New Bill Would Ban The Private Sale Of Firearms In Texas

Published

BY CARL BUSSJAEGER via TTAG and republished with permission

Against all hope and experience, Texas Democrats have been busy throwing all kinds of gun control bills up agains the legislative wall in advance of the upcoming biennial session. One of those pre-filed bills, HB 118 which would outlaw private gun sales without a background check, making it a crime to sell a gun without one, is real doozy.

Texas Rep. Lina Ortega [D] really doesn’t like private sales one little bit. Allow me to quote a considerable portion of the bill:

Sec. 205.051. REQUIREMENTS FOR PRIVATE FIREARM TRANSFER;
OFFENSE. (a) A person may not sell or otherwise transfer a firearm
to another person unless:
(1) the person is a licensed firearms dealer; or
(2) the person is not a licensed firearms dealer, and:
(A) the person sells or transfers the firearm to
a licensed firearms dealer, a peace officer, a law enforcement
agency, or a person licensed to carry a handgun under Subchapter H,
Chapter 411, Government Code;
(B) the transferor and the transferee are related
within the third degree by consanguinity or within the second
degree by affinity as determined under Chapter 573, Government
Code; or
(C) before delivering the firearm to the person
to whom the firearm is being sold or transferred, the person selling
or transferring the firearm requests that a licensed firearms
dealer conduct, in the manner required by 18 U.S.C. Section 922, a
national instant criminal background check to verify that the
person to whom the firearm is being sold or transferred may lawfully
possess a firearm.

I’ve added some emphasis here and there to help make a point.

To sell a firearm either you must be a Federal Firearms Licensee or (see that emphasis above?) meet the requirements of part (2). To wit that you aren’t an FFL but you follow the conditions in (A) and (B), or (C). Note that neither (A) nor (B) have an “or;” that means all three conditions must be met”

  • the buyer is an FFL, law enforcement, or licensed to carry a handgun, and
  • the buyer are closely related, or
  • a NICS check is completed

As the bill is written, you can only sell a firearm if at least one of you, the buyer or the seller, is an FFL (or LEO or CCW) and close family; or you do a background check. I’m not sure if Ortega is being stupid or clever here.

It’s possible there was supposed to be an “or” at the end of (2)(A), making any one of the conditions a requirement. I suspect a bit of both — stupidity and cleverness — because requiring that the seller or buyer be an FFL suggests Ortega thinks the FFL would have to enter this into their bound book, creating a permanent record and requiring a background check anyway.

But — FFLs, correct me if I’m wrong here — items to or from the licensee’s private collection (as distinct from commercial inventory) don’t have to be entered.

In any case, this is a poorly written bill that has little to no chance of ever becoming law as both the House and Senate remain under solid Republican control despite Democrats’ fervent pre-election dreams and all of the bogus media predictions.

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