Skip to content

Mayors Against Illegal Guns Applauds Rep. Kelly’s Federal Firearm Licensee Act


Today, Mayors Against Illegal Guns applauded the introduction of the Federal Firearm Licensee Act, which was authored by Rep. Robin Kelly (D-IL). The bill would bring firearm dealer laws into the 21st Century by modernizing and strengthening the federal requirements for gun shops. That includes requiring “facilitators” — third parties between gun dealers and gun buyers, such as gun shows or websites — to run background checks on sales, increasing physical security requirements at gun shops, like video surveillance, modernizing record keeping, and requiring dealers to inform the ATF immediately if any firearms are transferred before a background check has been completed. This bill would help local efforts to keep guns off the streets and stop bad actors from undermining the gun safety laws already on the books. 

“As a gun owner, I strongly believe we should treat guns like we would any product that results in the death of tens of thousands of Americans each year,” said Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin. “We can and must do better by making sure those who sell firearms are taking every reasonable step to keep guns out of the wrong hands.”

“As we work to tackle gun violence in our city and in cities across the nation, we need the federal government to do its job in helping us keep our cities safe,” said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. “The Federal Firearms Licensee Act will help enable cities like mine to stop the shooting before it starts.”

“With states like Missouri prohibiting cities like St. Louis from creating our own common sense gun safety measures, we’re looking for federal action to help make sure guns don’t fall into the wrong hands,” said St. Louis Mayor Tishaura O. Jones. “We need Congress to pass the Federal Firearms Licensee Act in order to save lives.”

“Congress has an opportunity in the Federal Firearm Licensee Act to save lives through easy, popular steps to ensure secure storage, strengthening background checks, and more,” said Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller. “We deal with the consequences of inaction every single day in our cities and we are coming together to say we cannot wait any longer to act on gun violence.”

“Gun violence is a plague on our communities, and allowing rogue gun dealers to skirt the rules we have in place undermines so much of the work we are doing to address this challenge in our city,” said Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “We need a way to enforce common sense rules that keep illegal guns out of the wrong hands and I commend Representative Kelly for leading the charge on this important work.”

“For far too long, precious lives have been lost while the gun lobby fervidly pushed shameful policies in Congress,” said Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott. “This legislation is a major step towards making communities safer and helping cities like Baltimore protect families from senseless gun violence.”

“At a time of rising gun violence in communities of all shapes and sizes, common sense measures like ensuring firearms are securely stored by gun sellers is just common sense,” said Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney. “Congress must take seriously the threat gun violence poses and take steps, like the Federal Firearm Licensee Act, to address it.”

The bill would also: 

  • Require reporting of more than two rifles or shotguns purchased over five consecutive days, same as pistols.
  • Close the indicted dealer loophole, prohibiting licensees from receiving new firearms or transferring any firearms in their business inventory to anyone other than another licensee or a law enforcement agency immediately upon being indicted for certain crimes.
  • Require annual inspections for “high risk” gun dealers and triennial inspections for all other gun dealers. Due to existing statutory restrictions and limited resources, only a small fraction of gun sellers are inspected annually, and a large number of those inspections reveal violations.
  • Require dealer-applicants and employees trusted with the possession of firearms to undergo background checks for FFL issuance and renewal. 

Bad actors in the gun industry bear a large responsibility in guns falling into dangerous hands, partially due to the fact that laws that govern how gun dealers conduct their business have not been updated since the 1960’s. We know that higher standards for gun dealers can help stop the stream of guns into communities: intrastate gun trafficking was 64 percent lower in places with strong gun dealer regulations and oversight. The Federal Firearm Licensee Act would hold gun dealers nationwide to high standards and modernize the ways in which the federal government and the ATF can hold these dealers accountable and keep communities safe. 

Cities, with the help of Everytown Law, have also been taking on gun dealers who break the rules in court as well. Earlier this year, Kansas City, Missouri, joined the state of Illinois in filing a lawsuit to force federal regulators to revoke a firearms license granted to a company whose predecessor is alleged to have  broken federal firearms law and actively contributed to gun trafficking and other criminal activity in Illinois and Kansas City. The city of Chicago is also suing Westforth Sports, a Gary, Indiana, gun store alleged to have sold hundreds of illegal guns trafficked into Chicago, ignoring clear signs of straw purchases and gun trafficking.