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Legislative Alert

IACP Releases Firearms Position Paper

By Meredith Ward, Manager, Legislative and Media Affairs

The IACP has long advocated for the adoption of common sense policies that will assist in reducing gun violence. These proposals are drawn from the association resolutions and policy positions adopted by the over 21,000 members of the IACP over the past several years. The items listed below are not comprehensive—for the full position paper, please visit

Armor-Piercing Ammunition. The IACP supports legislation and policies that will prohibit the sale or transfer of armor-piercing ammunition. In addition, the IACP believes that the process utilized to determine whether a round of ammunition is armor piercing should include performance-based testing conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

Assault Weapons Ban. First passed in 1994, the federal assault weapons ban (Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act) required domestic gun manufacturers to stop production of semiautomatic assault weapons and ammunition magazines holding more than 10 rounds except for military or police use. While the ban was in place, it was remarkably effective in reducing the number of crimes involving assault weapons. Assault weapons are routinely the weapons of choice for gang members and drug dealers. They are regularly encountered in drug busts and are all too often used against police officers. The IACP has been a strong supporter of the assault weapons ban since 1992.

Body Armor. The IACP supports legislation to prohibit the mail order sale of bulletproof vests and body armor to all individuals except sworn or certified law enforcement officers. In recent years, the safety of law enforcement officers has often been compromised due to the possession of body armor and bulletproof vests by the criminals they were attempting to apprehend. The IACP believes that the sale, transfer, or acquisition of these items should be conducted in person in order to make it more difficult for criminals to acquire and use these items while committing crimes of violence.

Concealed Weapons. The IACP continues to oppose any federal legislative proposals that would either pre-empt, mandate, or both pre-empt and mandate the liberalization of individual states’ carrying a concealed weapon (CCW) laws pertaining to the carrying of concealed weapons in other states without meeting that state’s requirements. This applies to private citizens as well as active, former, and federal, tribal, state, and local law enforcement personnel. The IACP believes it is essential that state governments maintain the ability to legislate CCW laws that best fit the needs of their communities.

Firearms Enforcement. The IACP urges Congress to increase resources to better allow state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies and the U.S. Department of Justice to enable greater prosecution of individuals for Brady Act violations. In addition, the IACP supports firearms enforcement programs that involve local, state, and federal agencies, such as Project Safe Neighborhoods and Project Exile, which have shown significant reductions in firearms-related violent crime.

Firearms Offender Registry. The reduction of firearms-related violent crime has been and continues to be a major goal of the IACP. Studies have shown that firearm offenders have a higher recidivist rate for committing other firearms-related violent crime with firearms than the rate for sexual offenders. Therefore, the IACP supports creating a federal registry, similar to the sexual offender registry, for offenders who have been previously convicted of a felony firearm violation or a misdemeanor that involved violent or threatening acts with firearms. At little cost, this registry would have great benefit toward preventing and investigating a myriad of violent crimes, as well as establishing a computerized list of dangerous offenders that could be utilized as a notification system to alert officers
of potential danger.

Firearm Purchase Waiting Period. The IACP has gone on record supporting a waiting period for the purchase of a handgun. In the past, waiting periods have served not only as time for a thorough background investigation but also as an informal cooling-off period for handgun purchasers. However, the time needed to perform most background checks has become obsolete due to the transition to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Nevertheless, the IACP believes there must still be a cooling-off period in place before an individual can purchase a handgun. Therefore, the IACP supports legislation to create a mandatory five-day waiting period prior to the completion of a handgun purchase.

Gun Show Loophole. The federal Gun Control Act of 1968 stipulates that individuals “engaged in the business” of selling firearms must possess a Federal Firearms License (FFL). Holders of FFLs are required to conduct background checks and maintain a record of all their firearm sales. Certain gun sales and transfers between private individuals, however, are exempt from this requirement. The laws we have in place to ensure gun purchasers go through FFLs are undermined by oversights in the law that allow an individual prohibited from owning firearms to obtain weapons at events such as gun shows without undergoing a background check. The IACP supports legislation to close these loopholes and preserve the effectiveness of the laws in place.

Illegal Firearms Trafficking/Firearms Tracing. The IACP opposes any legislation that would limit or reduce the ability of U.S. law enforcement agencies to combat the sale of illegal guns. The IACP believes that the ability to trace illegal firearms effectively plays a critical role in law enforcement’s ability to protect communities from the scourge of firearms violence. ♦

Please cite as:

Meredith Ward, "IACP Releases Firearms Position Paper," Legislative Alert, The Police Chief 80 (February 2013): 8.



From The Police Chief, vol. LXXX, no. 2, February 2013. Copyright held by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, 515 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 USA.

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