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Shaheen, Hassan Help Reintroduce Background Check Expansion Act

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) recently joined U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) and 45 lawmakers to reintroduce the Background Check Expansion Act to expand federal background checks to all gun sales. While more than 90 percent of Americans support comprehensive background checks, under current federal law, unlicensed or private sellers are not required to conduct a background check prior to transferring a firearm. 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 would extend to all unlicensed sellers, whether they do business online, at gun shows, or out of their home. Exceptions to the Background Check Expansion Act would 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.

“Mass shootings have become the status quo in the United States. That is horrific and unacceptable. The overwhelming majority of Granite Staters and Americans support expanding background checks to prevent weapons from falling into the hands of those who want to do harm. It’s time we have a policy that responds to those cries from the American people,” said Senator Shaheen. “The Background Check Expansion Act would help move us towards this goal by closing dangerous loopholes in our current background check system. It is past time that we take this common-sense step to save lives.”

“As too many Americans continue to lose their lives to gun violence, we can help prevent horrifying tragedies by expanding background checks for firearms,” said Senator Hassan. “Our bill would close a loophole that allows unlicensed sellers to transfer firearms without a background check. I urge my colleagues on both side of the aisle to support this commonsense bill; we have a responsibility to do more to prevent senseless gun deaths.”

In addition to Shaheen, Hassan and Murphy, the bill is cosponsored by 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), Peter Welch (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), Jack Reed (D-RI), Jon Ossoff (D-GA), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Angus King (I-ME) and John Fetterman (D-PA).

Full text of the bill can be found here.

Shaheen is a longstanding advocate for gun violence prevention efforts. Senators Shaheen and Hassan were strong supporter of the landmark Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which was signed into law last June and included measures that the Senators previously pushed for, including to close the ‘boyfriend loophole’ and incentives for states to pass and administer extreme risk protection laws. In July, Senator Shaheen met with Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig and local gun violence awareness advocates to discuss policies aimed at curbing violence and the need for additional measures to keep communities safe. Shaheen also released a statement in June of 2022 criticizing Governor Sununu and New Hampshire Republicans for their extreme bill – now law in New Hampshire – that prohibits the State from enforcing any federal statute, regulation or Executive Order related to measures to stem the epidemic of gun violence. Last month, Shaheen and Hassan cosponsored Senator Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) Assault Weapons Act, which would ban the sale, transfer, manufacture and importation of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines. Shaheen also joined a bicameral group of lawmakers to reintroduce Ethan’s Law, legislation that would require gun owners to safely and securely store their firearms.