January 09, 2019

Wyden, Merkley Co-sponsor Expanded Gun Background Check Bill

Washington, D.C. – Oregon Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley this week co-sponsored legislation that would expand federal background checks to all gun sales.

The Background Check Expansion Act would fix federal law that unlicensed or private sellers are not required to conduct a background check prior to transferring a firearm.

“Students, parents and teachers throughout Oregon ask me often during town halls and other meetings why Congress can’t come together to reduce gun violence with common-sense legislation,” Wyden said. “A loophole-free, universal background check would be a long-overdue response to the trail of tragedies involving guns in the hands of people who couldn’t pass a background check.”

“An overwhelming majority of Americans agree that comprehensive background checks are a common-sense step to keeping guns out of the hands of people who may commit acts of violence,” Merkley said. “Oregonians opted for a strong background check system, and now it’s time to close the massive loophole in the federal system.”

Research indicates that as many as a quarter of all gun sales in the United States may occur without a background check. The Background Check Expansion Act would 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. 

The legislation introduced Tuesday by Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) is also co-sponsored by U.S. Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Timothy Kaine (D-Va.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.).

Full text of the bill is here.