Tester slams new Justice Department gun policy
Senator: Policy violates gun rights, invades privacy, creates red tape
(U.S. SENATE) – Saying it violates gun rights, invades privacy and creates needless red tape, U.S. Senator Jon Tester is slamming a new Justice Department policy that prohibits licensed medical marijuana card-holders from purchasing firearms and ammunition and requires gun dealers to obtain private medical information from customers before selling firearms or ammunition.
Tester is telling Attorney General Eric Holder and the head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to back off the new policy.
“These regulatory changes infringe upon both privacy and Second Amendment rights of Montanans while placing an unreasonable burden upon the small business owners who sell firearms and ammunition,” Tester wrote. “The Department of Justice should immediately reconsider this misguided effort.”
Tester added that stripping Montanans of their Second Amendments rights for simply possessing a state-issued medical marijuana card is ‘unacceptable.’
Tester, chairman of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, is a strong advocate for Montana’s Second Amendment rights. In July, he led a group of Senators warning President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton not to infringe on Americans’ gun rights while negotiating the United Nations’ Arms Trade Treaty.
Tester’s letter to Attorney General Holder and Assistant Director Arthur Herbert appears below and online HERE.
September 28, 2011
The Honorable Eric Holder
Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Suite 5111
Washington, DC 20530
The Honorable Arthur Herbert
Assistant Director, Enforcement Programs
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
99 New York Avenue, NE, Room 55144
Washington, DC 20226
Dear Attorney General Holder and Assistant Director Herbert:
As a staunch defender of the Second Amendment, I write to express my strong objection to the recent guidance issued to federal firearms licensees. These regulatory changes infringe upon the privacy and Second Amendment rights of Montanans while placing an unreasonable burden upon the small business owners who sell firearms and ammunition. The Department of Justice should immediately reconsider this misguided effort.
It is unacceptable that law-abiding citizens would be stripped of their Second Amendment rights simply because they hold a state-issued card authorizing the possession and use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. Your guidance would also require gun dealers to obtain knowledge about their customers’ medical information before selling them a gun or ammunition. This is an unreasonable invasion of privacy that would both restrict an individual’s right to firearms ownership and would impose hefty new compliance requirements on small businesses.
The guidance would force gun dealers and sellers of ammunition to become proxy agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Federal firearms licensees in Montana are dedicated to following ATF regulations, but they are also small business owners. It is unreasonable to require gun dealers to use a “reason to believe” standard when determining whether to sell a firearm or ammunition to a customer. The disclosure burden of the use of controlled substances to determine eligibility should lie upon the purchaser exclusively.
I urge you to immediately reassess this guidance, recognize the chilling effect that it will have on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens and remove these burdensome and invasive requirements on federal firearms licensees. I appreciate your consideration on this issue and look forward to your response.