Claim: A bill currently before Congress would require that all handgun owners list their guns on federal income tax returns.
Example: [Collected via e-mail, May 2009]
Senate Bill SB-2099 will require us to put on our 2009 1040 federal tax form all guns that you have or own. It may require
fingerprints and a tax of $50 per gun.
This bill was introduced on Feb. 24. This bill will become public knowledge
The full text of the proposed amendment is on the U.S. Senate homepage, http://www.senate.gov/
You can find the bill by doing a search by the bill number, SB-2099.
Variations: An August 2009 version of the Handgun Safety and Registration Act
Origins: The item quoted above about a pending Congressional bill requiring gun owners to list their guns on federal income tax is both outdated and contains a good deal of misinformation. The referenced bill,
The issue back in 2000 was
(complete with photograph and fingerprints) with the internal revenue authorities, and authorized the creation of “a central registry of all firearms in the United States which are not in the possession or under the control of the United States.” However, the definition of “firearm” used by the 1934 act did not include standard rifles, shotguns, or handguns. It applied only to specialized weapons such as short-barrelled rifles and shotguns, machine guns, silencers, and other “destructive devices” (e.g., grenades, bombs, rockets, missiles, mines).
The upshot of the Handgun Safety and Registration Act, if passed, would have been the imposition of a $50 tax on the manufacture of all handguns, a requirement that all gun owners register their handguns within one year of the Act’s passage (but not, as claimed, list them on their federal income tax returns), and the provision that registration information be made available to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. In practical terms, every handgun owner would have had to obtain a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms registration form and an FBI fingerprint form, then complete and submit both forms (along with a 2×2 of himself and a $5 payment) to the BATF.
That the intent of this bill was to effect nationwide registration of handguns is unmistakable. As stated in a
The bill would require registration of all handguns, including those currently in private possession, and would make it a felony for any person to transfer a handgun to another individual without prior law enforcement approval. Background checks would be performed on all primary and secondary transfers of handguns, including retail sales, gun shows, Internet sales and all private sales.
The claim that this bill could have been passed into law without Congress voting upon it was not true: The Handgun Safety and Registration Act, like any other Congressional bill, would have had to be passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the President (or passed again over his veto) in order to become law. Furthermore, the $50 tax specified in the bill would have applied only to gun manufacturers, not gun owners.
As noted above, the Handgun Safety and Registration Act of 2000 languished in committee without ever being brought to a vote, and even Senator Reed himself said at the time he submitted the bill that he was not optimistic about its chances of success:
I am under no illusion that this legislation will be approved by this Congress or next
| Misleading E-mail (gunregistration.org)|
Last updated: 13 August 2009
A Word to Our Loyal Readers
Support Snopes and make a difference for readers everywhere.
- David Mikkelson
- Doreen Marchionni
- David Emery
- Bond Huberman
- Jordan Liles
- Alex Kasprak
- Dan Evon
- Dan MacGuill
- Bethania Palma
- Liz Donaldson
- Vinny Green
- Ryan Miller
- Chris Reilly
- Chad Ort
- Elyssa Young
Most Snopes assignments begin when readers ask us, “Is this true?” Those tips launch our fact-checkers on sprints across a vast range of political, scientific, legal, historical, and visual information. We investigate as thoroughly and quickly as possible and relay what we learn. Then another question arrives, and the race starts again.
We do this work every day at no cost to you, but it is far from free to produce, and we cannot afford to slow down. To ensure Snopes endures — and grows to serve more readers — we need a different kind of tip: We need your financial support.
Support Snopes so we continue to pursue the facts — for you and anyone searching for answers.