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Gun Control Legislation, February 3, 2011

Gun Control Legislation, February 3, 2011

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Published by Chuck Achberger

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Published by: Chuck Achberger on May 31, 2011
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CRS Report for Congress
Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress
Gun Control Legislation
William J. Krouse
Specialist in Domestic Security and Crime PolicyFebruary 3, 2011
Congressional Research Service
7-5700www.crs.govRL32842
 
Gun Control LegislationCongressional Research Service
Summary
Congress has debated the efficacy and constitutionality of federal regulation of firearms andammunition, with strong advocates arguing for and against greater gun control. The tragicshootings in Tucson, AZ, on January 8, 2011, in which six people were killed and 13 wounded,including Representative Gabrielle Giffords, could prompt the 112
th
Congress to examine issuesrelated to the shooter’s mental illness and drug use and his use of large capacity ammunitionfeeding devices (LCAFDs) (see H.R. 308 and S. 32), as well as a proposal to ban firearms withinthe proximity of certain high-level federal officials (see H.R. 496).This report provides basic firearms-related statistics, an overview of federal firearms law, and asummary of legislative action in the 111
th
Congress and selected legislative action in the 110
th
Congress that involved issues revisited in the 111
th
Congress. The report concludes with adiscussion of other salient issues that have generated significant congressional interest in the past,including the 1994-2004 LCAFD ban.During the 111
th
Congress, the gun control debate was colored by two key Supreme Courtfindings. In
 District of Columbia v. Heller 
, the Court found that the District of Columbia (DC)handgun ban violated an individual’s right under the Second Amendment to lawfully possess afirearm in his home for self-defense. In
 McDonald v. City of Chicago
, the Court found that anindividual right also applied to the states. The 111
th
Congress considered amendments to DCvoting rights bills that would have further overturned DC gun laws (S. 160 and H.R. 157),effectively scuttling the House bill. In addition, pro-gun Members passed several other gun-related provisions that were included in enacted legislation. These provisions address
 
carrying firearms on public lands (P.L. 111-24),
 
transporting firearms in passenger luggage on Amtrak (P.L. 111-117),
 
widening law enforcement off-duty concealed carry privileges (P.L. 111-272),and
 
prohibiting data collection on gun ownership or higher premiums for gun ownerswho are beneficiaries of healthcare wellness programs (P.L. 111-148).The 111
th
Congress reconsidered or newly considered several other provisions that were notenacted. These issues could re-emerge in the 112
th
Congress. These provisions address
 
veterans adjudicated as mentally incompetent and loss of gun rights (S. 669 andH.R. 6132),
 
firearms possession in public housing (H.R. 3045 and H.R. 4868),
 
interstate reciprocity of concealed carry privileges (S. 1390 and S. 845), and
 
the treatment of firearms under bankruptcy proceedings (H.R. 5827/S. 3654).Other salient and recurring gun control issues that have generated past congressional interestinclude (1) screening firearms background check applicants against terrorist watch lists; (2)reforming the regulation of federally licensed gun dealers; (3) requiring background checks forprivate firearms transfers at gun shows; (4) more-strictly regulating certain firearms previouslydefined in statute as “semiautomatic assault weapons”; and (5) banning or requiring theregistration of certain long-range .50 caliber rifles, which are commonly referred to as “sniper”rifles.
 
Gun Control LegislationCongressional Research Service
Contents
Recent Developments..................................................................................................................1
 
Legislative Action in the 111
th
Congress......................................................................................1
 
Background and Analysis............................................................................................................3
 
Pro/Con Debate.....................................................................................................................3
 
Gun-Related Statistics...........................................................................................................4
 
How Many Guns Are in the United States?......................................................................4
 
How Often Are Guns Used in Homicides?.......................................................................5
 
How Prevalent Are Gun-Related Fatalities?.....................................................................6
 
How Often Are Guns Used in Non-lethal Crimes?...........................................................8
 
How Often Are Firearms Used in Self-Defense?..............................................................8
 
What About the Recreational Use of Guns?.....................................................................9
 
Federal Regulation of Firearms...................................................................................................9
 
The National Firearms Act (NFA).........................................................................................9
 
The Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA)..................................................................................10
 
Firearms Transfer and Possession Eligibility.................................................................10
 
Licensed Dealers and Firearms Transfers.......................................................................10
 
Private Firearms Transfers.............................................................................................11
 
Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act.............................................................................11
 
Interim Provisions.........................................................................................................11
 
Permanent Provisions....................................................................................................12
 
POC and Non-POC States.............................................................................................13
 
Background Check Fee and Record Retention...............................................................13
 
Tucson Shootings......................................................................................................................14
 
Mental Illness and Drug Use as Prohibiting Factors.............................................................14
 
Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Devices.....................................................................15
 
Banning Firearms within the Proximity of Federal Officials................................................16
 
Legislative Action in the 111
th
and 110
th
Congresses..................................................................16
 
Constitutionality of DC Handgun Ban and Related Legislation............................................16
 
DC Council Passes Emergency Law..............................................................................16
 
Legislation Related to DC Gun Laws............................................................................17
 
DC Council Passes Permanent Legislation....................................................................18
 
DC Voting Rights and Gun Laws in the 111
th
Congress..................................................18
 
Constitutionality of the Chicago Handgun Ban....................................................................19
 
Public Lands and Firearms Possession and Use...................................................................19
 
Amtrak Passengers and Firearms.........................................................................................20
 
Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act Amendments............................................................21
 
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and Firearms.....................................................21
 
NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007.....................................................................23
 
Veterans, Mental Incompetency, and Firearms Eligibility.....................................................24
 
Mental Defective Adjudications....................................................................................25
 
VA Referrals to the FBI.................................................................................................25
 
Public Housing and Firearms Possession and Use................................................................26
 
Concealed Carry and Reciprocity........................................................................................27
 
Bankruptcy and Firearms....................................................................................................27
 
ATF Appropriations and Southwest Border Gun Trafficking................................................28
 

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