Closing Gun Show Loopholes
Only federally licensed firearms dealers are required to conduct background checks. However, 40 percent of gun sales are completed without a background check, including private online sales, gun show sales, person-to-person sales, and other private transactions. Approximately ninety-seven percent of voters want Congress to expand background checks to all gun sales, including gun owners and vendors. Background check expansions must be enacted immediately to reduce gun violence in our communities.
Providing Universal Background Checks
All firearm transfers should require background checks. In the 25 years since the Brady Law, more than three million illegal firearm transfers have been prevented. In 2015 alone, an average of 619 individuals per day were deemed by law to be too dangerous to possess a gun and were blocked by this system. Background checks are conclusively effective and have saved countless lives. For these reasons, we encourage the Senate to pass S.529, the Background Check Expansion Act, and take other bold steps to limit the crisis of gun violence in our country.
Banning Assault Weapons and Limiting Magazine Size
Congress must pass legislation to ban all military-style semi-automatic assault weapons like the one used to murder ten innocent people in Boulder, Colorado in 2021. Two-thirds of registered voters nationwide support a ban on the sale of assault weapons. These devices allow shooters to fire numerous rounds in rapid succession without having to stop and reload. Assault weaponry has been a central part of the mass killings in schools and public meeting places in the last ten years. Furthermore, placing limits on magazine size is a common-sense solution to shootings that risk multiple lives. This limit should include magazines and other ammunition feeding devices that hold more than ten ammunition rounds.
Increasing Penalties for Straw Purchases of Guns
Buying a gun for someone prohibited by law from possessing one or for someone who does not want their name associated with the transaction is an illegal firearm “straw” purchase. Because straw purchases of guns are a federal crime, Congress should pass legislation to increase the penalties for straw purchases when individuals who do not have criminal records buy guns and pass them on to individuals who are not eligible to purchase a firearm, including people convicted of a felony and domestic abusers.
Funding Research and Reporting of Gun Violence
In 2018-2019, the nation experienced more than four hundred mass shootings according to the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit research group that tracks shootings and their characteristics in the United States. These mass shootings included high-profile shootings in El Paso, Texas; Parkland, Florida; and Dayton, Ohio. The League showed up in all these instances to protect their communities.
In 2020, the House approved $25 million in federal research funding to study gun violence. The bill passed just days after the seventh anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that killed 26 people, including 20 children. That bill went unheard in the Senate at the time, but now is a critical opportunity for the Senate to show leadership by passing similar legislation and seeing it through to the President’s desk.
Ghost guns are highly prevalent in today’s world. They can be 3D-printed, made from a kit, ordered online from an operation that assembles un-serialized firearms, or otherwise assembled from unserialized individual gun parts sold by companies online.
State action on ghost guns is key in building a robust national common-sense gun control framework.