“Bipartisan Safer Communities Act” – The Senate’s Gun Control Package

Readers,

We finally have text on the Senate’s Gun Control proposal. It is 80 pages, and not an easy 80 pages to decipher, but we are going to try.

Title I – CHILDREN AND FAMILY MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES

Money.

That is what this section covers. Money, mental health specific grants and funding, especially in relation to medicaid. 25 pages worth of funding allocations and where it can and cannot be spent.

Title II – FIREARMS

Here’s where we care, right? What are they changing with regards to guns?

Improving NICS Examination of Juvenile Records

Sorry, kids. Your adulting has been further provisionalized should this pass.

The 18-20 year old crowd are set to get an up to 3 day waiting period, with an up to 10 day (total) examination period if a record is determined to exist, before the transfer of a firearm is completed. The actual period will be based upon how quickly records can be accessed.

For mental health institutionalization, they are looking at commited dates starting from age 16 now. This may start a deconfliction fight with HIPAA. The FFL will have a specific UIN for these younger purchasers, unknown if it will be per transfer or per person, to reference the specific NICS check and reference for state records.

The traditional Brady Transfer Date, in a case where NICS does not provide a final result immediately, given with a check from NICS. For under 21 it is now the date plus 3 business days without any notification, and then 10 days if NICS indicates a record exists but no final determination is delivered. Brady for 21 and up is 3 business days and 18-20 will be up to 10 business days. My assumption is NICS will continue to list this date in their system and a subsection will be created for this additional check period in their software.

These are business days based upon state offices being open. NICS is directed to check with the State for both juvenile and mental health records and the appropriate local law enforcement agency of the purchase/residence. It is the state and local agencies who have 3 business days to respond to the direct inquiry from NICS, if there is a record they have an additional 7 business days to make a determination on whether or not that record is a disqualifying one.

Sunset

This enhanced NICS check provision sunsets on September 2032, unless renewed or made permanent by Congress.

Weird Terrorism Proviso…

Unless I am reading this wrong, this law exempts criminals and terrorists from having to prove they are profitable… I’m serious. Page 32. “Provided, that proof of profit shall not be required as to a person who engages in the regular and repetitive purchase and disposition of firearms for criminal purposes or terrorism.”

I am genuinely confused on why this line is needed. To the cartels just get a tax break? The Taliban don’t need a profit and loss statement? Why does this text exist? Is this just, ‘anyone or group with an FFL need not prove they are trading in guns for profit if they are in prison for gun running’?

Like, duh. Prison.

Firearm Trafficking and Straw Purchases

Still feloniously illegal, extra illegal if for terrorism or in support of drug trafficking.

Seriously, all this covers is if you’re proven that you knew or should have known you are selling to a prohibited person, or someone who you knew was going to commit a crime that will make them a prohibited person, that is a felony. 15 year penalty in general and 25 for terrorism or drug trafficking.

To be honest I’d like to see human trafficking and armed robbery/aggravated assault added to the 25 year list.

FFL Employment Background Checks

In an odd little bonus, but one that makes sense, licensees (FFLs) will be able to use NICS on prospective employees, with informative consent of the prospect. NICS, if you do not know, may only be used by FFLs to conduct a check with the intention to transfer a firearm.

FFL Access to Stolen Firearms Database.

Finally!

If you were under the impression that a gun dealer could check the national database on stolen firearms to see if a firearm in their possession had been reported stolen, you’d be wrong. Is this stupid? Extremely. Literally the most likely point for reliably locating a stolen firearm and they had no way to check unless an LE organization communicated specific firearms to them to BOLO.

That’s two solid provisions in this bill.

Also, no liability is established if an FFL doesn’t catch a stolen firearm and it later turns out it was stolen. This covers down on inconsistent data or incomplete data entry into the stolen firearm information database, which is common. Basically no duty is established to check all transfers for being stolen but the ability to is finally there.

‘Dating Relationship’

One of the biggest questions, what would a ‘dating relationship’ be defined as outside cohabitation and/or having a child in common to be applied to misdemeanor DV convictions.

(A)“The term ‘dating relationship’ means a relationship between individuals who have or have recently had a continuing serious relationship of a romantic or intimate nature.

Okay, that’s specifically vague. I understand why, but I am always annoyed when a law has this much room for interpretation without hard numbers. This is dating and romance though, it is a variable topic.

“Whether a relationship constitutes a dating relationship under subparagraph (A) shall be determined based on consideration of – (i) length of the relationship; (ii) the nature of the relationship; (iii) and frequency and type of interaction between individuals involved in the relationship.”

Also specifically vague, but I do understand. This is to cover if adjudicators and not those involved in the relationship need to define the relationship, if one party says yes it was dating and the other says no it wasn’t and so forth. It will also only be applicable if there is an associated DV conviction with this determination.

‘‘(C) A casual acquaintanceship or ordinary fraternization in a business or social context does not constitute a dating relationship under subparagraph (A).’’

Cool. I suppose. Again this appears to be a very niche and nuanced determination if there is conflict between those involved on their definition of the relationship.

This will also only be applicable to convictions after date of enactment. This will still be subject to the provisions of expunged and set aside convictions which restore the firearm rights.

…and that is it.

That covers the bill. No attempt at “assault” weapons, magazines, mandatory wait periods (this one is procedural and dependent on state and local agency response times), or any other of the anti-gunner nonsense. No barrel shroud shoulder things that go up, no ‘all gun owners subject to yearly mandator mental health abuse’ (I mean “screening”), no social media scores, no mandatory licenses, no mandatory insurance, and no 1000% taxes.

I don’t like taking an L on anything when it comes to gun control, but I will be honest that this L could’ve been structured much worse and we would not be in a position to bring enough pressure to bear to block it. We would need to rely on FPC, ACLU, and other organizations to bring lawsuits against offending items in the law.

The NICS change, the most affrontary portion of the law that is changing, isn’t written as permanent. It has a decade test period for efficacy and will sunset unless renewed. With the annual reporting NICS will be delivering we should have the data pool to judge efficacy too, on whether or not this change has positively had an impact on interdicting impulary crimes of violence and improved our efforts on weapons trafficking. We should also see resulting reports out of the mental health resource funding and school security resources which comprise most of the bills substance.

In reality this gun control bill doesn’t touch a single gun, which means that, surprisingly enough, the legislators on both sides here actually tried to make this effective. I don’t know if it will be effective, I also don’t have any easily projectable data on plausible negative effects.

If this ends up passing as is, we can call it a near miss. Ideally, an annual renewal provision with evidentiary substantiation, instead of the decade currently written in, would be preferable if we are testing alterations to the NICS process. I’d additionally like to see the detail in records keeping and reforms to removing prohibited persons from NICS making certain that our reformative justice system is acting the part.

We’ll see where it ends up after the reading and amendment process.

As is, we don’t have to like it but it could be worse. After amending, this could be a much spicier dumpster fire.

Keith is the Editor-in-Chief of GAT Marketing Agency, Inc. editor@gatdaily.com A USMC Infantry Veteran and Small Arms and Artillery Technician, Keith covers the evolving training and technology from across the shooting industry. A Certified Instructor since 2009, he has taught concealed weapons courses in the West Michigan area in the years since and continues to pursue training and teaching opportunities as they arise.