America needs background checks on every gun sale.
Nearly 40,000 people died from gun violence in 2017. A universal background check requirement will help keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people and save lives.
The US House of Representatives is now considering the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, also known as H.R. 8, which would close existing loopholes in federal law by requiring a background check on every gun sale. Read more about this lifesaving legislation and urge your representative to support it.
Background Checks Save Lives
Background checks have stopped more than 3 million illegal gun sales since 1994, but our laws our riddled with loopholes.
Only federally licensed firearms dealers are required to run a criminal background check. People who are legally prohibited from buying guns can still easily buy one from:
- A gun show
- An online seller
- A person-to-person “private” sale
These gaps in our laws make it far too easy for convicted felons, domestic abusers, and other dangerous people to obtain guns.
There’s no reason a criminal who can’t pass a background check should be able to purchase a firearm from the internet, a gun show, or the trunk of a car.
It’s time to close these loopholes and require a background check for every gun sale.
It’s Time to Close the Loopholes
The evidence is clear: if there are loopholes, criminals will exploit them.
For example, a recent report found that people who bought guns from Armslist.com, a major online marketplace, were nearly four times as likely to have a criminal record that would prevent them from passing a background check.
And 80% of all firearms acquired for criminal purposes are bought through unlicensed sellers. Many of these guns are trafficked from states with weak gun laws to states with strong gun laws, undermining state universal background check laws.
The glaring loopholes and patchwork of state laws show why we need a clear national standard. Congress should pass strong requirements at the federal level to ensure a background check on every gun sale.
Who Supports Background Checks?
Almost everyone. Universal background checks are supported by the vast majority of Americans of every political stripe.
- 97% of Americans support requiring a background check for all gun sales.
- 97% of gun owners support requiring a background check for all gun sales.
- 97% of Republicans support requiring a background check for all gun sales.
The Bipartisan Background Checks Act has broad support from some of the nation’s leading organizations:
Law Enforcement Organizations
American Academy of Pediatrics
American College of Physicians
American College of Preventive Medicine
American College of Surgeons
American Medical Association
American Medical Student Association
American Nurses Association
American Psychological Association
American Public Health Association
Catholic Health Association of the United States
Doctors for America
Emergency Nurses Association
National Association of Social Workers
National Physicians Alliance
This Is Our Lane
Human Rights Organizations
Gun Violence Prevention Organizations
Social Justice and Civic Engagement Organizations
Congress should swiftly pass H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019. Few other policies have such widespread support. Call your member of Congress and tell them to support background checks for every gun sale now:
- FACTSHEET: Background Checks Myths Debunked: Explore the myths and facts of H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019.
- FACTSHEET: H.R. 8: Learn details about the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019.
- FACTSHEET: Universal Background Checks: This factsheet from Giffords Law Center details existing loopholes in federal background check laws.
- FACTSHEET: Universal Background Checks Policy: This one-page factsheet from Giffords explains how criminals circumvent existing policy and explains solutions to close the loopholes in the federal background checks system.
- Universal Background Checks: This Giffords Law Center webpage is a clearinghouse of data and policy analysis on universal background checks.
- Frequently Asked Questions About Universal Background Checks: This FAQ from the Center for American Progress breaks down why universal background checks are so important.
- For the Record: NICS & Public Safety: This report from Giffords Law Center examines the challenges NICS system faces, and the best practices lawmakers can adopt to improve the quality and number of records in the NICS databases.