Reps. Thompson, King Introduce Bipartisan Background Check Bill
Washington, DC – Representatives Mike Thompson (D-CA) and Peter King (R-NY) today introduced H.R. 4240, the bipartisan Thompson-King background check legislation, officially known as the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act of 2017. The bill, expands the existing background check system to cover all commercial firearm sales, including those at gun shows, over the internet or in classified ads while providing reasonable exceptions for family and friend transfers.
“This is an anti-criminal, pro-Second Amendment bill” said Mike Thompson. “Background checks are the first line of defense in our efforts to keep guns from criminals, domestic abusers and the dangerously mentally ill. The American people have had enough of thoughts and prayers. They want leaders to act. Congress should immediately take up and pass our bipartisan bill to close the system’s loopholes and to strengthen our background check system.”
“There is no single law that can put an end to mass shootings or gun violence, but there are certainly proactive steps we can take to keep guns out of the hands of felons, domestic abusers, and the dangerously mentally ill,” said Peter King. “When background checks are used, they keep guns out of the hands of people we all agree shouldn’t have guns. As government officials it is our responsibility to protect our citizens, and when it comes to gun violence we must do more. The majority of Americans want to see action, and we owe it to the victims and their families to prevent such tragedies from occurring again.”
Under the legislation, the current background check system would be expanded to require comprehensive and enforceable background checks on all commercial gun sales, such as those made at gun shows, over the internet or through classified ads. Studies show that every day where background checks are used, the system stops more than 170 felons, some 50 domestic abusers, and nearly 20 fugitives from buying a gun. However, no system is in place to prevent these same prohibited purchasers from buying identical guns at a gun show, over the internet, or through a newspaper ad with no questions asked because background checks are not required for these kinds of sales. The Thompson-King bill closes these loopholes.
The legislation also supports the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners. It provides reasonable exceptions for firearms transfers between family members, friends, and hunting buddies. Under the bill, background checks would continue to be conducted in the same manner as they have for more than 40 years.
The bill also help strengthen the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) by incentivizing states to improve reporting of criminals and the dangerously mentally ill and by directing future grant funds toward better record-sharing systems. The bill will reduce federal funds to states that do not comply.