The Governor did not sign or veto this legislation which enabled the bill to become law as of June 1, 2023 with an effective date of July 1, 2023. July 1 will see a host of new laws going into effect in various States across the nation, several of which will impact Federal Firearms Licensees in various ways. While July 1 is a common day on the calendar to look at general legislative changes applicable to everyone, below is a small subset of new laws that are applicable to the firearms industry effective 7/1/23:
HB 7063 was signed by the Governor on May 25, 2023. Contained within the bill’s hundreds of new tax provisions is Section 24 which amended Florida Statutes Section 212.08 by adding paragraph (ttt) to subsection (7). This provision exempts from taxes imposed by Chapter 212 the sale of: “A firearm safe, firearm lockbox, firearm case, or other device that is designed to be used to store a firearm and that is designed to be unlocked only by means of a key, a combination, or other similar means” and “A firearm trigger lock or firearm cable lock that, when installed on a firearm, is designed to prevent the firearm from being operated without first deactivating the device and that is designed to be unlocked only by means of a key, a combination, or other similar means.”
Also effective July 1, 2023 is Louisiana SB 56 although the effect of this bill will not be felt until September 1, 2023. That is because this bill reinstated the Second Amendment sales tax holiday which occurs the first consecutive Friday through Sunday of September.
SB 294 was passed into law June 14, 2023. Effective July 1, 2023, Section 4 of the bill requires all licensed dealers to “[p]rovide with each firearm sold or otherwise transferred a locking device capable of securing the firearm”. Antique firearms and curio & relics are excluded. Additionally, dealers must post on their premises in a conspicuous location a sign no smaller than 8.5” x 11” containing text no smaller than 24 point bold-faced font that reads:
Negligent storage of a firearm may result in imprisonment or fine.
Violation of these provisions may subject dealers to a misdemeanor conviction and fine of up to $500.
H. 230 was passed by the legislature and delivered to the Governor in May. The Governor did not sign or veto this legislation which enabled the bill to become law as of June 1, 2023 with an effective date of July 1, 2023. This bill contains a number of provisions, although two in particular stand out as impactful to the industry for FFLs both within and outside the State of Vermont.
First and foremost, Section 7 of the bill adds to the law 13 V.S.A. 4019a. This section adds a waiting period between the time of application to purchase a firearm and when a purchaser may receive the firearm, the specific length of which depends upon the response provided by NICS. A dealer may not transfer a firearm to a purchaser “until 72 hours after the licensed dealer facilitating the transfer is provided with a unique identification number for the transfer by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).” If the dealer is not provided with a number approving the transfer, the dealer may not transfer the firearm until “seven business days have elapsed since the dealer contacted NICS to initiate the background check.” These waiting periods would also apply to an FFL outside of Vermont transferring a long gun to a Vermont resident over the counter.
There are important exclusions to note. Should the transfer be exempt from the background check mandated by 18 USC 922(t) and 13 V.S.A. 4019 (e.g., “CCW exemption”, or transfer of an NFA firearm from dealer to consumer), the waiting periods do not apply. And until July 1, 2024 the waiting periods do not apply to transfers occurring at gun shows.
Section 3 of the bill requires dealers to post a certain sign at any area in which the dealer is conducting firearms transfers (i.e., on their premises or at a gun show location) and an additional sign at an entrance to the FFL’s premises. The sign must be at least 8.5” x 11” in size and “shall contain black text at least half an inch high against a white background”. The text must read:
“WARNING: Access to a firearm in the home significantly increases the risk of suicide; death during domestic violence disputes; and the unintentional death of children, household members, and others. If you or a loved one is experiencing distress or depression, call the 988 Suicide and Crisis hotline or text “VT” to 741741.
Failure to securely store firearms may result in criminal prosecution. It is important that the owner of a firearm seek firearm safety instructions from a certified firearms instructor and keep firearms secured from unauthorized use.
Posted pursuant to 13 V.S.A. § 4024.”
It’s imperative for FFLs to keep abreast of changes in the law as violation may result in fines or loss of livelihood. Although January 1 and July 1 are common dates on the calendar for new laws to go into effect, in many States laws that impose new requirements upon FFLs or introduce product prohibitions may go into effect at any time of the year. Though new “assault weapons” bans are widely publicized, more discrete changes like new postings requirements or safety device with transfer requirements may not receive such attention and still introduce opportunity for significant fines. It is important to have a source for such information and have a plan to track new legislative activity.