Manchin-Toomey Bipartisan Background Checks Compromise

As of April 10, 2013, Senators Manchin and Toomey have introduced a bi-partisan compromise for gun control legislation.  Below are the key points as highlighted by Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

Fixing the Broken Background Check System
  • The single most important thing Congress can do to reduce gun violence and save lives is to require comprehensive and enforceable background checks.
  • Criminals and other dangerous people avoid background checks by buying firearms, often at gun shows and online, from unlicensed “private sellers” who are not required by federal law to conduct the checks.
  • More than 6.6 million gun sales were transferred in 2012 without a criminal background check, accounting for approximately 40 percent of all gun sales.
  • 62 percent of private gun sellers on the Internet agreed to sell a firearm to buyers who said they probably couldn’t pass a background check. At gun shows, this percentage is 63 percent.
Senators Manchin and Toomey’s Common Sense Compromise Bill
  • Senators Toomey and Manchin have crafted a strong compromise that would require background checks for all gun sales at gun shows and online.
  • The bill would not apply to direct sales between friends and family members. It would only cover gun sales if they are sold in commercial settings, including online or at gun shows.
  • Expanding the current, enforceable background check system to gun sales in commercial settings would reduce crime and save lives – without imposing any new record keeping burden on private sellers.
  • Federal law would continue to prohibit the creation of a national gun registry. And all information identifying the buyer generated by the background check would still be destroyed by the FBI within 24 hours.
  • Dealers who conduct checks for private sellers would keep a copy of the background check form, as they have for more than 40 years. If a gun is recovered in a violent crime, those records help law enforcement track down the perpetrator.
  • The bill will strengthen the background check system by improving states’ procedures for reporting mental health and other relevant records of prohibited purchasers into the system.
  • The bill will also clarify key laws for gun owners and cut through red tape for licensed gun dealers and for gun owners in the military.
Background Checks in Commercial Settings Will Shut Down Criminal Access to Guns
  • Focusing on commercial gun sales is critically important for shutting down criminal access to guns.
  • Today, a single website, hosts over 73,000 ads for guns, 94 percent of which are posted by private sellers who are not required to conduct background checks. That’s a 500 percent increase in sales volume from just 16 months ago.
  • There are more than 4000 gun shows held every year in the U.S., and 30 percent of guns involved in federal gun trafficking investigations are connected in some way to gun shows.
Background Checks Save Lives Without Inconveniencing Law-Abiding Gun Owners
  • Background checks are the only systematic way to stop felons, domestic abusers and the dangerously mentally ill from buying firearms.
  • Since its inception, NICS has blocked over 2 million gun sales to people prohibited from purchasing them. Ninety percent of background checks are completed in less than two minutes.
  • In Washington, D.C., and the 14 states that go beyond federal law by requiring background checks for private handgun sales, there are:
    • 38 percent fewer women shot to death by intimate partners;
    • 17 percent fewer firearms aggravated assaults; and
    • 48 percent less gun trafficking.
  • 98.4 percent of the American population lives within 10 miles of a licensed gun dealer.
Overwhelming Support for Background Checks
  • Independent national polls have found that 90 percent of all Americans strongly support background checks for all gun sales.
  • They are joined by 82 percent of gun owners – including 74 percent of NRA members.
  • Numerous national law enforcement organizations, faith leaders, gun violence survivors and family members – and more than 1.5 million Americans have come together to call on Washington to fix our broken background check system and save lives.