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Federal Handgun Purchaser Licensing Act Requires Permits Before Buying Pistols Nationally

Democrats sought to expand their assault on Americans’ Second Amendment rights by requiring handgun purchasing licenses for potential gun owners.

The measure was sponsored by Maryland Democrats U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen and Congressman Jamie Raskin, alongside Connecticut Democrats U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy and Congresswoman Jahana Hayes.

The measure requires state licenses for handgun purchases, a requirement present in just ten states. Both Connecticut and Maryland, where all the primary sponsors hail from, have handgun purchase license requirements.

California requires purchase licenses for all firearms while Washington requires the same for all semiautos. Minnesota’s optional purchase permit requirements exempt gun owners from state-sanctioned background checks.

"While our state has already enacted this vital reform, Maryland is not an island. This legislation will help spur policies like ours across the United States and leverage this effective method to keep our communities safe,” Sen. Hollen said.

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States that implement the handgun purchasing license requirements would potentially benefit from a Department of Justice’s grant program.

“The Attorney General may award grants to States, units of local government, and Indian tribes for the development, implementation, and evaluation of handgun purchaser licensing requirements,” the proposal states.

However, the grants would be awarded on a “competitive basis” meaning that many state, local authorities, and Indian tribes would implement handgun purchase requirements hoping to benefit from the DOJ’s grant program only to end up empty-handed.

The measure would affect rented handguns, and those transferred through private sales and gun shows. Potential purchasers must submit handgun ownership applications, fingerprints, and photographs. The applicants must also be at least 21 years old at the time of application.

If modeled after Connecticut’s handgun purchaser’s license program, which the proposal cites as a benchmark, the act could impose a $99.75 application fee, require the completion of a training course, and demand background checks that could take up to eight weeks.

This would be a huge cost to bear for the law-abiding citizens without considering that most criminals would ignore the gun control measure just like other anti-gun laws on the books.

Similarly, it would expose Americans to potential loss of lives when applications for legal gun ownership take unusually longer periods to complete, in addition to the extra costs.

In 2015, Carol Bowne, 39, was stabbed to death by an estranged ex-lover Michael Eitel, 45, while waiting for a handgun purchase license for four months.

Regardless, gun control groups Brady, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, and Giffords support the measure regardless of the effects it has on victims’ safety and their Second Amendment rights.


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