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S 798

112th CONGRESS
1st Session

S. 798

To provide an amnesty period during which veterans and their family members can register certain firearms in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, and for other purposes.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

April 12, 2011

Mr. TESTER (for himself, Mr. MCCAIN, and Mr. LEAHY) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary


A BILL

To provide an amnesty period during which veterans and their family members can register certain firearms in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the `Veterans' Heritage Firearms Act of 2011'.

SEC. 2. AMNESTY PERIOD FOR VETERANS TO REGISTER QUALIFYING FIREARMS.

    (a) Definitions- In this section:

      (1) AMNESTY PERIOD- The term `amnesty period' means the 90-day period beginning on the date that is 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act.

      (2) APPLICABLE VETERAN- The term `applicable veteran' means, with respect to a firearm, the veteran referred to in paragraph (7)(A) with respect to the firearm.

      (3) CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES- The term `continental United States'--

        (A) means the several States and the District of Columbia; and

        (B) does not include Alaska or Hawaii.

      (4) FAMILY-

        (A) IN GENERAL- The term `family' means, with respect to a veteran--

          (i) a grandparent of the veteran;

          (ii) the spouse of the veteran;

          (iii) a lineal descendant of a grandparent described in clause (i); and

          (iv) the spouse of a lineal descendant described in clause (iv).

        (B) SPECIAL RULES- For purposes of subparagraph (A)--

          (i) a spouse of an individual who is legally separated from the individual under a decree of divorce or separate maintenance shall be deemed to be the spouse of the individual; and

          (ii) an individual shall be deemed to be a lineal descendant of a grandparent of a veteran if the individual is--

            (I) the biological child of an individual who is the spouse of a lineal descendant of the grandparent;

            (II) adopted by a lineal descendant of the grandparent; or

            (III) a lineal descendant of an individual described in subclause (I) or (II).

      (5) FIREARM- The term `firearm'--

        (A) has the meaning given the term in section 5845 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986; and

        (B) does not include--

          (i) any device described in section 5845(f)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986; or

          (ii) any combination of parts--

            (I) designed or intended for use in converting any device into a device described in clause (i); or

            (II) from which a device described in clause (i) may be readily assembled.

      (6) NATIONAL FIREARMS REGISTRATION AND TRANSFER RECORD- The term `National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record' means the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record established under section 5841 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.

      (7) QUALIFYING FIREARM-

        (A) IN GENERAL- The term `qualifying firearm' means any firearm that was acquired--

          (i) before October 31, 1968; and

          (ii) by a veteran, while the veteran was--

            (I) a member of the Armed Forces; and

            (II) stationed outside the continental United States.

        (B) PRESUMPTION OF VALIDITY- In the absence of clear and convincing evidence to the contrary, the Attorney General shall accept as true and accurate any affidavit, document, or other evidence submitted by an individual to establish that a firearm meets the requirements of subparagraph (A).

      (8) VETERAN- The term `veteran' has the meaning given that term in section 101(2) of title 38, United States Code.

    (b) Registration- Subject to such regulations as the Attorney General may prescribe, during the amnesty period an applicable veteran or a member of the family of the applicable veteran who owns and possesses a qualifying firearm may register the qualifying firearm in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record.

    (c) Hearings- If the Attorney General determines that an individual may not register a firearm under subsection (b) during the amnesty period, the Attorney General, on the request of the individual, shall--

      (1) provide the individual any evidence on which the decision by the Attorney General is based; and

      (2) promptly hold a hearing to review the determination.

    (d) Limited Immunity-

      (1) CRIMINAL LIABILITY UNDER TITLE 18- An individual who registers a qualifying firearm under subsection (b)--

        (A) shall be treated, for purposes of subsections (a)(3) and (o) of section 922 of title 18, United States Code, as having lawfully acquired and possessed the qualifying firearm before the date of the enactment of chapter 44 of such title and of each provision of such chapter; and

        (B) shall not be liable for any violation of such chapter that--

          (i) is based solely on the ownership, possession, transportation, importation, or alteration of the qualifying firearm by the individual; and

          (ii) occurred at or before the time at which the individual registered the qualifying firearm.

      (2) CRIMINAL LIABILITY UNDER INTERNAL REVENUE CODE- Except as provided in paragraph (3), an individual who registers a qualifying firearm under subsection (b) shall not be liable for a violation of chapter 53 or 75 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 with respect to the qualifying firearm that occurred at or before the time at which the individual registered the qualifying firearm.

      (3) TRANSFER TAX LIABILITY- Paragraph (2) shall not affect the liability of any individual for any transfer tax imposed under section 5811 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.

      (4) ATTEMPTS TO REGISTER- In the case of an applicable veteran or a member of the family of the applicable veteran who attempts to register a qualifying firearm in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record at a time other than during the amnesty period, paragraphs (1), (2), and (3) shall apply with respect to the individual if the individual surrenders the qualifying firearm to a law enforcement agency not later than 30 days after notification by the Attorney General of potential criminal liability for continued possession of the qualifying firearm.

    (e) Forfeiture- A qualifying firearm registered under subsection (b) shall not be subject to seizure or forfeiture under chapter 53 or 75 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 or chapter 44 of title 18, United States Code, for a violation of any such chapter with respect to the qualifying firearm that occurred at or before the time at which the individual registered the firearm.

    (f) Notice; Forms; Mailbox Rule-

      (1) NOTICE OF AMNESTY PERIOD- The Attorney General shall provide clear printed notices providing information regarding the amnesty period and registering a qualifying firearm during the period. To the extent feasible, the Attorney General shall ensure that the notices are posted in post offices, law enforcement buildings, buildings of the Department of Veterans Affairs, and businesses of licensed firearms dealers.

      (2) FORMS- The Attorney General shall make available any forms necessary for registering a firearm in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record. To the extent feasible, the Attorney General shall make such forms available in the locations referred to in paragraph (1) and through the website of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

      (3) MAILBOX RULE- For purposes of this section, the Attorney General shall treat any form that is postmarked during the amnesty period as being received during the amnesty period.

SEC. 3. TRANSFER OF FIREARMS TO MUSEUMS.

    (a) Transfer of Forfeited Curio or Relic Firearms to Museums-

      (1) DEFINITIONS- In this subsection:

        (A) CURIO OR RELIC FIREARM- The term `curio or relic firearm' means any firearm (as defined in section 2(a)(5)) that is treated as a curio or relic under chapter 44 of title 18, United States Code.

        (B) QUALIFIED MUSEUM- The term `qualified museum' means--

          (i) any museum owned or operated by the Federal Government or a State or local government; and

          (ii) any museum that--

            (I) is open to the public;

            (II) is incorporated as a nonprofit corporation under applicable State law;

            (III) may possess a firearm in the collection of the museum under the laws of the State in which the collection is displayed;

            (IV) holds a license under chapter 44 of title 18, United States Code, as a collector of curios or relics; and

            (V) certifies to the Attorney General that--

(aa) the museum is not engaged in the trade or business of buying or selling curio or relic firearms;

(bb) with respect to the transfer of any curio or relic firearm under paragraph (2), the museum is not requesting the transfer of the curio or relic firearm for purpose of sale; and

(cc) the museum shall, not later than 90 days after the museum ceases operations, file an application pursuant to chapter 53 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to transfer any machinegun transferred to the museum under paragraph (2) to an entity or person who may lawfully possess the machinegun under section 922(o) of title 18, United States Code, or abandon the machinegun to Federal, State, or local law enforcement authorities.

      (2) TRANSFER- The Attorney General shall transfer each curio or relic firearm that is forfeited to the United States to the first qualified museum that submits a request for the curio or relic firearm in such form and manner as the Attorney General may specify.

      (3) DESTRUCTION OF FORFEITED CURIO OR RELIC FIREARMS PROHIBITED- The Attorney General shall not destroy any curio or relic firearm that is forfeited to the United States until the end of the 5-year period beginning on the date of the forfeiture.

      (4) CATALOGUE OF CURIO OR RELIC FIREARMS- With respect to each curio or relic firearm that is available to be transferred to a qualified museum under paragraph (2), the Attorney General shall, not later than 60 days after the date of the forfeiture of the curio or relic firearm, publish information which identifies the curio or relic firearm (including a picture) on the website of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. The information shall be available to the public without cost and without restriction.

      (5) REGISTRATION OF CURIO OR RELIC FIREARMS- Any curio or relic firearm transferred under paragraph (2) to a qualified museum shall be registered to the transferee in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record.

    (b) Transfer of Machineguns to Museums- Section 922(o)(2) of title 18, United States Code, is amended--

      (1) in subparagraph (A), by striking `or' at the end;

      (2) by redesignating subparagraph (B) as subparagraph (C); and

      (3) by inserting after subparagraph (A) the following:

        `(B) a transfer to or by, or possession by, a museum that is open to the public and incorporated as a nonprofit corporation under applicable State law; or'.

END