At least seven Florida Republicans are moving to block the Biden administration from creating a national gun registry.
Led by Rep. Michael Cloud of Texas, the Floridians are among 65 GOP lawmakers backing Cloud’s No Retaining Every Gun In a System That Restricts Your — or No REGISTRY — Rights Act.
Cloud filed the bill last week. He previously raised the issue of a potential gun registry in 2021 after learning the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives had changed the rules for firearms dealers to retain sales records.
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According to one estimate, the rule revision would give the ATF access to roughly 1 billion records of gun transactions, even though President Ronald Reagan enacted a law in 1986 that prohibited the federal government from creating such a registry.
Still, President Joe Biden was seeking a workaround, and at that time, 51 GOP lawmakers supported Cloud’s efforts. It failed in the Democratic-controlled Congress.
Cloud now offers the bill with Republicans in charge of the House and with a GOP-led committee studying the “weaponization” of the federal government against conservatives.
“The Second Amendment is clear: the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed,” Cloud said in a statement.
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“The federal government does not have the right to subject its law-abiding, citizen firearm owners to excessive scrutiny. My bill would dismantle ATF’s record keeping, restore privacy for American gun owners, and reverse the groundwork laid for the creation of a federal firearms registry.”
One of the Republicans on board with Cloud is Rep. Greg Steube of Sarasota.
In a statement, Steube said his intent was “to protect gun owners’ privacy and ensure the federal government doesn’t build a federal firearms registry.”
“Every American deserves and is guaranteed their Second Amendment rights without excessive scrutiny, and I will always fight in Congress to protect those rights,” said Steube.
The other Republicans supporting Cloud include Reps. Matt Gaetz, Kat Cammack, Byron Donalds, Neal Dunn, Bill Posey, and Anna Paulina Luna.
Under federal law, Federal Firearm Licensees, or FFLs, must hand over to the ATF all gun sales records once they go out of business.
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Cloud noted that until Biden took office, FFLs could destroy transaction records after 20 years. Biden’s administration issued a rule last year requiring FFLs to maintain all firearm transaction records forever.
“There are valid concerns that the Biden Administration is taking a backdoor approach to create a federal firearms registry,” Cloud’s office noted in a press release.
Cloud argues that the files of nearly 1 billion records the ATF already has will only grow under the new rule.
Cloud notes the ATF also has issued a “zero-tolerance” rule, meaning gun dealers could have their licenses revoked for one mistake in the record-keeping.
Meanwhile, as more gun stores close, dealers will be forced to give the ATF even more records.
The No REGISTRY Rights Act would require ATF to delete all existing firearm transaction records it has accumulated. That would dismantle the current database and prevent the possible creation of a federal gun registry, according to Cloud’s office.
The bill would also require FFLs to destroy transaction records once they go out of business, ensuring the ATF doesn’t continue to accumulate these records.
“American gun-owners are rightfully concerned about the Biden administration’s willingness to use their authority to impose restrictions on law-abiding Americans,” Cloud’s statement noted. “And it is Congress’ job to provide the oversight to ensure a registry is never implemented.”
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