Senators Reintroduce Bill to Prohibit Use of Federal Money for State Gun Registries

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) joined Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) and nine of their colleagues in reintroducing the Gun-owner Registration Information Protection Act (GRIP Act) to ensure federal funding cannot be used by states, localities, or any other organization to maintain gun registries.

The GRIP Act would clarify existing law that prohibits the use of any federal funding by states or local entities for the storage or “listing” of sensitive, personal information related to the legal ownership or possession of firearms.  The bill has been endorsed by the National Rifle Association (NRA).

“Law-abiding citizens should be free to exercise their Second Amendment rights without overly intrusive government interference.  This bill will help to ensure that gun owners are not unlawfully tracked by any government,” said Senator Joni Ernst.

“Federal law prohibits the government from tracking law-abiding gun owners and that ban extends to using federal dollars for such ill-advised activities on the local or state level.  This legislation clarifies that point,” said Senator Hyde-Smith. “It would ensure local gun control schemes don’t wrongfully exploit federal resources to track people who own or purchase firearms legally.” 

Original cosponsors of the legislation include Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Mike Lee (R-UT), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Tim Scott (R-SC), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), and Roger Wicker (R-MS).

“The Second Amendment is one of the most important freedoms we have as Americans,” said Senator Blackburn. “Our government should value the privacy of our civilians, and this bill ensures that federal funds cannot be used to encroach on a gun owner’s right to privacy.”

“The right to keep and bear arms, ultimately the right to self-defense, is a fundamental right that should not be stolen by any level of government.  If enacted, the GRIP Act would ensure that no federal dollars are used for the creation of state-run gun owner databases. I will always fight any infringement on the Second Amendment every step of the way, and that includes fighting for the privacy rights of law-abiding gun owners,” said Senator Cramer.

“I have been and will continue to be a defender of the right of the American people to keep and bear arms,” said Senator Enzi. “This legislation helps prevent the personal information of law-abiding citizens from being used to infringe on their rights.”

“As an avid hunter and lifelong firearm owner, protecting the rights of law-abiding gun owners is a priority of mine,” said Senator Rounds.  “In some states and cities around the country, local governments are seeking to limit the Second Amendment right to bear arms.  The GRIP Act will clarify laws already on the books designed to make sure no federal funds are spent by states and local units of government to establish or maintain firearm databases.”

Under current law, the federal government may not store information acquired during the firearms background process.  This legislation clarifies that this prohibition extends to the use of federal funds by states, localities, and other groups for the creation or maintenance of a full or partial gun registries.

The measure does not include any limitations related to state recordkeeping for permitting, law enforcement-issued firearms, or lost or stolen firearms.