Senate

Democrats reintroduce gun sale background check legislation

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) reintroduced legislation to expand federal background checks on all gun sales on Tuesday.

The Background Check Expansion Act is co-sponsored by 43 Senate Democrats, including Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), and would require unlicensed or private sellers to conduct a background check prior to transferring a firearm. 

Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) reintroduced the companion legislation in the House on Tuesday. 

"Joe Biden and hundreds of congressional candidates from both parties ran on the issue of background checks. This is the year to get this bill passed into law. And this legislation has the chance to bring this country together - even 85 percent of gun owners believe in expanding background checks, and a growing anti-gun violence movement, made up of both Democrats and Republicans, is demanding change," Murphy said in a press release. 

President Biden recently met with gun violence prevention groups and the White House has said he is personally committed to action on gun control. His campaign website said he would "enact universal background check legislation."

The Democratic-led House last Congress passed the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, aimed at strengthening background checks for gun purchases, in February 2019. The bill never received votes in the GOP-controlled Senate.

While Democrats control the House, the party would need all 50 members in the Senate to rally around gun legislation and be joined by at least 10 Republican senators to overcome the legislative filibuster. 

"For years, this bipartisan House-passed background checks bill languished in the Senate under Republican Leader Mitch McConnell. Now, with Senate Democrats in the Majority, we have the opportunity to act on this overwhelmingly popular, lifesaving legislation to protect American communities," Schumer said in a press release.

The legislation would extend required background checks to all unlicensed sellers, including online, at gun shows or out of homes. Exceptions would include transfers between law enforcement officers, loaning firearms for hunting, gifting to immediate family members, inheritance transfers and temporary transfers for immediate self-defense.

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