2005 Year in Review: Second Amendment and Federal Law

For the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, the past year was an outstanding one, at the Congressional level. The most significant action, of course, was the passage of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Firearms Act, designed to prohibit abusive lawsuits against gun manufacturers and gun stores. (Extended blog entry thereon is here.) The final version contained a few mild gun control items, none of them seriously dangerous.

Congress also enacted several other, less-noticed, laws to protect Second Amendment rights. These were:

An appropriations rider which ends a policy, begun by the Clinton State Department, of implenting an unratified 1997 treaty (the Organization of American States' "Convention Against The Illicit Manufacturing Of And Trafficking In Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives, And Other Related Materials") by requiring an export license for delivery to Canada of replacement parts for firearms repair. The exemption applies only to orders of less than $500, and only for some gun components.

An appropriations rider to end an administrative abuse, begun in the Clinton Presidency, by which the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (BATFE) obstructed the re-importation of American-manufactured firearms on the BATFE's "curios" and "relics" list.

Strenghtening enforcement of federal law requirement that when local law enforcement receives a report of a multiple handgun purchase by an individual, and the individual is legally allowed to purchase such guns, the multiple sales report must be destroyed within 20 days.

Exemption of custom gunsmiths who produce less than 50 guns per year from paying the federal excise tax on firearms manufacturer. In most cases, the tax was already paid for the original gun which is being customized.

Strengthening the armed pilots program by ordering the Department of Homeland Security to consider changes in the pilot training program (which is currently run in a remote, inconvenient location, at inflexible times), requiring the DHS to issue badges to trained pilots, and requiring DHS to implement a pilot program allowing some pilots to carry their guns in places other than the cockpit.
Significant Second Amendment protection issues for Congress in 2006 will likely include repeal of the D.C. ban on handgun possession and on possession of long guns in a condition usable for home defense; prohibiting state or local governments from confiscating firearms from law-abiding citizens (as New Orleans and St. Tammany Parish did after Katrina), addressing BATFE abuses, and taking action against United Nations efforts to destroy American gun rights.

Except for the amendments on the Protection of Lawful Commerce bill, no anti-gun legislation was enacted by Congress in 2005.