Commentary: U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) introduced 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. Research indicates that as many as a quarter of all gun sales in the United States may occur without a background check even though 97 percent of Americans support comprehensive background checks.
“Like so many Americans across the country, New Mexicans have suffered the tragic consequences of gun violence, which has claimed the lives of too many innocent people across our state. In the wake of this endless string of victims and mourning families, Congress has a responsibility to act,” said Senator Udall. “This bill is an important first step -- universal background checks would help prevent mass shootings and address the epidemic of gun violence in our country. I’m proud to support this sensible legislation that will keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of those who seek to harm innocent people. And I’ll continue fighting for the commonsense solutions we need to keep communities safe while upholding the rights of responsible, law-abiding citizens.” “Background checks work and the majority of gun owners, including myself, support them,” said Senator Heinrich.“Expanding background checks is simply commonsense and is the most effective way to keep guns in the hands of lawful, responsible owners and out of the hands of violent criminals and those who pose a threat to our kids and our communities.”
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.
A copy of the bill is available here.