeanor crimes to register. For example�
- New York requires
registration by sex offenders convicted of misdemeanor crimes including
sexual abuse in the third degree, forcible touching, and sexual misconduct.
- Illinois requires
registration by sex offenders convicted of misdemeanor crimes of indecent
solicitation of a child, sexual exploitation of a child, criminal sexual
abuse, and any attempt to commit any of these offenses.
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, March 8, 2006
Violence Policy Center
(202) 822-8200 x109