Congress Looks To Slow Internet Gun Sales

As the U.S. Congress returned to work Monday, gun control legislation topped the House of Representatives’ agenda. Several of the measures before the House could have an impact on a growing, though quiet, e-commerce sector: gun and ammo trafficking.

While the House this week takes up safety measures such as background checks and waiting periods for buyers and child safety locks for the guns themselves, three other bills waiting in the wings look to close “loopholes” in current gun laws that make it easier for buyers to hide their identities by shopping on the Internet. In the wake of gun-related tragedies in Georgia and Colorado schools this spring, the U.S. Congress is highly energized to display a tougher stance on sales of guns to minors.

However, tackling the Internet, which has already proven difficult to police, will present a distinct challenge for the ambitious legislators. Two bills before the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Crime specifically address the Internet’s role in the illegal sale of guns in the United States.

Internet As “Loophole”

The bill with the best shot of making progress this year is the Internet Gun Trafficking Act of 1999. Introduced by Bobby Rush, a Democrat from Illinois, H.R. 1245 has co-sponsorship from 19 other members of the House. An identical companion bill, S.637, has been introduced in the Senate by New York Democrat Charles Shumer.

The bills would make it unlawful for any person who is not a licensed firearm manufacturer, importer, or dealer to sell or exchange a firearm via an Internet website. Violations of the provision would be subject to criminal penalties.

“Right now gun sales take place on the Internet with no checks and balances. An illegal gun dealer can simply have his name, address, and telephone number listed on a web site, making himself available for contact by an unlicensed gun purchaser,” Rush said when he introduced his bill. Noting it is designed to eliminate the Internet “loophole,” Rush said, “No longer will unlicensed dealers and buyers have a free reign and easy access on the Internet.”

Shumer, who teamed with Rush to try to push legislation through both houses at once, added, “The Internet affords computer users — including children and felons — easier-than-ever access to individuals offering firearms for sale…Unlike firearms sales at gun dealerships and even gun shows, illegal Internet firearms sales occur ‘sight unseen,’ thus presenting significant enforcement challenges for federal, state and local authorities.”

Bullets Too

Another bill in the House, also introduced by a Congressman from Illinois, would address sales of ammo. H.R.87, presented by Democrat Rod Blagojevich, would amend the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act to prohibit anyone other than a licensed firearms dealer from shipping or transporting ammunition in interstate or foreign commerce. The bill would also require each licensee to report on sales or other dispositions of 1,000 or more rounds of ammunition to the same person in one day.

All three bills have been referred to committees for consideration, but no further action on any of them has yet been scheduled. The fate of the larger gun control measures examined this week in the House may dictate the future of more specific measures such as the Internet gun sale bills.

2 Comments

  • …..continued

    Therefore it is not as simple as all these individuals make it sound. And if there is a waiting period then that buyer must wait the number of days. If you think about it the only people that these useless gun laws affect are the law-abiding citizens. If an individual is willing to commit a murder do you really think he would think twice about committing robbery to acquire that firearm? I’m not one to point out the problems and provide no solutions. In order to operate a vehicle you are able to take drivers Ed in most high schools, correct? Why don’t they provide every student with a firearms safety course? Education is the key. To own a firearm is a right yet most schools don’t provide safety classes. To drive a vehicle is merely a privilege and we offer courses on that. Before anyone jumps on the reply button do a little research and see how many people are killed, maimed or brutally injured a year in vehicle accidents and then you tell me how many are killed by guns in a year. A vehicle cuts thousands of lives short each year but I haven’t heard of any bans on them. I’ll give up my car, will you? Just think, everyone would be healthier and the environment would be more improved. But that’s just me…

  • First of all, the brain surgeons that are passing these bills for gun control probably have never even fired a gun let alone purchased one. This article is extremely inaccurate and obviously whoever wrote it just took a couple of notes and then threw a bunch of words on a piece of paper.

    First of all, if you purchase a gun on the internet the weapon is not shipped directly to the person buying it. That definitely would not have been a hard one to research.

    A person shipping a gun must send it to a FFL holder, which stands for Federal Firearms License, whoever wrote this story. A FFL holder would be someone who owns a gun shop or is [BOLD] FEDERALLY [BOLD] approved/allowed to sell guns. Therefore, If I were to sell the ignorant individual whom wrote this article a gun, that person would have to go to a local FFL holder and have them send me a signed copy of their FFL license. Upon receiving the signed FFL copy I would then place the firearm in the mail – (proper shipping channels apply but I don’t have the time to educate all the ignorant people about everything). That means that the weapon is shipped to the FFL, remember, that’s FEDERAL FIREARMS LICENSE, holder. Upon receiving the weapon that FFL holder places a call to the fine individual supporting the second AM endment and the reason we are not all speaking with British accents to this day. I can also provide history lessons if no one understands the last comment. I have the time. This individual comes to the FFL holder where he then completes the transaction by doing a BACKGROUND CHECK ON THE BUYER….

    continued……below

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