For the second straight year, legislation has been introduced in Congress to create a code of conduct for FFLs. Despite being titled the “Firearm Retailer Code of Conduct Act of 2021” (US HR 5678), the bill also targets licensed firearm manufacturers and importers and their employees.
Headlining the bill is the creation of a training course on the conduct of firearm transfers. Topics covered in the course would include how to recognize straw purchasers, how to recognize indicators an individual intends to use a firearm for unlawful purposes and self-harm, and how to prevent theft or burglary of firearms and ammunition. Completion of the course – a minimum 20-question exam – would be required annually of all FFL employees authorized to engage in the transfer of firearms or ammunition with certificates issued and tracked in a new government database accessible by the ATF and Federal, state and local law enforcement.
The bill would also require firearm licensees to visibly display indicators of straw purchasing and gun trafficking at all point of sale terminals, maintain general business and liability insurance to provide coverage for damages relating to the negligent or unlawful transfer of a firearm in an amount of at least $1 million, and secure each firearm by means of a security device. Violators of the provisions would be subject to license suspension up to 6 months or revocation.
Taylor Rhodes, executive director of Colorado NRA affiliate Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, believes the bill is just another example of government overreach.
“Many of the items detailed in this bill are already standard practice in gun shops and ranges across our state,” said Rhodes. “I would encourage Rep. Crow to visit a gun shop in his district; maybe then he would realize he is trying to solve a problem that doesn’t exist.”
First introduced by former Florida Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell in 2020, this year’s bill is sponsored by Colorado representative and 2020 bill co-sponsor, Jason Crow. After losing her seat, Mucarsel-Powell now serves as a senior adviser for gun control advocacy group, Giffords, who support the latest legislation.
As with all federal firearm legislation, US HR 5678 faces an uphill challenge. Follow Orchid for more state and federal updates and contact us for on-call FFL compliance and legal services from attorneys at FFL Law.