Reacting swiftly to the July 20th Aurora, Colorado theater shooting, but just before he and the rest of the U.S. Congress left for a 5-week summer vacation, U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-New Jersey), introduced a bill that would essentially ban online sales of ammunition to civilians.
Through a complex set of amendments to existing federal gun control law, Sen. Lautenberg's Stop Online Ammunition Sales Act (S. 3458), would require ammunition to be purchased face-to-face only, licensing of ammunition dealers, and reporting regarding bulk purchases of ammunition.
Specifically, Sen. Lautenberg says his bill would:
- Require anyone selling ammunition to be a federally licensed ammunition dealer, importer or manufacturer;
- Require anyone buying ammunition who is not a federally licensed ammunition dealer to present a government-issued form of photo ID at the time of purchase, effectively banning the sale of ammunition online or by mail order;
- Require licensed ammunition dealers to maintain records of the sale of ammunition; and
- Requires licensed ammunition dealers to report to the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) any sale of more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition to any unlicensed person within any five consecutive business days.
"If someone wants to purchase deadly ammunition, they should have to come face-to-face with the seller," stated Lautenberg in introducing his bill. "It's one thing to buy a pair of shoes online, but it should take more than a click of the mouse to amass thousands of rounds of ammunition.
While the Gun Control Act of 1968 - the cornerstone of U.S. gun control laws - contained measures requiring licensing of ammunition dealers, recording of ammunition sales and banning mail order sales of ammunition, these measures were repealed by sections of the Firearms Owners Protection Act of 1986 (FOPA).
Also See: I'm from the Government and I Have a Gun
Sen. Lautenberg's office says it has seen an "appetite" on the part of the American people for laws like the Stop Online Ammunition Sales Act, as witnessed by Google's recent decision to stop featuring ammunition and firearms sales on its online shopping channels.
"This legislation is a simple common-sense step that would put safeguards in place to detect suspicious activity, helping to prevent the sale of ammunition to a terrorist or the next would-be mass murderer," said Sen. Lautenberg.