WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jamie Raskin (MD-08) introduced two pieces of legislation to deter the transfer of firearms to dangerous individuals and the transfer of assault-style weapons. The State Access to Firearms Evading Revocation (SAFER) Act would prohibit the knowing return of firearms to individuals who have had their state license to possess or purchase firearms revoked or have had their firearms confiscated or removed by court order. The National Firearms Act (NFA) Modernization Act would modestly increase the tax paid to transfer weapons regulated by the NFA—including machine guns, short-barreled rifles and shotguns, and silencers—and funnel the additional revenue to federal gun violence prevention programs.
There is currently no federal law that bans the return of confiscated firearms to the person from whom they have been removed. The suspected gunman in the 2018 Nashville Waffle House mass shooting had his firearms confiscated by Illinois state police after several incidents of erratic behavior, including breaching the barrier onto White House grounds. The firearms were given to the suspect’s father, who allegedly returned the firearms to his son, including an AR-15 style weapon that was found at the scene of the shooting. The SAFER Act would make transfers like this a federal offense, acting as a greater deterrent than the existing patchwork of state transfer laws.
The National Firearms Act (NFA) was enacted in 1934 to deter the circulation of firearms that were frequently used to commit crimes by imposing a $200 tax on the transfer of these specific weapons, including machine guns, short barreled rifles and shotguns with barrels less than 16 inches or a total length less than 26 inches, and silencers. However, the tax amount has not increased since 1934; a tax of $200 in 1934 would be the equivalent of a tax of $3,925 in 2021. The NFA Modernization Act would enact a long overdue yet modest increase of the tax from $200 to $300 and tie the increase to inflation on an annual basis starting in 2022. The additional revenue would equally fund gun violence prevention programs at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and grants distributed by the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Office of Justice Programs.
"It’s profoundly troubling that there is no federal law banning the return of firearms to people who have had their gun licenses revoked or their firearms confiscated for good reason,” said Rep. Raskin. “In 2018, we saw the deadly consequences of this regulatory loophole and we know all too well the dangers of rampant circulation of assault-style firearms in America, where our people are 25 times more likely to die from gun violence than people in other developed countries. I’m proud to introduce the SAFER Act and the NFA Modernization Act today and will continue pushing for commonsense gun safety legislation so we can prevent gun violence and save lives. I applaud President Biden and Vice President Harris for announcing strong executive action to address the gun violence public health epidemic.”