January 9, 2018 - Issue: Vol. 164, No. 5 — Daily Edition115th Congress (2017 - 2018) - 2nd Session
SECURING DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY FIREARMS ACT OF 2017; Congressional Record Vol. 164, No. 5
(House of Representatives - January 09, 2018)
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[Pages H50-H51] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] SECURING DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY FIREARMS ACT OF 2017 Mr. FITZPATRICK. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the bill (H.R. 4433) to amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to require the Under Secretary for Management of the Department of Homeland Security to achieve security of sensitive assets among the components of the Department of Homeland Security, and for other purposes, as amended. The Clerk read the title of the bill. The text of the bill is as follows: H.R. 4433 Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE. This Act may be cited as the ``Securing Department of Homeland Security Firearms Act of 2017'' or the ``Securing DHS Firearms Act of 2017''. SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS. In this Act: (1) Department.--The term ``Department'' means the Department of Homeland Security. (2) Lost.--The term ``lost'' includes loss by theft. (3) Sensitive assets.--The term ``sensitive assets'' means any asset, regardless of value-- (A) that the Department of Homeland Security issues to a Department employee; and (B) that either the Under Secretary for Management of the Department or a component head determines requires special control and accounting. (4) Under secretary for management.--The term ``Under Secretary for Management'' means the Under Secretary for Management of the Department of Homeland Security. SEC. 3. INCLUSION OF SECURING FIREARMS AND OTHER SENSITIVE ASSETS IN RESPONSIBILITIES OF UNDER SECRETARY FOR MANAGEMENT. Section 701 of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (6 U.S.C. 341) is amended-- (1) in subsection (a)(6), by inserting ``(including firearms and other sensitive assets)'' after ``equipment''; (2) by redesignating the second subsection (e) (relating to the definition of interoperable communications) as subsection (f); and (3) by amending such redesignated subsection (f) to read as follows: ``(f) Definitions.--In this section: ``(1) Interoperable communications.--The term `interoperable communications' has the meaning given such term in section 7303(g) of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (6 U.S.C. 194(g)). ``(2) Sensitive assets.--The term `sensitive assets' means any asset, regardless of value-- ``(A) that the Department of Homeland Security issues to a Department employee; and ``(B) that either the Under Secretary for Management of the Department or a component head determines requires special control and accounting.''. SEC. 4. MANAGEMENT DIRECTIVE. (a) Safeguarding Firearms and Sensitive Assets Directive.-- (1) In general.--Not later than 120 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Under Secretary for Management shall develop and disseminate a Department-wide directive for achieving adequate security over firearms and other sensitive assets across the Department. (2) Contents.--The directive required under subsection (a) shall, at a minimum, include the following: (A) Descriptions of what equipment, in addition to firearms, is classified as a sensitive asset for the purpose of carrying out this Act. (B) Requirements for securing Department-issued firearms and other sensitive assets. (C) A classification system for all categories of Department-issued badges and corresponding requirements for safeguarding such assets. (D) Reporting requirements for lost firearms and other sensitive assets, including timelines for such reporting, to supervisors, local law enforcement, the Federal Bureau of Investigation's National Crime Information Center, and Department headquarters. (E) Recordkeeping requirements for lost firearms and other sensitive assets in inventory systems, including a timeline for recording such losses. (3) Review and update of directive.--Not later than one year after the issuance of the directive required under subsection (a) the Under Secretary for Management shall review and update, as necessary, such directive, including adding a requirement relating to recording in the inventory systems maintained by each component of the Department the acceptance or transfer of a firearm or other sensitive asset by such component. (b) Personal Property Asset Management Program Manual.-- Together with the issuance of the directive pursuant to subsection (a), the Under Secretary for Management shall disseminate a revised version of the Personal Property Asset Management Program Manual that includes the following: (1) Requirements for component heads to develop procedures to safeguard firearms and other sensitive assets during on and off-duty time. (2) Requirements for the issuance of safety locking devices and policies on the use of such assets, as applicable. (3) Requirements for initial, recurrent, and remedial training on safeguarding such assets. (4) Examples, with detail, of how to report and record lost sensitive assets across components of the Department, and an enforcement mechanism to ensure supervisors maintain such records. (5) A requirement that the file maintained on a lost firearm or other sensitive asset contains both the corresponding police report and the Department report detailing the circumstances surrounding such loss, including information on adherence to safeguarding procedures. SEC. 5. COMPONENT RESPONSIBILITIES. Department component heads shall-- (1) comply with Federal law, Federal regulations, executive branch guidance, and Department policy, including directives required by this Act, relating to the management and oversight of securing firearms and other sensitive assets; (2) review the need for non-law enforcement badges; (3) require component personnel to safeguard firearms and other sensitive assets in accordance with the directive issued by the Under Secretary for Management under section 4; (4) require that component personnel adhere to the procedures and timelines for properly reporting to supervisors lost firearms and other sensitive assets; (5) require that lost firearms and other sensitive assets are reported to local law enforcement, the Federal Bureau of Investigation's National Crime Information Center, and Department headquarters in the timeframe established in such directive; and (6) require that lost firearms and other sensitive assets are recorded in inventory systems in the timeframe established by such directive. SEC. 6. INSPECTOR GENERAL REVIEW. The Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security shall, on an ongoing basis, review implementation of this Act and, not later than 180 days after issuance of the directive under section 4, submit to the Committee on Homeland Security of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate a review of the progress and effectiveness of such directive, including an assessment of the adequacy of such directive, as well as the level of compliance among the components of the Department to achieve adequate security of sensitive assets across Department components. The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Fitzpatrick) and the gentleman from California (Mr. Correa) each will control 20 minutes. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Pennsylvania. General Leave Mr. FITZPATRICK. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members have 5 legislative days within which to revise and extend their remarks and include any extraneous material on the bill under consideration. The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Pennsylvania? There was no objection. Mr. FITZPATRICK. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.R. 4433, the Securing Department of Homeland Security Firearms Act of 2017. A recent report by the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General, entitled, ``DHS' Controls Over Firearms and Other Sensitive Assets,'' found that, between fiscal year 2014 and fiscal year 2016, personnel from DHS and its components misplaced a total of 2,142 highly sensitive assets, including 228 firearms and 1,889 badges. [[Page H51]] DHS is charged with the safety of our Nation and its citizens. The OIG report indicates that not only are there some DHS personnel not being held accountable for failing to safeguard their sensitive assets, they are also not receiving proper training on how to properly safeguard and keep track of such equipment. Given the importance of DHS' mission, this is unacceptable, Mr. Speaker. H.R. 4433 follows the OIG's recommendations and requires DHS' Under Secretary for Management to promulgate a departmentwide directive to DHS personnel aimed at achieving adequate security over DHS firearms and other sensitive assets. H.R. 4433 mandates that this directive include descriptions of what equipment is classified as a sensitive asset, requirements for securing Department-issued sensitive assets, and recordkeeping requirements for reporting lost or stolen firearms and other assets. H.R. 4433 also requires DHS to update its Personal Property Asset Management Program Manual to include procedures and training on how to safeguard assets, both on and off duty, in accordance with the directive. Mr. Speaker, I urge all Members to join me in supporting this bill, and I reserve the balance of my time. Mr. CORREA. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume. I rise in support of H.R. 4433, the Securing Department of Homeland Security Firearms Act of 2017. Mr. Speaker, DHS is a diverse Department that has the distinction of being the largest law enforcement agency in the Federal Government. To help support its critical mission, DHS must maintain and safeguard a variety of sensitive law enforcement equipment, such as firearms, ammunition, and badges. DHS equipment in the wrong hands could result in loss of life. According to an October 2017 report issued by the DHS Office of Inspector General, the Department does not have adequate requirements to safeguard its sensitive assets. Approximately 2,100 highly sensitive assets were lost between 2014 and 2016. In response to the report, my legislation requires DHS to develop and implement policies to secure firearms and other sensitive DHS equipment at the Department. This security measure requires the Under Secretary of Management to disseminate a departmentwide directive that includes requirements for securing firearms and sensitive DHS equipment, as well as reporting these requirements. This measure outlines the responsibilities to properly safeguard firearms and sensitive assets in accordance with the directive and requires personnel to properly report lost firearms and equipment. This measure was unanimously approved by the Committee on Homeland Security last month and will help foster greater accountability and security within DHS, and I urge passage of this measure. Mr. Speaker, in closing, my legislation is intended to advance the critical mission of DHS by ensuring that firearms and sensitive assets are properly safeguarded and maintained. In my home State of California, in 2015, a 27-year-old, Antonio Ramos, was shot and killed with an ICE agent's stolen 9-millimeter weapon. According to the DHS OIG, failures to safeguard important equipment and assets are still not being properly addressed. Given DHS' mission, it is essential that the DHS workforce prioritize and properly protect the equipment that is critical to their mission. Mr. Speaker, I urge passage of this measure, and I yield back the balance of my time. Mr. FITZPATRICK. Mr. Speaker, I, once again, urge my colleagues to support H.R. 4433, and I yield back the balance of my time. The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Fitzpatrick) that the House suspend the rules and pass the bill, H.R. 4433, as amended. The question was taken; and (two-thirds being in the affirmative) the rules were suspended and the bill, as amended, was passed. A motion to reconsider was laid on the table. ____________________