Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

PolitiFact.com | Tampa Bay Times
Sorting out the truth in politics

Law has loophole for gun dealers who lose licenses

The statement

"If you are a federally licensed gun dealer and your license is revoked because you've engaged in misconduct, … your entire inventory, under prevailing law, is deemed your personal collection. You then can sell it free from any background checks."

U.S. Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., in a news conference

The ruling

Cicilline spokesman Richard Luchette referred us to the federal firearms law. We found Section 923 of Title 18, Chapter 44, which includes some of the regulations on federally licensed firearms dealers.

But the law doesn't specifically address what gun dealers who lose their federal licenses can do with the firearms in their inventory. That absence, according to Cicilline and other gun-control supporters, is a serious loophole, allowing dealers to transfer their inventory into a personal collection and then sell those firearms — without requiring buyers to submit to a background check.

Luchette also sent us links to a couple of examples provided by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, headed by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino.

One 2006 example involved a Maryland gun dealer who had lost his license for multiple violations in which firearms in his sales inventory were unaccounted for.

After the dealer filed a federal lawsuit against the director of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the U.S. Department of Justice issued a legal opinion that said "'when a dealer loses his license, he can dispose of his inventory by selling those firearms without being deemed to have engaged in the business in violation of" a federal law.

The gun dealer would violate the law only "if he chooses to purchase and resell firearms," the opinion stated.

We also contacted the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the agency that handles licensing of firearms dealers.

ATF spokeswoman Debora Seifert said that once someone is no longer a federally licensed firearms dealer, either voluntarily or because his license is revoked for some misconduct, then "they are citizens, so they have the ability to convert the firearms from their (sales inventory) into their own personal inventory."

Therefore, she said, dealers who are no longer federally licensed do not come under the ATF's purview. Because they are no longer subject to the federal jurisdiction of the ATF, they can conceivably sell those firearms. Those sales are free from federal requirements for background checks of buyers.

We rate the claim True.

Edited for print. Read the full version at PolitiFact.com.

Law has loophole for gun dealers who lose licenses 05/06/13 [Last modified: Monday, May 6, 2013 9:23pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays exhausted but happy after 15-inning win over Twins (w/video)

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — The Rays sure made it interesting Sunday, taking an early lead, watching their beleaguered bullpen blow it, rallying to tie in the ninth, battling the Twins to take a lead in the 14th then giving it up again.

    The Rays’ Evan Longoria enjoys a laugh after scoring, barely, to tie it in the ninth on Steven Souza Jr.’s two-out single.
  2. Tom Jones' Two Cents: ABC's Indy 500 coverage is stellar again

    TV and Radio

    Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Best coverage

    Takuma Sato left, celebrates after winning the Indianapolis 500 as Helio Castroneves is a little late passing him. ABC’s coverage of the race is stellar throughout, with plenty of extras but no fake drama.
  3. Takuma Sato surprise winner of wreck-filled Indy 500

    Auto racing

    INDIANAPOLIS — Takuma Sato, a journeyman driver, became the first Japanese winner of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday when he held off three-time champion Helio Castroneves in a 230-mph wheel-rubbing duel to the finish.

    Scott Dixon’s car goes over the top of Jay Howard, soaring so high that Helio Castroneves drove under it while it was airborne. Stunningly, there were no serious injuries.
  4. South Korea military: North Korea fires unidentified projectile

    World

    SEOUL — North Korea launched a ballistic missile early today that flew 280 miles and landed in Japan's exclusive economic zone, the South Korean military and the Japanese government said.

    S. Korean President Moon Jae-in is assessing the launch.
  5. Rays blow lead, rally, blow lead, rally again to beat Twins in 15 (w/video)

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — The Rays sure made it interesting Sunday, taking an early lead, watching their beleaguered bullpen blow it, rallying to tie in the ninth, battling the Twins to take a lead in the 14th then giving it up again.

    MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MAY 28: Evan Longoria #3 of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrates scoring a run against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game on May 28, 2017 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) 700010990