Fix Gun Checks Act
The Fix Gun Checks Act would repair our nation’s broken gun background check system by taking two simple steps. First, the bill would provide stronger incentives for state and federal agencies to get all the necessary records about individuals who are barred from owning handguns into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). Second, the bill would require a background check on every gun sale. Mayors Against Illegal Guns also launched a nationwide campaign in support of the bill.
More than a decade after 9/11, the federal government can stop suspects on terror watch lists from getting on airplanes, but it can't stop them from buying firearms. Legislation endorsed by both the Bush and Obama Administrations that would close the terror gap has been pending in Congress since 2007. Congress should make it law this year.
ATF ‘Reform’ Act
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Reform Act of 2011 would tie the hands of law enforcement and codify special protections for the one percent of federally licensed gun dealers responsible for 57 percent of the guns involved in crimes. The act would protect dealers who break the law repeatedly, and treat serious violations —like selling a gun without a background check—as minor violations with trivial penalties. The bill would also make it nearly impossible to impose any sanctions on lawbreaking gun dealers by requiring ATF to meet an unreasonable burden of proof to show that dealers are violating the law. Far from reforming the ATF, this law would undercut the work career law enforcement officials are doing to detect and deter gun trafficking.
The Boren Amendment is an appropriations “policy rider” that would prevent law enforcement from enforcing a program the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF) proposed to detect and fight illegal gun trafficking from the U.S. to Mexico. In April 2011, the coalition successfully worked to keep the Boren Amendment out of the federal budget. The Amendment would have cut off funding for enforcing the proposed ATF long gun reporting rule.
The Tiahrt Amendments are provisions attached to federal spending bills that make it harder for law enforcement officers to aggressively pursue criminals who buy and sell illegal guns. The amendments restrict cities, states and even the police from fully accessing and using Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) gun trace data, require the Federal Bureau of Investigation to destroy certain background check records within 24 hours, and block ATF from requiring gun dealers to conduct inventory checks to detect loss and theft.
Gun Show Loophole
Currently, licensed gun dealers are required to run criminal background checks on all buyers, but a loophole in the law enables criminals to avoid these checks if they buy from gun-sellers who don't have licenses. Often operating at gun shows, these unlicensed sellers give criminals the opportunity to sidestep the background check system and easily purchase guns. Congress should close the gun show loophole.
Learn more about the gun show loophole
See archived federal legislation pages