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Shaheen & Hassan Introduce Legislation to Expand Background Checks & Reduce Gun Violence

(Washington, DC) — Today, U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) to reintroduce the Background Check Expansion Act, which would 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. Approximately 90 percent of Americans support comprehensive background checks. Research indicates that millions of guns are sold each year to individuals without background checks in the United States.

“If you can’t pass a background check, you shouldn’t have access to a gun – that’s just common sense,” said Shaheen. “This legislation will help keep firearms out of the hands of dangerous individuals. We must act to curb gun violence in our country, and this bill is an important step that will make our communities safer. I will keep fighting to save lives by prioritizing common-sense gun reform.”

“It is long past time for Congress to take real action to combat the epidemic of senseless gun violence that plagues our country, and expanding federal background checks to all gun sales is a commonsense step forward that the vast majority of Americans support,” said Hassan. “This legislation will help prevent guns from ending up in the possession of criminals and other dangerous people and keep our communities safe.”

The Background Checks Expansion Act requires 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 bill is also cosponsored by U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jack Reed (D-RI), Tom Carper (D-DE), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Bob Casey (D-PA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Tom Udall (D-NM), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Chris Coons (D-DE), Tina Smith (D-MN), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Mark Warner (D-VA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Timothy Kaine (D-VA), Gary Peters (D-MI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR).

Full text of the bill is available here.