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The Bad Faith “Good Neighbor Gun Dealer Act”

bad faith
U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05) U.S. Representative Robin L Kelly (IL-02)

Law Shield thinks a federal bill misleadingly labeled the “Good Neighbor Gun Dealer Act,” introduced by U.S. Representatives Mike Quigley (IL-05) and Robin Kelly (IL-02), is chock full of bad ideas, and we hope — and expect — that it will go nowhere in this Congress.

The legislation purports to address the relatively small number of irresponsible gun dealers in America who sell the vast majority of the guns used in crimes. But the bill describes such dealers as businesses in which “more than 10 prohibited people obtain a firearm because a dealer refuses to wait for a full background check to be completed.”

That shows a fundamental misunderstanding of how NICS works. It is perfectly legal for a dealer to sell a firearm to an individual whose background check isn’t completed within a period of time. The time limit was built into NICS to stop the government from sitting on approvals, which we have no doubt they would do if the law permitted. It is just asking for abuse by inaction or obstruction, much like the IRS did to dozens of taxpayer groups who applied for a certain tax status.

We are also troubled by another provision. The Department of Justice (DOJ) would be tasked to establish a voluntary code of conduct for licensed gun dealers and create a national “Good Neighbor” certification for gun dealers who abide by a certain set of requirements. Really?

Another aspect of H.R. 3569 we don’t like appears in Section 4, entitled “Disclosure of Firearm Trace Data.” If H.R. 3569 is enacted, the Justice Department would be authorized to publicly release the personal information belonging to untold millions of lawful firearm owners. This is an unprecedented breach of privacy executed solely for retribution against citizens who dare to own firearms.

As someone who keeps an eye on Illinois lawmakers, Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA) Executive Director Richard Pearson said, “This bill is just another in a long line of proposals designed to harass law-abiding gun owners while giving violent criminals a pass. It’s amazing that Kelly and Quigley would think that firearm dealers would place any value on a ‘good neighbor’ certificate. In fact, any gun dealer appearing on a Justice Department ‘good neighbor’ list would be branded as a ‘sellout’ subject to boycott.”

This bill by Quigley and Kelly is wrongheaded through and through, and we hope it dies a quick death in the House that it deserves.

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