Bill Targets Lawbreaking Gun Dealers With License Revocations, Increased Fines

Bill Targets Lawbreaking Gun Dealers With License Revocations, Increased Fines

Congressional Democrats are renewing their push to toughen penalties for unscrupulous gun dealers after President Joe Biden made combating dealer noncompliance part of his administration’s violence prevention strategy. If approved, the Keeping Gun Dealers Honest Act would make it easier for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to shutter lawbreaking gun dealers and allow the agency to fine them as much as $10,000 for each violation of federal rules. Dealers who falsify records could be sentenced to five years in prison — up from the one-year term permitted under current law. The bill would also increase the number of times the ATF is allowed to inspect gun dealers from one to three times a year, and it would authorize the agency to hire “at least” 80 more employees to carry out inspections. Applicants seeking a federal gun dealer’s license could be denied if the ATF deems them “a danger to public safety,” the measure states. Representative Jim Langevin, a Democrat from Rhode Island who introduced the measure in the House on June 30, called it a long-overdue step to hold rogue gun dealers accountable for unlawful behavior. “While the majority of gun dealers follow the law, a small number of delinquent gun dealers perpetuate the epidemic of gun violence by selling guns to straw purchasers, gun traffickers, and other dangerous individuals,” Langevin told The Trace. But right now, he said, “the hands of the ATF are tied because they’re limited in the number of inspections they can […]

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