Konczal on the Unlikely Marriage of NRA and FinReg


Stick to Your Guns

June 30, 2010, 3:59 PM ET

By Patrick Fitzgerald for WSJ's Bankruptcy Beat

gun_E_20100630155437.jpgEveryone knows you can lose your shirt in bankruptcy, but if an Ohio congressman gets his way you can hold onto your guns.

Rep. John Boccieri (D., Ohio) is pushing legislation, dubbed The Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2010, which would exempt firearms from the claims of creditors.

“Specifically, the measure would permit firearms held primarily for the personal, family or household use of the debtor to be exempt from the claims of creditors under federal exemption law,” Boccieri wrote in an April letter to colleagues. You can read the whole letter here, on Mike Konczal’s Rortybomb blog.

Boccieri’s office didn’t respond to calls seeking comment. But NRA spokeswoman Rachel Parsons confirmed the existence of the legislation and said the association is backing it.

Of course, federal bankruptcy law already puts all sorts of household items – from pets to jewelry – outside the grasp of creditors. States have their own exemptions, and indeed 10 already have some type of gun exemption for people who file for bankruptcy protection.

Over at Creditslips, Georgetown law professor Adam Levitin explains why he thinks the proposal is a bad idea. But Konczal gives at least one reason to back the proposal: “The gun lobby gets everything…And if we can get the NRA to go against the banking lobbyists…we just might have a chance.”

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