October 05, 2017

Wyden, Colleagues Introduce Three Bills to Check Gun Violence

Legislation would close background-check loopholes, end industry liability protections and ban bump-stock devices

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., this week joined his Senate colleagues in introducing three bills that would close a firearm background check loophole, end liability protections for gun manufacturers and ban bump-stock devices that can convert rifles into machine guns.

“The mass shooting in Las Vegas takes its place in a tragic litany of massacres that include Orlando, Umpqua Community College and far too many others,” Wyden said. “These tragedies require more than ‘thoughts and prayers.’ They demand common-sense action and that’s what each of these three bills would provide.”

The Automatic Gun Fire Prevention Act would close a loophole that allows semi-automatic weapons to be easily modified to fire at the rate of automatic weapons, which have been illegal for more than 30 years.

The Background Check Completion Act would require a completed background check for every gun buyer who buys a gun from a federally-licensed gun dealer. When a criminal background check indicates a firearm purchaser may have a criminal record, the FBI tries to determine whether the purchaser can legally buy a gun. If this process takes longer than 72 hours, gun dealers can complete the sale even though there is a heightened risk that the buyer is legally disqualified from purchasing a gun.

The Equal Access to Justice for Victims of Gun Violence Act would repeal existing legislation that offers liability protections for the firearm industry. In 2005, Congress passed legislation that provides immunity in state and federal court from civil liability for manufacturers, distributors, and dealers of firearms, as well as their trade associations, in most negligence and products liability actions. This immunity from liability under well-established common law principles that apply to everyone else in society is unique to the gun industry.

“Americans are voicing their warranted frustrations on the urgent need to take steps like these three pieces of legislation to close dangerous loopholes, make every reasonable effort to provide background checks and hold the gun industry accountable for its continued failure to prevent senseless acts of gun violence,” Wyden said.