The U.S. Senate tonight passed legislation containing permanent provisions by U.S. Senator Jon Tester to prevent the U.S. Justice Department from establishing a national gun registry and to prohibit it from retaining information gained through instant background checks about legal gun purchases.
"Tonight the Senate again strengthened gun rights and protected the privacy of all law-abiding Americans," said Tester, chairman of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus. "We sent a clear message: our government should never be in the business of establishing a national gun registry or wasting resources tracking legal firearm purchases. This legislation is part of my commitment as a gun owner to always stand with Montana and fight for our Second Amendment rights."
Tester in June asked his colleagues on the Senate Appropriations Committee to consider the gun provisions, which were included in a combined appropriations bill that passed the Senate Thursday with a bipartisan vote of 70-to-30.
Earlier this week, the National Rifle Association expressed its support for the legislation.
The bill prevents the establishment of a national gun registry by prohibiting the Justice Department from consolidating firearms sales records. It also prohibits funding for "gun walking" operations where U.S. law enforcement agents knowingly transfer firearms to gun-smugglers in order to track weapons and drug cartels. The Senate is investigating one such controversial operation conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), known as "Fast and Furious."
Tester's other gun rights provisions passed by the Senate:
* Protect the status of collectible firearms
* Prohibit the use of funds to arbitrarily deny importation of qualifying curio and relic firearms
* Prohibit a physical inventory of Federal Firearms Licensees
* Prohibit the ATF from denying federal firearms license applications based on low business volume
* Prohibit the ATF from banning the importation of certain shotguns
* Require that any released "trace data" must specifically state that said data cannot be used to draw broad conclusions about gun ownership
* Remove a requirement that small firearms parts valued at less than $500 do not need a license for export to Canada
The measure now goes to the president. He is expected to sign the bill into law.