The Obama administration showed it is wasting no time implementing President Obama’s executive orders on gun control.
According to The Hill, on Friday Attorney General Eric Holder released three proposals to strengthen the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The proposal would give local law enforcement agencies access to the gun-sales database currently maintained by the FBI. The new proposed rules would also preserve records of denied weapons sales indefinitely.
Right now, law enforcement agencies cannot perform a NICS check when transferring, returning or selling weapons that have been confiscated, seized or recovered. And while the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act already requires federal background checks for gun purchases, not every firearm sale is covered under the law. The new rules proposed by Holder change that.
Attorney General Holder is also proposing that the NICS retain records of denied weapon sales that are more than 10 years old. “The FBI has therefore determined that for NICS’ own internal business operations, litigation and prosecution purposes, and proper administration of the system, NICS shall retain denied transaction records on site,” Holder wrote in a notice to be published in Monday’s Federal Register. “The retention of denied transaction information … will enhance the efficiency and operational capability of the NICS.”
President Obama ordered the rule change in a January 16th memo that called for rulemaking to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.”
The proposed changes don’t stop there. The Department of Justice also proposed giving Native American tribes access to NICS. Currently only federal, state, or local agencies can perform background checks.
The rules are not yet final. The public has until March 28th to weigh in, at which point the Department of Justice can revise or put the rules for final passage.
While it may not seem like much, these are important first steps in addressing the way in which we have so inadequately tracked the very dangerous weapons trade in this country. While the right wants to spin this legislative fight as one of “taking guns away” the reality is this is about regulating the business of weapons in this country.
Changes in individual behavior may flow from marketplace reforms, but these proposed regulations are designed to get at the sellers — those who profit off death and violence and who fuel paranoia to push market share. The right may twist and turn the facts every which way they can, but it does not change this fundamental truth — gun control advocates plan to reform the weapons industry and marketplace. And if NRA stooges want to defend that marketplace then they should, out in the open and away from the boogeyman of “taking guns” and “individual rights.”
So far that’s a fight they’ve been too scared to pick.
Photo from ryanjreilly via flickr.