As our viewers are aware, although 18 U.S.C. § 925(c) provides for federal firearm relief determinations, since 1992, the ATF’s appropriation bill – which has been enacted each year thereafter – has provided a restriction on ATF’s use of any of the appropriate money for federal firearms relief determinations. As I reported in 2015, an amendment to the 2016 appropriations bill – H.R. 2578 – was passed, which provided for funding of federal firearm relief determinations. Thereafter, the bill, as amended, was passed by the entire House of Representatives. Unfortunately, due to the late nature of the House passing the bill, when it was received by the Senate, the Senate gutted all the language and replaced it with the language from an appropriations bill that it was working on in the interim. The Senate’s version was later passed by the House, including the provision precluding ATF’s usage of the appropriated money for federal firearms relief determinations.
The House is now working on an appropriations bill for 2018 and although it has been reported to include pro-Second Amendment provisions (which it does and are discussed below), the one provision which has not been modified, is the restriction on the appropriated money being used for federal firearms relief determination. Specifically, it provides that
Provided, That none of the funds appropriated herein shall be available to investigate or act upon applications for relief from Federal firearms disabilities under section 925(c) of title 18, United States Code
Accordingly, I am respectfully requesting that you contact your U.S Representatives and demand that the language in the Fiscal Year 2018 Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations Bill be amended to remove the restriction on ATF utilizing the appropriated money for federal firearms relief determinations. In the alternative, if your Representatives push back regarding the cost, then I would respectfully suggest that the language be modified to:
Provided, That none of the funds appropriated herein shall be available to investigate or act upon applications for relief from Federal firearms disabilities under section 925(c) of title 18, United States Code; however, nothing shall preclude an individual from funding his/her own application for relief from Federal firearms disabilities under section 925(c); whereby, the cost to the individual shall not exceed $1,000.00
As this strikes a balance between allowing federal firearms relief determinations to be made and the cost being born by the prohibited person, it is hard to fathom what objection anyone would have to this language.
In relation to the pro-Second Amendment provisions included in the current version of the Fiscal Year 2018 Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations Bill, it would:
- Ban the use of funds for the program launched under the Obama administration to require federally licensed firearm dealers in Southwestern Border States to report certain rifle sales to the U.S. government;
- Permanently defund any form of unmonitored “gun walking” operations involved in U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry’s death;
- Effectively block the implementation of the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty;
- Permanently block any attempt by anti-gun groups within the ATF to implement a highly restrictive framework on the importability of shotguns (i.e. any shotgun that was importable before the release of ATF’s 2011 shotgun importability study could not be reclassified as “non-sporting” and therefore banned from importation); and,
- Promote the importation of collectible “curio and relic” firearms and facilitate export of certain firearm parts valued at $500 or less to persons in Canada.
Accordingly, please join us in supporting the Fiscal Year 2018 Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations Bill, while demanding that the language restricting federal firearms relief determinations be removed.