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US Congressional Research Service (CRS) Report: Gun Control Legislation (2012)

US Congressional Research Service (CRS) Report: Gun Control Legislation (2012)

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Published by wmartin46
Summary

This report also includes discussion of other salient and recurring gun control issues that have generated past or current congressional interest. Those issues include (1) screening firearms background check applicants against terrorist watch lists, (2) combating gun trafficking and straw purchases, (3) reforming the regulation of federally licensed gun dealers, (4) requiring background checks for private firearms transfers at gun shows, (5) more-strictly regulating certain firearms previously defined in statute as “semiautomatic assault weapons,” and (6) banning or
requiring the registration of certain long-range .50 caliber rifles, which are commonly referred to as “sniper” rifles. To set these and other emerging issues in context, this report provides basic firearms-related statistics, an overview of federal firearms law, and a summary of legislative action in the 111th and 112th Congresses.
Summary

This report also includes discussion of other salient and recurring gun control issues that have generated past or current congressional interest. Those issues include (1) screening firearms background check applicants against terrorist watch lists, (2) combating gun trafficking and straw purchases, (3) reforming the regulation of federally licensed gun dealers, (4) requiring background checks for private firearms transfers at gun shows, (5) more-strictly regulating certain firearms previously defined in statute as “semiautomatic assault weapons,” and (6) banning or
requiring the registration of certain long-range .50 caliber rifles, which are commonly referred to as “sniper” rifles. To set these and other emerging issues in context, this report provides basic firearms-related statistics, an overview of federal firearms law, and a summary of legislative action in the 111th and 112th Congresses.

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Published by: wmartin46 on Jan 23, 2013
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For FY2013, the Administration has
requested $1.153 billion for ATF. Although
this amount reflects a net increase of about
$1.3 million, the FY2013 request includes no
new budget enhancements for ATF. Instead, it
anticipates over $26.9 million in savings or
other offsets in either contract reductions
($24.8 million) or information technology
savings ($2.1 million). As Figure 5 shows,
the largest portion ($875.5 million, or 76%)
of the requested appropriation would be
allocated to the firearms budget decision unit.
The second-largest portion ($253.7 million, or
22%) would be allocated to the arson and
explosives budget decision unit. The
remainder ($23.1 million, or 2%) would be
allocated to the alcohol and tobacco diversion budget decision unit. By percentage, these
allocations are comparable to those reported by ATF to correspond with the agency’s FY2012
enacted appropriation.

Also of significance, the Administration’s request includes proposals to strip out futurity language
that was attached to two ATF appropriations riders during the FY2012 appropriations cycle
making those riders permanent law. The first rider prohibits ATF from consolidating or
centralizing within DOJ the records of firearms acquisitions and dispositions (or any portion
thereof) that federally licensed gun dealers are required by law to maintain. When gun dealers go
out of business, however, those records are forwarded to ATF. And, the second rider prohibits
ATF from electronically searching those out-of-business records by name or any personal
identification code. For evidentiary purposes, those records are maintained on microform. For
retrieval and storage purposes, out-of-business records are maintained in a digital format, so those
records may be searched electronically by firearm serial number, but not by owner (first retail
buyer of record). In addition, the Administration’s request would strip out futurity language
(inserted for FY2008 and every year thereafter) included in a controversial ATF appropriations
rider known as the Tiahrt amendment. For a fuller discussion of underlying issues, see Appendix
A
.

On April 19, 2012, the Senate Committee on Appropriations reported an FY2013 funding
measure (S. 2323) that would provide ATF with the same amount as requested by the
Administration ($1.153 billion). The Senate bill, however, does not follow the Administration’s
request to strip the futurity language out of ATF appropriations riders that were made permanent
in the previous year’s appropriations act (P.L. 112-55). On the one hand, Senate report language
(S.Rept. 112-158, p. 73) noted that Operation Fast and Furious was only one part of ATF’s
Southwest border operations to reduce illegal gun trafficking to Mexico. On the other hand,
language was included in the departmental general provisions that would continue to prohibit the
expenditure of any funding under the bill from being used to facilitate the transfer of an operable
firearm to a known or suspected agent of a drug cartel (§217). Another provision would continue
to prohibit ATF from issuing regulations that would prohibit the importation of certain types of
shotguns (§538). Yet another provision, which may have implications for ATF, prohibits any U.S.
Attorney from holding multiple jobs outside of the scope of a U.S. Attorney’s professional duty

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