Summary: S.49 — 99th Congress (1985-1986)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed House amended (04/10/1986)

(Measure passed House, amended, in lieu of H.R. 4332)

Firearms Owners' Protection Act - Amends the Gun Control Act of 1968 to redefine "gun dealer," excluding those making occasional sales or repairs. Exempts certain activities involving ammunition from current prohibitions.

Permits the interstate sale of rifles and shotguns, provided: (1) the transferee and transferor meet in person to accomplish the transfer; and (2) such sale complies with the laws of both States. Presumes the licensee to have actual knowledge of the laws of both States.

Repeals certain recordkeeping requirements for the sale of ammunition (but retaining such requirements for armor-piercing ammunition).

Revises the current prohibition against the sale of firearms or ammunition to certain categories of individuals by: (1) prohibiting such sales by all persons (current law covers only licensees); and (2) including as additional categories illegal aliens, dishonorably discharged members of the armed forces, and U.S. citizens who renounce their citizenship. Extends the prohibition against shipping firearms or ammunition in interstate or foreign commerce to include such individuals.

Makes it unlawful, with certain exceptions, for any individual to transfer or possess a machinegun.

Excludes pawnbrokers dealing in ammunition from current licensing requirements. Declares that a licensed dealer's personal collection of firearms shall not be subject to recordkeeping requirements in specified circumstances.

Permits the Secretary of the Treasury to revoke a license only where the holder "willfully" violates a provision of this Act. Bars the Secretary from denying or revoking a license based on violations which are alleged in criminal proceedings in which the licensee has been acquitted. Allows the Government to voluntarily dismiss such charges before trial and still proceed with revocation.

Requires the Secretary to obtain a warrant, based on reasonable cause, to examine a licensed importer's, dealer's, or manufacturer's records, firearms, or ammunition. Provides certain exceptions from the warrant requirement, including a permissible annual inspection to ensure compliance with the recordkeeping requirements.

Requires licensed collectors to maintain records of the receipt, sale, or other disposition of firearms.

Requires all licensees to report all multiple firearms sales.

Requires records maintained by a licensee who has discontinued business to be delivered to the Secretary.

Allows the Secretary to require additional recordkeeping and reports when necessary.

Permits licensed importers, manufacturers, and dealers to conduct business at temporary locations other than the one specified on a license (for example, gun shows).

Establishes either a "knowing" (scienter) or "willful" requirement with respect to general violations of this Act. Makes it a misdemeanor for any licensee to knowingly violate the recordkeeping requirements of this Act.

Imposes additional penalties, under certain circumstances, for: (1) the use of a firearm during certain drug trafficking crimes; (2) the use of a machinegun during the commission of a crime; and (3) the use of a firearm equipped with a silencer during the commission of a crime.

Amends the forfeiture provision to require that a firearm be "involved in or used" (instead of "involved in or used or intended to be used") in a knowing violation of the Gun Control Act. Directs the court to award attorney fees to the prevailing party (other than the United States) in such forfeiture actions.

Imposes a mandatory sentence of not less than 15 years imprisonment and a fine of not more than $25,000 for individuals with three or more prior convictions of robbery or burglary who are convicted of illegally shipping firearms in interstate or foreign commerce. Prohibits the court from: (1) suspending such sentence; or (2) granting parole or probation.

Permits any person prohibited from possessing, shipping, transporting, or receiving firearms or ammunition to apply to the Secretary for relief from such prohibition. Permits any person denied such relief to seek de novo judicial relief in Federal court.

Makes the authority of the Secretary to permit the importation of certain types of firearms nondiscretionary. Makes it unlawful to import any frame, receiver, or barrel of a firearm which, if assembled, would be prohibited.

Amends the rulemaking authority of the Secretary to provide that no regulation may require: (1) the transfer of records required under this Act to a facility owned, managed, or controlled by the United States or any State; or (2) the establishment of any system of registration of firearms, firearm owners, or firearm transactions. Requires a 90-day public comment period for proposed regulations.

Prohibits the Secretary from prescribing regulations which require purchasers of black powder to complete affidavits or forms attesting to their exemption from certain provisions of the Federal criminal code.

Permits the interstate transportation of unloaded firearms by any person not prohibited by Federal law from such transportation regardless of any State law or regulation.

Imposes additional penalties for the use of armor-piercing ammunition during the commission of certain drug trafficking crimes.

Amends the National Firearms Act to include within the definition of "machinegun" any part designed and intended solely and exclusively for use in converting a weapon to a machinegun. (Current law includes only a "combination of parts" within such definition.)