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New Jersey Senator, Cory Booker, Introduces Legislation to Further Gun Control with Individual Firearms Licenses

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This past Tuesday, New Jersey Senator and presidential candidate hopeful Cory Booker introduced the Federal Firearms Licensing Act (“FFLA”). As part of his presidential candidacy platform, Booker has made a big push for more restrictive laws surrounding firearms ownership and possession.

The FFLA would make it unlawful for a person to purchase or receive a firearm unless they have a valid federal firearms license. The only exception to this requirement would be a state-issued license that the Attorney General has determined has substantially the same requirements to obtain as the federal license proposed by this legislation.

In order to be eligible to receive a license under the FFLA, a person would need to complete firearms training (which includes a written test to demonstrate knowledge of applicable firearms laws, as well as hands-on testing to demonstrate safe use and sufficient accuracy). Additionally, the individual would have to submit to a background check, provide proof of their identity along with their fingerprints, and supply identifying information about the firearm to be obtained including the make, model, and serial number, as well as the identity of the transferor of the firearm.

The license would have to be approved or denied within a 30 day period, shall remain valid for the purchase of the identified firearm for a period of 30 days from the date of issuance, and expires five years from the date of issuance. Those who are denied a license may appeal to the federal district court which has jurisdiction for review. Applications for a license are to be provided to the relevant state and local authorities. The FFLA also requires the Attorney General to set up a renewal process which would require individuals to meet the same standard as those applying for a new license.

Licenses would be denied to those who are prohibited under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g) and (n). The bill also contains a provision for the Attorney General to deny licenses after receiving information from state or local officials that the applicant poses a significant danger of bodily injury to themselves or others by purchasing, possessing or receiving a firearm.

Relevant factors for consideration include: 1) history of threats or violence towards the applicant or others, 2) history of use, attempted use or threatened use of physical force by the applicant, 3) whether the applicant was subject to a restraining or protective order, 4) prior arrests, pending charges, or convictions for a violent or serious crime, disorderly offense, stalking or domestic violence, 5) prior arrests, pending charges, or convictions for cruelty to animals, 6) history of drug or alcohol abuse or trafficking, 7) recent acquisition of firearms, ammunition or other deadly weapons, 8) involvement in firearms trafficking or unlawful transfers, and 9) unsafe history of storing or handling firearms.

In addition to granting a license, the bill also provides a mechanism for the Attorney General to revoke a license. The FFLA requires the Attorney General to revoke a license if it is determined, among other things, the individual poses a significant danger of bodily injury to themselves or others by purchasing, possessing, or receiving a firearm. If a license is revoked, the individual is entitled to a hearing within 30 days at the district court. The bill also directs that the Attorney General set up procedures to ensure any firearm is removed from any person when their license is revoked. Firearms removed under this provision may only be returned if the person's license is reinstated.

The FFLA also abolishes private transfer, requiring any transfer to be done through a licensed dealer. In addition, the bill also makes it a crime for a person to sell or dispose of a firearm unless they notify the Attorney General, no later than three business days after the transaction. Individuals are also required to include identifying firearm information and who the transferee was.

“This bill is based on a very simple concept – if you need a license to drive a car, you should need a license to buy and possess a gun…” said Booker.

About the Author

Adam Kraut is the Director of Legal Strategy at Firearms Policy Coalition and a firearms law attorney. He hosts The Legal Brief, a show dedicated to crushing the various myths and misinformation around various areas of the gun world. He was also the general manager of a gun store in the suburbs of Philadelphia.

Instagram: @theadamkraut
Twitter: @theadamkraut

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