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Shaheen, Hassan & Group of Senators Reintroduce Background Check Expansion Act to Reduce Gun Violence

(Washington, DC) — U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-NH) and a group of Senators 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. The vast majority of Americans support comprehensive background checks. Research indicates that as many as a quarter of all gun sales in the United States may occur without a background check. 

“Parkland, Aurora, Newtown and the list goes on. That is at the heart of this deeply troubling issue: the list goes on. To finally put an end to the scourge of gun violence that has impacted so many families and communities across our nation, Congress must finally pass commonsense and meaningful reforms,” said Senator Shaheen. “By closing dangerous loopholes that are present in the background check system, the Background Check Expansion Act will help keep firearms out of the hands of dangerous individuals and help save lives. It is past time for serious policy and action from Congress to keep our streets, schools and communities safe.”

“Background checks can help prevent the senseless loss of life that we have seen time and time again in churches, schools, shopping malls, and so many community gathering places – yet for too long, commonsense background check legislation has been blocked in Congress,” said Senator Hassan. “I am glad to join in introducing federal background check legislation, and I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join the vast majority of Americans in supporting this legislation so that we can pass it into law. We have an opportunity – and an obligation – to act and save lives.”

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 Shaheen, Hassan and Murphy, U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Edward Markey (D-MA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Chris Coons (D-DE), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Tina Smith (D-MN), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Bob Casey (D-PA), Mark Warner (D-VA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Tom Carper (D-DE), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Patty Murray (D-WA), Gary Peters (D-MI), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Raphael Warnock (D-GA) and Jack Reed (D-RI) co-sponsored the bill.

The full text of the bill can be found here.