Summary: The Firearms Perjury Enforcement Act directs the investigation and prosecution of individuals who commit perjury while attempting to obtain a firearm.
Note: Most legislatures are in a position where state law is already tough on crime and there is not much more that they can do to actually prevent future offenses. This bill, therefore, may be the single most effective legislative measure that could, as a practical matter, stop a substantial number of future crimes by targeting felons who illegally attempt to obtain guns.
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE
This Act shall be called the “Firearms Perjury Enforcement Act.”
SECTION 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSE
(A) FINDINGS—The legislature/council finds that:
1) Existing law prohibits convicted felons, fugitives from justice, domestic abusers and other dangerous individuals from possessing a firearm. Pursuant to that prohibition, individuals who seek to obtain a firearm from a [gun dealer] must sign an oath swearing or affirming that the applicant is not prohibited by law from possessing the firearm.
2) Thousands lie on this form every year, committing perjury. Nationally, in 2020, some 300,000 individuals were blocked from obtaining guns by background check systems—6,000 in an average-sized state. However, this apparent perjury is hardly ever prosecuted.
3) Some states, such as Oregon, have a state task force to investigate and prosecute individuals who lie on firearm application forms while trying to buy guns and are blocked because they failed their background checks.
4) Convicted felons, fugitives from justice, domestic abusers and others who commit perjury in the attempt to obtain firearms are at high risk of committing violent crimes. It is common sense to prosecute them for their perjury before they have the chance to commit a murder, rape, robbery or assault.
(B) PURPOSE—This law is enacted to protect the safety and security of residents and visitors.
SECTION 3. INVESTIGATION AND PROSECUTION OF FIREARMS PERJURY
In section XXX, the following new paragraphs shall be inserted:
(A) REPORTING OF DENIED FIREARM APPLICATIONS
1) Whenever an application for the purchase or transfer of a firearm is denied, the firearm [dealer] shall, within 24 hours, report it by electronic communication to the [State Police/Attorney General] in a manner proscribed by rules adopted by the [State Police/Attorney General].
2) That communication shall include, at a minimum:
a) The applicant’s name, address and all other contact information available;
b) The reason the application was denied and how the [dealer] learned that the application should be denied under federal or state law;
c) The type of firearm the applicant attempted to obtain; and
d) The date of the application and date of the denial.
3) If an application is initially denied and the denial is reported to the [dealer] but subsequently approved, the [dealer] shall, within 24 hours, report it by electronic communication to the [State Police/Attorney General] in a manner proscribed by rules adopted by the [State Police/Attorney General].
4) If an application is denied, the [dealer] shall retain the original records of the failed application for a period of not less than five years.
(B) ELECTRONIC PORTAL FOR REPORTING DENIED FIREARM APPLICATIONS
1) The [State Police/Attorney General] shall create and maintain an electronic portal for a firearm [dealer] to report denied firearm applications and applications initially denied but subsequently approved.
2) The information received by this electronic portal shall not be released pursuant to a request pursuant to the [Freedom of Information Act], except for data that does not include applicants’ names, addresses or other information which would identify a specific applicant.
(C) INVESTIGATION AND ENFORCEMENT
1) Upon receipt of a report that an application for purchase or transfer of a firearm was denied, the [State Police/Attorney General] shall investigate for potential criminal prosecution.
2) The [State Police/Attorney General] shall prepare an annual report which shall include, at a minimum: the number of reports where a person was denied a firearms sale or transfer, the number of those reports investigated for potential criminal prosecution, the number where an arrest was made, the number referred for prosecution, and the number where a conviction was obtained.
3) This report shall be submitted to the appropriate committees of the legislature on or before December 31st of each year.
SECTION 4. SEVERABILITY
If any provision of this act or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid for any reason in a court of competent jurisdiction, the invalidity does not affect other provisions or any other application of this act that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and for this purpose the provisions of this act are declared severable.
SECTION 5. EFFECTIVE DATE
This law shall become effective on XXXX 1, 202X.