Democrats on Capitol Hill last week introduced a measure that would end direct legal gun sales to out of state residents. 

H.R. 647 would prohibit a Federal Firearms Licensee from transferring a shotgun or a rifle to a person who they feel does not reside in the same state. Handguns already are subject to a "state resident only" sales restriction, which is a holdover from the days prior to federal instant background checks. The proposal to move long arm sales under the same 1960s guideline comes from a Colorado Congressman who argues it is needed. 

Calling the move a "common-sense gun safety effort," Rep. Jason Crow says his bill "will make us safer by eliminating confusion among gun sellers and creating consistency across the board." 

More Hoops, More Fees

The measure, while limiting immediate sales to out-of-state travelers who find a deal at a gun store or show, would not eliminate the ability to purchase firearms outside of their home state altogether – but it would up the cost and hassle as the gun would have to be shipped to a home-state FFL to conduct a background check. This would add both shipping costs and transfer fees to the sale while still possibly socking the buyer for sales tax at the first FFL's location. Further, if the original seller didn't want to jump through the hoops of shipping to another FFL, the deal would tank. 

Such regulation could result in less traffic and fewer sales at gun stores nationwide, sending both customers and FFLs to online firearm commerce sites – which President Joe Biden has already promised to end. 

Meanwhile, there have been extensive legal challenges to the federal law prohibiting handgun sales to out-of-state residents. U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor in a 2015 ruling in one such case found “the federal interstate handgun transfer ban is unconstitutional on its face," although his decision was overturned on appeal. 

H.R. 647 has been referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary for consideration. It has nine co-sponsors thus far, all Democrats.

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