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Published: 24 January 2013
WASHINGTON, DC—U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) announced today that he has reintroduced his legislation to close the gun show loophole—a significant loophole in U.S. law that allows guns to be sold, even to criminals and the severely mentally ill, by unlicensed sellers at gun shows without conducting background checks. Lautenberg's bill would require that background checks be conducted on all firearms sales at gun shows, even sales by private parties. Last week, President Obama called for legislation to require background checks on all guns sold—including all guns sold at gun shows—as part of his gun violence prevention recommendations.
“Criminals, terrorists, the mentally ill and other dangerous people shouldn't be able to walk into a gun show and walk out with guns and assault weapons, no questions asked. Closing the gun show loophole is a simple step that we can take to increase gun safety and prevent dangerous weapons from getting into the wrong hands,” Lautenberg said. “An overwhelming majority of Americans want to stop unchecked sales at gun shows, and this bill would do just that. I have beaten the gun lobby by getting my legislation to close the gun show loophole through the Senate before, and I am confident we can do it again.”
A recent Gallup poll demonstrated the overwhelming support for closing the gun show loophole, with 92 percent of Americans in favor of laws that require people attempting to purchase guns at gun shows to undergo background checks.
Sen. Lautenberg has been working to close the gun show loophole since 1999, when he first introduced legislation to require background checks for all guns sold at gun shows. Later that year—in the wake of the Columbine tragedy, where three of the weapons were purchased at gun shows without a background check—a Republican-controlled Senate passed Sen. Lautenberg’s legislation as an amendment to a juvenile justice bill. The legislation passed by one vote, with Vice President Gore casting the tie-breaking vote. However, the gun lobby killed the legislation in the House-Senate conference.
The bill, S.22, is co-sponsored in the 113th Congress by Senators Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), Tom Carper (D-DE), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Chris Coons (D-DE), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Carl Levin (D-MI), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).