In what is (hopefully) doomed to be an exercise in pointless, political posturing, Senator Tim Kaine (D – Virginia) has introduced yet another bill designed to discourage people from selling firearms to those legally entitled to purchase them. His bill, ironically named the “Responsible Transfer of Firearms Act,” seeks to make some things illegal which are already completely illegal and to criminalize the use of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) if the system (not the private owner) makes a mistake. Should such a bill find its way through Congress it would be disturbing to say the least. (NRA-ILA)
Current law prohibits transferring a firearm to a person “knowing or having reasonable cause to believe” that the person falls into one of the federally prohibited categories. Appropriately, the prosecution has to prove the transferor knew or had reason to know of the recipient’s prohibited status. The law, of course, does not presume that everyone who seeks to acquire a firearm has a criminal record or intends to use the firearm for a criminal purpose, nor does it require those who transfer firearms to make this presumption.