Mullin Introduces Bill to Strengthen Tribal Law Enforcement Access to Firearms

Today, U.S. Senator Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) introduced the Tribal Police Department Parity Act to eliminate burdensome regulation and streamline Tribal police department access to duty weapons. Under current law, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) places an undue burden on Indian Tribes while exempting state and local entities from the same bureaucracy. U.S. Congressman Dusty Johnson (R-SD) introduced companion legislation in the House, ahead of National Police Week. 

“Tribal police departments work tirelessly to protect and serve our communities in Oklahoma and around the nation,” said Senator Mullin. “However, under current law, the ATF treats non-cross-deputized Tribal law enforcement as ‘second class’ agencies, no different than civilians. Tribal police departments should receive equal treatment under the law without being subject to transfer fees, banned interstate transfers, and other excessive red tape. It’s my honor to introduce the Tribal Police Department Parity Act to push back against unfair regulatory restrictions and support Tribal law enforcement.”

“Tribal governments with low resources have to jump through more hoops to properly supply appropriate duty weapons to their law enforcement,” said Rep. Johnson. “This bill reduces unnecessary regulatory burdens for tribal law enforcement agencies.”


Tribal police departments that lack a cross-deputization agreement with the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), must (1) pay a National Firearms Act (NFA) transfer tax stamp, (2) are prohibited from interstate transfers, and (3) are prohibited from possessing of “post 1986” machineguns. Absent this legislation, the ATF treats non-cross-deputized Tribal police departments as civilians under the NFA and the Gun Control Act (GCA). See ATF guidance HERE.