NEWTOWN, Conn.— NSSF®, the firearm industry trade association, has carefully examined the proposed Bipartisan Safer Communities Act legislation. NSSF appreciates the good faith effort by U.S. Senate negotiators to arrive at a proposal that would meaningfully address criminal violence all too frequently occurring in our communities. NSSF is encouraged by portions of the proposal, but we have important concerns about other aspects of the bill that impact our industry and the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans.
We are thankful the Senate proposal provides significant resources for mental health treatment and services. Most of the horrendous tragedies that have befallen our communities have involved unaddressed mental health issues. We are also heartened the proposal provides necessary resources to help enhance school security to help protect the most vulnerable.
NSSF supports the effort to strengthen federal criminal law to address straw purchasing and firearms trafficking. We have led the effort to stop the illegal straw purchasing firearms and trafficking. For over two decades, NSSF has partnered with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in the Don’t Lie for the Other Guy™ campaign that helps educate retailers on how to detect and prevent such transactions and to educate the public that it is a serious crime.
Through our #FixNICS® initiative and support for the Cornyn-Murphy bipartisan FixNICS Act named after our program, NSSF has been the leading voice working to ensure our background check system provides timely and accurate information to retailers to ensure they do not sell firearms to prohibited persons. We strongly encourage all states to provide disqualifying juvenile records into the system so that it works as intended.
We support requiring those who are in the business of selling firearms for profit be licensed under federal law. However, the proposed legislation fails to provide clear and needed guidance to our industry – particularly those who would be newly licensed – as to what conduct constitutes a willful violation warranting a revocation of their license. This is especially important given the Department of Justice’s “zero tolerance” policy and the over 500 percent increase in license revocation proceedings that have occurred under this administration.
While NSSF understands the need for law enforcement to intervene in circumstances when someone is an imminent threat to themselves or others, we have steadfastly maintained that if that intervention involves removing a person’s firearms there must be strong Due Process protections in place. Current “extreme risk protective orders” that exist in 19 states do not come close to providing adequate due process protections when the government deprives someone of their fundamental Constitutional rights. We cannot support the use of taxpayer funds to implement more such unconstitutional laws without specific and iron clad assurances Due Process rights will be protected.
“There are several provisions of this legislative package that NSSF could support including providing more resources for mental health services and school security. However, the ambiguity over state records, the lack of clear definitions, and unaddressed due process concerns prevent us from supporting this legislative package as presented," said Joseph Bartozzi, NSSF President and Chief Executive Officer.
NSSF encourages the Senate to continue its negotiations to arrive at a package that will provide real solutions to make our communities safer.
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NSSF is the trade association for the firearm industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of thousands of manufacturers, distributors, firearm retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations and publishers nationwide. For more information, visit nssf.org.