“Shall not be infringed,” is clear and concise language, yet infringements exist at every level of government in our country. You can accidentally commit a felony just by driving on the interstate while following your own local laws. There’s no reason for gun laws to be so convoluted and hard to follow from state to state.
Mostly, they’re designed this way to create traps so local governments can have more control when and where they want it.
Well, not everyone in Congress shares this view, and FICRA is a new gun law on the table. Rather than trying to make it harder to own a gun, FICRA aims to simplify gun-control laws for the sake of freedom. Here’s what you need to know.
Some of you may recognize Representative Scalise’s name. He’s been a staunch supporter of the 2nd Amendment and gun rights for a long time. If that doesn’t ring a bell, you may know his name because he was shot just two years ago. He received one of the worst wounds when a rabid Bernie supporter opened fire on a peaceful Congressional baseball practice of Republicans. The gunshot that ripped through Representative Scalise’s body nearly killed him, and it left him with permanent damage.
It would be reasonable for any person to become bitter after such an experience. It would be normal for fear to change one’s perspective and inhibit their desire to continue to protect gun rights. That didn’t happen with Representative Scalise. He has never wavered, and he just wrote a new bill that would take an incremental step towards further protecting the rights of Americans to buy and sell firearms.
Scalise’s new bill is called the Firearms Interstate Commerce Reform Act (FICRA). It’s basic goal is to modernize how laws are applied to firearm sales that cross state lines. In order to understand what FICRA does, we first have to look at the current letter of the law.
Right now, firearms dealers are referred to as Federal Firearm Licensees (FFLs). This name refers to the license granted by the federal government to allow a business to legally engage in these sales. That’s the license a dealer will lose if they fail to follow NICS checks or any of the other hurdles placed at state and local levels.
One of the biggest obstacles with the current state of FFL regulation is applied to selling across state lines. Currently, it is illegal for a merchant to sell a firearm outside of a state where they have a registered place of business (or storefront). So, if you have a gun shop in Georgia, you can’t participate in a gun show in Florida. Additionally, merchants can only sell to customers who are residents of their same states. If you live in Georgia but have a vacation home in Florida, you can’t buy a gun in Florida to defend that temporary residence.
There are tons of minor pieces of legislation that perfectly convolute the exact nature of any particular sale, but this is the bulk of it, and one of the biggest arguments against the current law is that it inhibits the rights of service men and women. Someone in the military who is on a TDY assignment to another state currently can’t purchase a firearm while on assignment. That seems like a pretty obvious infringement.
FICRA aims to overcome this convoluted system by modernizing gun sales and bringing a golden standard to the process. Under FICRA, any arms dealer can sell in any state, as long as they obey the local laws. That seems pretty reasonable. Additionally, people can make purchases while out of state, as long as they obey local laws. It’s a simple solution to a problem that shouldn’t exist.
Another part of FICRA aims to modernize record keeping. Right now, a lot of local background checks and red tape involve direct conversations with chief law enforcement representatives. To buy a gun in Chicago, you might have to present your case directly to law enforcement. It’s a little ridiculous. FICRA contains provisions that automate many of these processes to streamline the entire purchasing ordeal. Just like the NICS system is automated and usually returns instantaneous results, FICRA would push state and local checks to match that level of efficiency.
Overall, FICRA is neck deep in the red tape of current gun laws. It’s not entirely ambitious, but every step we can take to standardize gun laws and protect fundamental rights is worth taking. With enough support, Scalise can probably push FICRA through Congress and help us take back a little ground in the endless fight to protect our freedom.