New Bill Could Force Private Businesses To Facilitate Expanded
Gun Control Restrictions, Jeopardize Privacy of Gun Owners
U.S. Congressman Brian Mast (FL-18) today released the following statement after opposing H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021, which Democrats radically altered in an effort to substantially expand the power of the Attorney General to restrict access to firearms:
“Just because you give a bill the same name, doesn’t mean it’s the same bill. Since Congress last voted on background check legislation, the far-left has attempted to undermine the 2nd Amendment and intimidate law abiding gun owners out of exercising their Constitutional rights. Caving to this pressure from the far-left, the bill that House Democrats passed today is very different from background checks legislation I have supported in the past. Changes to this legislation have subverted the original purpose of the bill and dramatically expanded the power of unelected DC bureaucrats to unilaterally implement new gun control measures.”
Rep. Mast agreed to support expanded background checks in 2018 after safeguards were included in the legislation to prohibit the Attorney General from abusing the legislation to implement sweeping new gun control regulations. The bill passed today by the House of Representatives removed many of these protections, including:
- A provision prohibiting the Attorney General from requiring private businesses to facilitate firearm transfers. Under the new bill, the Attorney General could force private businesses to assist the federal government in implementing additional gun control restrictions.
- A provision prohibiting the Attorney General from placing a cap on the fee private businesses may charge to facilitate firearm transfers. Under the new bill, the Attorney General could not only force private businesses to participate in the federal government’s gun control program but also threatens to put gun sellers out of business by forcing them to provide the service for free.
- A provision prohibiting the Attorney General from requiring private firearms sellers to keep records on background checks. Under the new bill, the Attorney General could require private citizens to keep records that could violate the privacy rights of law-abiding firearms owners and later be used to establish a national firearms registry. Rep. Mast strongly opposes the creation of a national firearms registry.
Additionally, House Democrats removed a provision from the legislation that was added during debate in 2019 that would have required sellers to notify U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement if the purchaser of a firearm was in the United States illegally. Rep. Mast supported this provision and opposed its removal from the new version of the legislation.