WASHINGTON — U.S. Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons (both D-Del.) joined Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and 41 senators on Tuesday in reintroducing the Background Check Expansion Act to expand federal background checks to all gun sales. Under current federal law, unlicensed or private sellers are not required to conduct a background check prior to transferring a firearm. Roughly 93 percent of Americans support universal background checks. Research indicates that approximately one in five U.S. gun owners obtained a firearm without a background check in recent years.
“Failing to address the gun violence epidemic in our country is not an option. We have a moral obligation to act now to save lives and keep our communities safe,” said Senator Carper. “By putting in place smart, broadly supported laws like the Background Check Expansion Act, which will strengthen background checks on all gun sales and ensure we can keep firearms out of the hands of criminals, we can help reduce gun violence without infringing on the rights of law-abiding citizens. These popular, common sense reforms are not only the right thing to do, they are the responsible thing to do.”
“Gun violence takes more than 100 American lives each day, and the gun violence epidemic has devastated communities and families in Delaware and across the country,” said Senator Coons. “Universal background checks keep guns out of the wrong hands by closing loopholes in our current system. Instituting universal background checks is a popular and commonsense step to make our communities safer. The majority of Americans want this passed, so let’s get to work and build the consensus we need behind reasonable and effective gun reform.”
The Background Checks Expansion Act will require background checks for the sale or transfer of all firearms. This requirement extends to all unlicensed sellers, whether they do business online, at gun shows, or out of their home. Exceptions to the Background Check Expansion Act include transfers between law enforcement officers, temporarily loaning firearms for hunting and sporting events, providing firearms as gifts to immediate family members, transferring a firearm as part of an inheritance, or temporarily transferring a firearm for immediate self-defense.
In addition to Senators Carper, Coons and Murphy, U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.),Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.) co-sponsored the bill.
Full text of the bill can be found here.