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Firearms Owners Protection Act

Firearms Owners Protection Act


What did the Firearm Owners Protection Act Amend?

The Act was passed in 1986 and changed the definition of a “silencer” under the National Firearms Act.  FOPA made illegal the combination of parts used for silencers and any part that was used during the fabrication of a silencer.  FOPA also amended the Gun Control Act and prohibited the transfer or possession of machineguns, but exceptions were made for government agencies and people who lawfully possessed machineguns before May 19, 1986.

The Firearm Owners Protection Act ultimately increased the rights of gun owners while protecting the safety of the general public as well. 

Effects of the Firearm Owners Protection Act

The final version of the Firearm Owners Protection Act had the following effects:

·         allowed for the interstate sale of long guns, like shotguns rifles, with certain exceptions and as long as no local laws are broken

·         in-person interstate sales could only be performed with residents of an adjacent state, but all other sales need to go through FFL transfer

·         makes it illegal for any individual or give a firearm to a person prohibited to use a gun

·         prevents the government from forming a list of firearm owners from a dealer’s records

·         limits the number of inspections by the BATF on a dealer without a search warrant

·         allows FLL holders to participate in business away from their normal place of business

·         allows the shipment of ammunition through the US Postal Service

·         ends record keeping of ammunition except for armor piercing ammunition and explosives

·         ended the FFL requirement imposed on ammunition only dealers

·         stated that a person disposing of a personal firearm collection did not need an FFL

The Firearm Owners Protection Act also made it illegal to sell or ship a firearm or ammunition to the following people:

·         a person who is under indictment or convicted of a felony

·         a person who is considered a fugitive

·         a person who uses or is addicted to a controlled substance

·         a person who has been committed to a mental institution

·         a person who has received a dishonorable discharge from the armed force

·         a person who has renounced their U.S. citizenship

·         an illegal alien

FOPA also addressed gun crimes during drug activity and made penalties higher for drug dealers in possession of a firearm.  Additionally, FOPA allowed a person who violated the Gun Control Act or the National Firearms Act to receive relief only if they were granted relief from the Secretary of the Treasury

Firearm Owners Protection Act: Conclusion

Many of the provisions within FOPA were seen as victories for supporters of gun rights.  Proponents of gun regulation were also satisfied with some of the condition in FOPA as well.  The passing of the Act was seen as bipartisan, and numerous gun laws have been passed since FOPA was passed in 1986.