March 02, 2021

Duckworth, Durbin, Senators Reintroduce Background Check Expansion Act to Reduce Gun Violence


[WASHINGTON D.C.] — U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, joined Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) and 40 other Democratic Senators today 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. Ninety-seven percent 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. U.S. Representative Mike Thompson (D-CA) introduced the companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“It’s just common sense that if you can’t pass a background check, you shouldn’t be able to purchase a firearm—and the vast majority of Americans know it,” said Duckworth. “How many lives must be taken before Congress finally says, ‘enough is enough?’ In the wake of so many tragedies, it’s past time Congress acted on this common-sense solution to help keep weapons out of the hands of terrorists, criminals and those who are dangerous to others and to themselves.”

“The overwhelming majority of Americans support ensuring background checks on all gun sales. And for good reason; the loopholes in the current system make it too easy for guns to end up in the hands of those prohibited by law from buying them. It is far past time that Congress answers the call to better protect our communities from senseless gun violence by passing the Background Check Expansion Act,” said Durbin.

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. 

Duckworth, Durbin, and Murphy are joined by U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY), 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), 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), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Patty Murray (D-WA), Gary Peters (D-MI), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), and Jack Reed (D-RI).

Full text of the bill can be found here.