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Firearms and Hate Crimes

The American Bar Association urges Congress to pass the Disarm Hate Act (H.R. 5435/S. 2776, 118th Cong.) or similar legislation to include those persons previously convicted of a misdemeanor hate crime or who received an enhanced sentence for a misdemeanor crime because of hate or bias in its commission in the prohibitions on possession, purchase, or receipt of a firearm under the Gun Control Act of 1968, and urges state, local, territorial, and tribal governments to enact similar prohibitions.

The American Bar Association additionally encourages federal, state, local, territorial, and tribal governments to enact Extreme Risk Protection Orders in which evidence that a respondent poses a serious threat to himself, herself, or others includes, but is not limited to, the written or oral publication of speech expressing hatred or encouraging violence against persons because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender diversity, or disability of those persons.

Policy 24M603


Guns on College Campuses

The American Bar Association urges federal, state, local, territorial, and tribal governments to enact statutes, rules and regulations that would make it unlawful for any person, other than law enforcement, to possess firearms on property owned, operated, or controlled by any public or private institute of higher education; and in states that do not do so, authorize such institutions of higher education to restrict or regulate the concealed or open carry of firearms on their campuses.

Policy 23M603


Charleston Loophole

The American Bar Association urges federal, state, local, territorial, and tribal governments to enact statutes, rules and regulations that provide law enforcement reasonable time to complete a thorough background check of a prospective purchaser of a firearm before the transfer of a firearm can take place; The American Bar Association urges the repeal of 18 U.S.C. § 922(t)(1)(B)(ii), also known as the “Charleston Loophole,” that allows for  the sale of a firearm to be consummated after three business days have expired, 1even if the background check has not been completed; and the American Bar Association urges federal, state, local, territorial, and tribal governments to authorize and appropriate sufficient funds to agencies responsible for background checks, in order to ensure timely processing.

Policy 22A601


Guns in Polling Places

The American Bar Association urges federal, state, local, territorial, and tribal governments to enact statutes, rules and regulations to prohibit the possession and display of firearms by persons other than governmentally authorized military, law enforcement or security personnel  in and around buildings and at meetings where legislative debate is conducted, or where ballots are cast, received, processed, or counted, in order to prevent violence, avoid impacts on public health and safety, and ensure that armed intimidation does not disrupt or discourage open, robust debate on public issues or interfere with the electoral processes critical to the functioning of our democracy.

Policy 21M111


Ghost Guns

The American Bar Association urges federal, state, local, territorial, and tribal governments to enact statutes, rules and regulations that would make it unlawful for any person to transfer, sell, trade, give, transport, or deliver any unfinished firearm frame or receiver to any person (other than a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector) unless (i) the unfinished frame or receiver is serialized in accordance with federal requirements for the serialization of firearms, (ii) the recipient passes a background check consistent with the federal requirements for a licensed dealer’s transfer of a firearm, and (iii) the seller or transferor of the unfinished frame or receiver creates and retains records consistent with the federal record-keeping requirements for licensed firearm dealers related to the disposition of firearms, and prohibit the possession, without a federal firearms license, of a finished or unfinished firearm frame or receiver that has not been serialized.

Policy 20M107A

Permit to Purchase

The American Bar Association urges federal, state, local, territorial, and tribal governments to enact statutes, rules and regulations that require any person seeking to acquire a designated firearm to apply for a permit from a designated law enforcement or public safety agency, in person, to be fingerprinted, and be subject to a background and criminal records check; and prohibit the sale, delivery or transfer of a firearm to anyone who does not possess a valid permit.

Policy 20M107B

Safe Storage

The American Bar Association urges federal, state, local, territorial, and tribal governments to enact statutes, rules and regulations that define the requirements of safe storage of a firearm, require firearm owners to meet those requirements, promote safe storage education for firearm owners, urge the federal government to incentivize safe storage programs within the states.

Policy 20M107C


Firearms in Courthouses

The ABA urges federal, state, local, territorial, and tribal courts and legislatures to develop policies and protocols as to who may carry firearms in courthouses, courtrooms, and judicial centers that allow only those persons necessary to ensure security, including approved safety officers, judges, and court personnel, have weapons in the courthouse, courtroom, or judicial center, including common areas within the buildings as well as the grounds immediately adjacent to the justice complex, and that require training for those who are permitted to carry firearms.

Policy 19A105

Arming of School Personnel

The ABA opposes laws and policies that would authorize teachers, principals or other non-security school personnel to possess a firearm in, or on the grounds of, a pre-K through grade 12 public, parochial, or private school, and opposes the use of government or public funds to provide firearms training to teachers, principals, or other non-security school personnel, or to purchase firearms for those individuals.

Policy 19M106A

NICS Self Reporting

The ABA urges federal, state, local, territorial, and tribal governments to reduce potential harm that individuals may inflict on themselves or others by enacting statutes, rules, or regulations allowing individuals to temporarily prevent themselves from purchasing firearms.

Policy 19M106B


Extreme Risk Protective Orders

The ABA urges state, local, territorial, and tribal governments to enact statutes, rules, or regulations authorizing courts to issue gun violence restraining orders, including ex parte orders.

Policy 17A118B


Physician Gag Orders

The ABA opposes governmental actions and policies that limit the rights of physicians and other health care providers to inquire of their patients whether they possess guns and how they are secured in the home or to counsel their patients about the dangers of guns in the home and safe practices to avoid those dangers.

Policy 12A111


Conceal Carry Permits

The ABA urges jurisdictions that allow the carrying of concealed weapons to grant broad discretion to law enforcement authorities to determine whether a permit or license should be issued and opposes legislation that would limit such discretion by requiring issuance of a license or permit to persons simply because they satisfy minimum prescribed requirements. The resolution also opposes federal legislation that would force states to recognize permits or licenses to carry concealed weapons issued in another state.

Policy 11A115 

NICS Accuracy and Funding

The ABA urges government entities to take all appropriate measures to ensure that the National Criminal Background Check System (NICS) is as complete and accurate as possible, so that all persons properly categorized as prohibited from buying firearms are included in the NICS system; urges the Department of Justice to rescind its memorandum that advises other agencies they need not report to the FBI, for inclusion in the NICS system, persons who have failed voluntary drug tests, and urges other federal agencies to rescind any similar policies they have; urges the Department of Justice and its Bureau of ATF to revise existing policy to extend up to five years the period that drug abusers and addicts will remain on the NICS prohibited lis; supports the rights of persons listed in the NICS system to administratively challenge and seek judicial review of any such listing; and urges the government to devote adequate resources to fund complete and accurate implementation of the NICS system.

Policy 11A10A


Microstamping Technology

In trying to solve violent crimes in which guns are used, law enforcement is limited in the investigative use which can be made of the cartridge casing of spent ammunition which are usually left at the scene. Only if a weapon is recovered will law enforcement be able to do forensic tests to determine whether the particular weapon was used in the crime. Unfortunately, more often then not, the weapon is not recovered at the scene. The ABA supports fitting newly-manufactured semi-automatic pistols with microstamping technology, which would enable law enforcement to examine the cartridge casing fired from such weapons and learn the serial number of the weapon used. This, in turn, will enable law enforcement to trace the original purchaser of the weapon and to commence an investigation to attempt to identify the person (whether the original owner or someone else) who used the weapon in the violent crime.

Policy 10A115


Exclusion of Firearms from the Workplace

The ABA supports the traditional property rights of private employers and others to exclude, form the workplace and other property, persons in possession of firearms or other weapons, and opposing federal, state, and local legislation that abrogates those rights.

Policy 07M107


Restriction of Sale of .50 Caliber Sniper Weapons

The ABA supports federal, state and territorial laws to restrict the sale, transfer and possession of .50 caliber sniper weapons.

Policy 05A10C


Enforcement of Existing Gun Laws

The ABA supports stronger enforcement and prosecution of federal gun laws.

Policy 04A115

School Violence Prevention Education

The American Bar Association urges federal, state, territorial and local governments to adopt legislation that promotes school violence prevention education, instruction, awareness training and programs for children, parents, teachers and school administrators, and urges all lawyers to support school violence prevention education in school and community settings by volunteering time or contributing resources to promote programs that help prevent violent acts by children through encouraging timely, appropriate resolution of conflict.

Policy 04M109


Opposition to Firearm Industry Immunity

The ABA opposes federal, state or territorial legislation to create special legal immunity for the firearms industry from civil tort liability.

Policy 01A10B


Comprehensive Gun Violence Prevention in Schools

The ABA supports a comprehensive approach to address gun violence by young persons at schools that includes preventative school-based peer mediation programs, firearms education programs, support for increased efforts to enforce laws to prevent unauthorized or illegal access to firearms by minors, and enactment of firearm laws that emphasize prevention, adult responsibility, and safety.

Policy 98A10E


Civil Remedies for Victims of Gun Violence

The ABA supports amending the Gun Control Act of 1968 to provide a private cause of action, with concurrent state and federal jurisdiction, for those persons sustaining injury or damage as a result of a violation of the Act; and supports legislation to adopt and extend state and territorial laws to provide civil claims for relief for those persons sustaining injury or damage as a result of a violation of state, territorial or municipal laws regulating the use, sale, possession, license, ownership, or control of firearms or ammunition.

Policy 96M8


Task Force on Gun Violence Report

The ABA reaffirms its policies regarding the regulation of firearms; encourages a multi-disciplinary education and awareness effort to prevent and reduce gun violence; supports amending the Gun Control Act of 1968 to expand the list of persons prohibited from receiving or possessing firearms, require a federal license for any person to posses a personal arsenal of firearms or ammunition, provide that Federal Firearms licenses be limited to bona fide firearms dealers, and provide authority to the federal government to regulate firearms as consumer products; and supports legislation that would require gun-owners to obtain and maintain a current handgun license, that all handguns be registered, and that would increase the federal tax on handguns and handgun-ammunition.

Policy 94A10E

Affirmation of ABA Policy on Firearm Regulation

Remind the public of the Association's long-standing opposition to uncontrolled use and sale of guns and its commitment to public safety. Issues the warning that guns have now become the most visible instrument of violence in what has become a culture of violence of which children and youth have become victims. Reaffirms Association policies adopted in 65A Criminal Justice, 1973, 1975, 1983, and 8/93 BOG Exhibit 4.4 respecting regulation of firearms. Urge legislative bodies to vigorously pursue solutions to the problem of gun violence consistent with existing ABA policy. Instruct the Task Force on Gun Violence to report to the House of Delegates as to policy recommendations further addressing the problem of gun violence.

Policy 94M8D


Limit of Availability of Assault Weapons

The ABA supports legislation to limit availability of assault weapons to the military and law enforcement organizations.

Policy 93A10I


Violent Crime Control Act of 1991

The Executive Committee approved a resolution that the American Bar Association opposes certain provisions of the Biden-Thurmond Violent Crime Control Act of 1991, or similar legislation, which would give federal prosecutors concurrent jurisdiction with state prosecutors in virtually all crimes where a gun transported in interstate commerce was used in the commission of a homicide or other violent or drug-trafficking crime.

Policy 10/91 Ex. Comm. #2 


Final Report by the Criminal Justice Section Task Force on Crime

The ABA supports the enactment of appropriate penalties to deter firearms-related crimes; endorses effective and proven measures to control the possession of handguns; and opposes efforts to repeal provisions of the Gun Control Act of 1968.

Policy 83M103


Recommended Amendments to the Gun Control Act of 1968

The ABA supports legislation to amend to the Gun Control Act of 1968, to, inter alia: prohibit interstate sales by unlicensed persons of ammunition and firearms components; define the term "firearms for sporting purposes"; upgrade standards of eligibility for licensing of dealers, requiring background checks of applicants and making conferral of such licenses discretionary rather than mandatory; require dealers, manufacturers, transporters and importers of firearms and ammunition to provide adequate and secure storage facilities in order to reduce theft of firearms and ammunition; mandate a waiting period prior to firearms purchases for a criminal background check by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; encourage severe, but not mandatory, penalties for offenses involving firearms; and require periodic review of eligibility of handgun possessors consistent with due process of law.

Policy 75A109.I


Reaffirm Amending Federal Firearms Act

The ABA supports legislation to limit the sale and possession of cheap, foreign-made handguns.

Policy 73M107.6


Amend Federal Firearms Act of 1934

The ABA supports legislation to amend the Federal Firearms Act of 1934, to, inter alia: require licensing of dealers in interstate commerce of firearms; prohibit sales to felons, fugitives, persons under indictment, adjudicated mental incompetents and minors; restrict sale of handguns to residents of the state where purchased; and control commerce and importation of larger caliber weapons and firearms in general.

Policy 65A Criminal Justice