Washington (June 12, 2019) –Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Representative Jim Langevin (RI-01) today re-introduced the Keeping Gun Dealers Honest Act, legislation that would strengthen accountability measures for irresponsible gun dealers and provide the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) with additional resources for enforcement.
While the majority of gun dealers follow the law, a small number of delinquent gun dealers perpetuate the epidemic of gun violence by selling guns to straw purchasers, gun traffickers and other dangerous individuals; falsifying sales records; and selling guns “off the books.” In fact, as little as five percent of gun dealers supply about 90 percent of all guns used in crimes. This bicameral legislation would ensure that guns do not end up in the wrong hands by authorizing more frequent inspections of gun dealers, increasing penalties for serious offenses, and strengthening the Department of Justice’s authority and discretion in enforcing gun laws.
“Holding accountable gun dealers who engage in illegal sales practices is a key component of any strategy to reduce the senseless gun violence plaguing our communities,” said Senator Markey. “By increasing inspections and penalties, we can decrease the number of guns falling into the hands of those who should not have them. We need to strengthen accountability measures and equip federal authorities with the tools to enforce the law so that we may prevent further gun violence from taking innocent lives.”
“The Keeping Gun Dealers Honest Act will help put an end to illegal gun sales and reduce gun violence,” said Congressman Langevin, a member of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. “The small number of gun dealers that sell guns without background checks or falsify records are endangering their communities by supplying the vast majority of crime guns. By providing law enforcement with the tools needed to crack down on these bad actors, we will help prevent guns from falling into the wrong hands and protect innocent lives. I look forward to working with Senator Markey to advance this common-sense gun safety bill.”
Among other provisions, the Keeping Gun Dealers Honest Act would increase the allowable number of ATF inspections of firearms dealers from one to three per year; increase the number of ATF inspectors; strengthen criminal penalties for dealers who knowingly violate the law by committing serious record-keeping offenses that aid gun trafficking; permit ATF some discretion in issuing firearm dealer licenses; and provide the ATF with more flexibility in determining sanctions to ensure the punishment really does fit the crime.
A copy of the legislation can be found HERE.
Other House members co-sponsoring the legislation include U.S. Representatives Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Mike Quigley (D-IL), Ro Khanna (D-CA), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Gwen Moore (D-WI), Rep. Robin Kelly (D-IL), Stephen Lynch (D-MA), and Hank Johnson (D-GA).
Other Senators co-sponsoring the legislation include Chris Murphy (D-CT.), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Patty Murray (D-WA.), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Jack Reed (D-RI), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Tina Smith (D-MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Ben Cardin (D-MD).
The legislation is supported by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and Everytown for Gun Safety.
“Brady is proud to support Rep. Langevin and Sen. Markey in their efforts to pass the Keeping Gun Dealers Honest Act,” said Kris Brown, President of Brady. “It's terrifying to realize that only five percent of dealers supply 90 percent of crime guns. Most gun dealers follow the law, but unfortunately, bad actors put profits over people when they fail to perform background checks or sell to people who shouldn’t own guns. It's time to strengthen accountability measures for gun dealers who engage in illegal sales practices.”
“This bill is the definition of common sense: When the ATF has more tools to hold irresponsible gun dealers accountable, fewer guns will fall into dangerous hands and be used in crimes,” said John Feinblatt, President of Everytown for Gun Safety. “We applaud Representative Langevin and Senator Markey for empowering law enforcement to fulfill their first duty: Keeping Americans safe from harm.