Lawmakers push ‘Good Neighbor Gun Dealer’ bill

Lawmakers push 'Good Neighbor Gun Dealer' bill

U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly and others are backing a proposal that would see the DOJ offer voluntary Good Neighbor certifications to FFL holders. (Photo: The Chicago Mag)

Four Democrats proposed a measure in the U.S. House to establish a code of conduct for firearms dealers and shame so-called “bad apples.”

The measure, proposed by U.S. Reps. Ruben Gallego (Ariz.), Eleanor Norton Holmes (D.C.) Mike Quigley and Robin Kelly (Ill.) earlier this week, would require the Justice Department to establish a voluntary code of conduct for federal firearms licensees that would earn the dealer a “Good Neighbor” certification.

The sponsors, all with a long history of supporting anti-gun legislation, contend their bill is needed to help combat gun violence.

“The Good Neighbor Gun Dealer Act is a common-sense way to not only hold bad apple gun dealers responsible but also acknowledge gun dealers that abide by federal laws” said Kelly in a statement. “It’s a simple bill that can save countless lives.”

The proposal, H.R.3569, would require the Attorney General to establish a Good Neighbor code of conduct for federally licensed firearms dealers that would set a four-part standard to achieve. This would include preventing the dealer from selling a firearm to a criminal, implementing a safety plan to detect firearm theft, cooperate fully with law enforcement on investigations, and ensure a background check is completed before transfer of a firearm is allowed.

While the first three are already covered to some degree by current regulation on FFLs, the fourth has been a polarizing issue for gun control advocates after the alleged murderer in the Emanuel AME church shooting that claimed the lives of nine clergy and parishioners was found to have obtained his firearm after authorities failed to issue a “deny” order on his background check within the mandated three-day window due to procedural errors.

“One of the surest ways to reduce gun violence is to deny sales to those who shouldn’t be allowed to purchase a gun,” Kelly said. “It’s time that gun dealers take responsibility for their products, which have real and deadly consequences when placed in the wrong hands.”

Under the guidelines of the proposal, the Justice Department would issue the voluntary certifications, publish a list of participating FFLs and have sole discretion to remove dealers from the list. The Attorney General would simultaneously be urged to step up investigations into what the lawmakers term “bad apple” gun dealers, borrowing a term used by gun control advocates for perceived unscrupulous firearms retailers.

The bill has been referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.