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Hirono, Colleagues Introduce Federal Firearm Licensing Act

~ This year alone, there have been more than 500 mass shootings in communities across our country ~

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) joined Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and five of her colleagues in reintroducing the Federal Firearm Licensing Act, legislation that would require individuals to obtain a federal firearm license before purchasing or receiving a firearm.

“Our nation is awash with guns—just this year alone, there have been more than 500 mass shootings in communities across our country,” said Senator Hirono. “As we work to combat our nation’s gun violence epidemic, I hope this bill will move us closer to stemming the scourge of gun violence. I’m proud to support the Federal Firearm Licensing Act to help protect our communities from gun violence.”

Specifically, the legislation would require:

  1. An individual to complete firearm safety training, which must include a written test and hands-on training to ensure safe use and accuracy.
  2. Attorney General to conduct a history background check of any individual purchasing a firearm.

The federal firearm license must be renewed every five years at which point the applicant will have to go through a background check and undergo firearm safety training again. The bill contains a mechanism for the U.S. Department of Justice to revoke a license if an individual poses a danger to themselves or to others. The legislation would require the Federal Bureau of Investigation to regularly conduct checks to ensure that individuals are in compliance with federal license requirements and keep in place requirements that all people purchasing firearms from a federal firearms licensee undergo a background check.

Studies have shown that licensing laws can significantly reduce gun violence in places that have enacted them. For example, according to the Giffords Law Center, Connecticut saw its gun homicide and gun suicide rates decrease by 28% and 33%, respectively, after passing a state licensing law. In contrast, after Missouri repealed its firearm licensing law, the state saw a 47% increase in its gun homicide rate and 24% increase in its gun suicide rate.

This bill is led by Senator Booker in the Senate and by Representative Andy Kim (D-NJ) in the House of Representatives. In addition to Senator Hirono, this legislation is cosponsored by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

The full text of the bill is available here.

Senator Hirono is a strong advocate for gun safety legislation and is continuously fighting to protect victims and survivors of gun violence. In September 2023, Senator Hirono joined more than 70 of her colleagues in the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives in sending a letter to President Biden, urging him to take further executive action to combat gun violence and limit the sale of assault weapons. In June 2023, Senator Hirono reintroduced the Equal Access to Justice for Victims of Gun Violence Act, legislation to ensure that victims of gun violence have their day in court and that negligent gun companies and gun sellers are not shielded from liability when they disregard public safety. In March 2023, Senator Hirono highlighted the impacts of the 2022 Supreme Court decision overturning New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen and how this decision could impact Hawaii and the increased risk of gun violence in public and private spaces.