Connecticut’s U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy have joined with their Massachusetts colleague Sen. Edward Markey in presenting legislation designed to add a new layer of regulatory oversight to gun dealers.
In the proposed Keeping Gun Dealers Honest Act, the permitted number of inspections of gun dealers by investigators from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) would be increased from one to three per year. The legislation also seeks to increase criminal penalties for dealers who intentionally commit record-keeping offenses that aid gun trafficking, and it would expand the level of discretion for the ATF in issuing gun licenses while providing the agency with what the group of Democrat senators described as “more flexible enforcement mechanisms.”
Although the senators insisted the majority of gun dealers follow the law, they noted data from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence that found five percent of gun dealers supplied 90 percent of crime guns used nationwide. U.S. Rep. Jim Langevin, D-R.I., introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives in May.
“This bill will give law enforcement much-needed resources to help keep illegal firearms off the streets,” Blumenthal said. “Giving ATF the tools it needs to take aggressive action against the small number of bad-apple gun dealers who supply the vast majority of crime guns is simply common sense.”
“Illegal guns often come from a few bad-apple gun dealers,” said Murphy. “Cracking down on these dealers will help make our communities safer.”