Second Amendment and Blair Holt (HR 45)

There has been much going around on the internet about the Blair-Holt Firearms Act. (HR 45)

Rep. Bobby Rush of Illinois introduced Blair Holt’s Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act to Congress, but it was referred to a subcommittee and languished there without ever having been voted upon in 2007. On January 6, 2009, Rush introduced essentially the same bill to Congress again as Blair Holt’s Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act of 2009.

Blair Holt bill would:

- Prohibit possession of any handguns or any semiautomatic firearms that can accept detachable ammunition-feeding devices (excluding antiques) by anyone who has not been issued a firearm license.

- Require all sales of those types of firearms to go through licensed dealers.

- Direct the Attorney General to establish and run a federal record-of-sale system.

- Require the possessors of firearms to secure them (by secure gun storage or safety devices) when they are kept in locales where children might be capable of gaining access to those firearms.

In order to be issued a firearm license under the provisions of the Blair Holt legislation, applicants would be required to submit the following information to the Attorney General:

1. a current, passport-sized photograph of the applicant that provides a clear, accurate likeness of the applicant
2. the name, address, and date and place of birth of the applicant
3. any other name that the applicant has ever used or by which the applicant has ever been known
4. a clear thumb print of the applicant, which shall be made when, and in the presence of the entity to whom, the application is submitted
5. with respect to each category of person prohibited by Federal law, or by the law of the State of residence of the applicant, from obtaining a firearm, a statement that the individual is not a person prohibited from obtaining a firearm
6. a certification by the applicant that the applicant will keep any firearm owned by the applicant safely stored and out of the possession of persons who have not attained 18 years of age
7. a certificate attesting to the completion at the time of application of a written firearms examination, which shall test the knowledge and ability of the applicant regarding:
– the safe storage of firearms, particularly in the vicinity of persons who have not attained 18 years of age
– the safe handling of firearms
– the use of firearms in the home and the risks associated with such use
– the legal responsibilities of firearms owners, including Federal, State, and local laws relating to requirements for the possession and storage of firearms, and relating to reporting requirements with respect to firearms
– any other subjects, as the Attorney General determines to be appropriate
8. an authorization by the applicant to release to the Attorney General or an authorized representative of the Attorney General any mental health records pertaining to the applicant
9. the date on which the application was submitted
10. the signature of the applicant

The Blair Holt bill would establish a system for registering and tracking the ownership of guns that are used illegally, similar to the system currently used for automobiles. Opponents of the bill maintain that it “focuses on the instruments of crime rather than on the criminals who use the instruments,” and that, rather than targeting the criminal element, it “would simply further burden law-abiding people.”

The bill does not have even a single co-sponsor. The bill’s failure to attract co-sponsors is an indication of a lack of enthusiasm for it among other congressmen. They likely feel it is too far-reaching and repressive of gun owners’ rights.

Nearly half the households in the nation own firearms. We need to hope that House Democrats will allow the Blair Holt bill to die in subcommittee rather than risk the ire of so many pro-gun voters.

Related: See what happens after guns are confiscated.