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‘Gun Show Loophole Closing Act’ reintroduced in the House

Tuesday, March 21, 2017 7:27
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A Democrat from New York’s 12th congressional district reintroduced the Gun Show Loophole Closing Act in the U.S. House of Representatives last week.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney sponsored H.R. 1612 Friday and, so far, 29 co-sponsors, all Democrats, have signed onto the bill, which would require background checks for all firearm sales at gun shows.

“For too long, we have allowed the gun show loophole to undermine our best efforts to prevent crime and keep guns away from dangerous individuals” Maloney said Friday. “The Brady Bill has prevented the sale of more than 3 million guns to felons, domestic abusers, and other prohibited purchasers. The gun show loophole and other shortcomings erode this progress and safety check, allowing dangerous individuals to game the system and slip through the cracks.”

The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act mandates background checks for guns bought through federally licensed dealers only, thus allowing otherwise prohibited buyers to exploit the so-called loophole by forgoing a background check during a private sale.

This bill, like the five iterations before it, tries to close that perceived loophole as well as require gun show operators to register with the attorney general’s office and update the state with a list of all vendors’ identities at any upcoming events. Agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives would also “inspect” gun shows and the vendors’ records.

“This common-sense legislation would make sure that all sales at gun shows require background checks,” Maloney said. “Just like New York has already required on the state level.”

Efforts to close the “gun show loophole” have found success at the state level, with universal background check laws on the books in eight states, including California, Washington, Oregon and Colorado.

Voters approved a similar law in Nevada by less than 1 percent last year, though in December state Attorney General Adam Laxalt halted the measure from taking effect, citing contradictory language.

Maloney, a 23-year congressional veteran and former New York City Councilwoman, has long championed gun control in the House. Besides her efforts to bring background checks to gun shows nationwide, she joined U.S. Sen. Edward J Markey, D-Mass., in asking President Obama for $10 million in federal funding for the Centers for Disease Control to study gun violence as a health issue in 2014. She later proposed legislation asking for six times that amount, previously reported.

H.R. 1612 was referred to the House Judiciary Committee. No hearings have been scheduled.

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