Johnson Re-Introduces Bill to Protect Tribal Members’ Firearm Access
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representative Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) introduced the bipartisan Tribal Firearms Access Act with Rep. Mary Peltola (D-AK) to protect tribal sovereignty and list tribal governments as eligible entities to issue identification documents for the purposes of transferring a firearm. U.S. Senator Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) introduced the companion bill in the Senate.
“Classifying tribal IDs as an invalid form of identification for the purchase of firearms limits tribal sovereignty and tribal members’ ability to obtain a firearm,” said Johnson. “A foreign passport is accepted as a valid form of identification—a tribal ID should be no different. My bill corrects this oversight, ensuring Second Amendment rights for tribal members.”
“The right to bear arms is constitutionally vested, and important to the day-to-day lives of Native Americans. The Tribal Firearm Access Act sponsored by Rep. Dusty Johnson removes certain barriers for tribal members to purchase firearms by allowing them to utilize tribally issued identification cards as a valid form of identification. I applaud Rep. Johnson’s continued efforts to protect tribal members’ rights, and appreciate this legislation,” said President Tony Reider, Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe.
“Tribal citizens, and all law-abiding Americans, have a fundamental right to keep and bear arms,” said Senator Mullin. “For too long, a lapse in existing law has prohibited Tribal members from using their government-issued Tribal identification to lawfully obtain firearms. Our commonsense legislation corrects this unconstitutional infringement, and I’m proud to be leading this legislation in the Senate to protect Tribal members’ ability to exercise their Second Amendment rights.”
“In Alaska, firearms are an essential tool for subsistence and self-defense alike,” said Rep. Peltola. “Tribal identification cards are already valid for a variety of uses, including boarding planes and accessing federal buildings and banks across the nation. This bill would extend this parity to include the Second Amendment Rights of Tribal members. It is past time that Tribal sovereignty is recognized in this regard, and I look forward to working with Rep. Johnson on this essential legislation.”
“The fundamental right to keep and bear arms is dependent on the ability to lawfully acquire firearms. The Tribal Firearms Access Act would ensure Native Americans can use identification issued by federally-recognized tribal governments to transfer a firearm under federal law. On behalf of our millions of members and supporters across the country, we thank Rep. Dusty Johnson for defending the rights of law-abiding Native American gun owners and offering this important legislation,” said Jason Ouimet, Executive Director, NRA-ILA.
“NSSF supports this no-nonsense measure that will ensure fair and accurate background checks for the purchase of a firearm at the point-of-sale. The Firearm Industry Trade Association consistently advocates for improvements to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) to confirm that only those who can be trusted to possess a firearm are able to purchase one from a firearm retailer. Our members rely on that system to be accurate and providing a means for tribal members to use their tribal identification cards will safeguard their ability to exercise their Second Amendment rights while ensuring firearms remain out of the hands of those that cannot be trusted to possess them,” said Lawrence G. Keane, Senior Vice President & General Counsel, National Shooting Sports Foundation.
“The National Native American Law Enforcement Association (NNALEA) supports the common sense approach to allow Photo Tribal Identification/Membership Cards to be utilized to purchase firearms. Many of Indian Country Tribal Members lack easy access to other forms of government approved identification. NNALEA realizes the importance of properly identifying purchasers of firearms. NNALEA believes the government approved Photo Tribal Identification/Membership Cards of Federally Recognized Tribes would be an important tool to achieve the lawful purchase of firearms. On behalf of our membership we would like to thank your for your commitment to Indian Country issues,” said Gary L. Edwards, CEO, NNALEA.
The Firearms Regulatory Accountability Coalition, Inc. (FRAC) and the Gun Owners of America (GOA) also support the Tribal Firearm Access Act.
The Tribal Firearms Access Act clarifies that tribal governments are eligible entities to issue identification documents for the purposes of transferring a firearm. It amends Section 922(d) of Title 18 to include valid tribal government identification documents.
“Tribal governments” is defined as all federally recognized governing bodies of Indian or Alaska Native tribes, bands, nations, pueblos, villages, communities, component bands, or component reservations, pursuant to the Federally Recognized Indian Tribe List Act of 1994.
The Tribal Firearm Access Act is also supported by U.S. Reps. Tom Cole (R-OK), Ryan Zinke (R-MT), Kelly Armstrong (R-N.D.), Don Bacon (R-NE), Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), Dan Newhouse (R-WA), Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), Nancy Mace (R-S.C.), Stephanie Bice (R-OK), Doug Lamborn (R-CO), Mariannette Miller Meeks (R-IA), and Tracey Mann (R-KS).
Read full bill text here.