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Democratic Senators have introduced new gun control legislation that would, among other things, institute a federal license requirement to buy a gun.
Democratic New Jersey Senators Bod Menendez and Cory Booker, and Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal introduced the “Federal Firearm Licensing Act” Thursday. The bill would institute a requirement for gun purchasers to obtain a firearms license through the Department of Justice before buying or receiving a gun.
The text of the bill states in part:
[It] shall be unlawful for any individual to purchase or receive a firearm unless the individual has a valid Federal firearm license.
The bill then outlines the procedure for establishing the license under the Department of Justice, directing the attorney general to establish a system for issuing them. In order to be eligible to obtain the license itself, a prospective licensee must first complete a firearms safety course, which includes “a written test, to demonstrate knowledge of applicable firearms laws; and hands-on testing, including firing testing, to demonstrate safe use and sufficient accuracy of a firearm.” After that, the licensee must pass a federal background check and a criminal history; submit proof of identification; fingerprints; and information about the firearm the licensee intends to buy or obtain, including “make, model, and serial number, and the identity of the firearm seller or transferor.”
As Booker noted in a press release, the federal background check and ID check would require the licensee to be at least 21 years old, effectively raising the legal age of gun ownership to 21.
Under the law, the attorney general would have to approve or deny applications within 30 days, and notify state and local officials of every application. If approved, licenses would be made available at a “designated local office.” Each individual license would be valid to buy one firearm, to be purchased within 30 days of issuance. The licenses would expire five years after the issuance date. The law would also allow the attorney general to deny or revoke the license of anyone he deems “poses a significant danger of bodily injury to self or others by possessing, purchasing, or receiving a firearm.” The bill also includes a provision in which the law would not apply in states that have licensing processes “with substantially similar requirements.”
In addition, the bill makes it illegal to transfer a gun to any person without first being transferred to a licensed importer, manufacturer, or dealer. It also makes it illegal to sell or transfer a gun to an unlicensed person.
In the Thursday press release, the three senators cited the mass shooting in Buffalo last weekend as the reason for pushing the legislation. A gunman killed 10 people and wounded three others at a grocery store in the city Saturday, allegedly targeting the store because of racial animus, as The Daily Wire reported. “This is the moment to enact ambitious legislation – as a nation, we must rise to it, or we are fated to witness the deadly scenes of this past weekend and years past over again,” said Booker.
“We have a moral obligation to prevent these senseless massacres in our schools, supermarkets, places of worship and shopping malls that are tearing communities and families apart,” added Menendez, calling on Republicans to pass the bill.