May 17, 2013

WASHINGTON D.C. – Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) co-sponsored legislation to prevent guns from falling into criminal hands and reinforce the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners. By expanding the existing background check system to cover all commercial firearm sales, the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act of 2013 ensures that criminals and the dangerously mentally ill cannot slip through background check loopholes that endanger the safety and rights of all Americans.

“The American people are fed up with gridlock and inaction on gun safety in Congress. One out of every three Americans knows someone who has been shot. Nine out of ten Americans support closing loopholes that let hardened criminals, terrorists and the dangerously mentally ill get guns without background checks,” said Speier.

“The fact is that California already has a complete background check system, yet dealers sold 600,000 firearms in our state in 2011 alone, up from 350,000 in 2002. Clearly, law-abiding Californians have not been restricted from purchasing firearms in these numbers. Making sure such a strong system works to protect Americans across all states is just common sense.”
Congressmen Peter King (R-NY) and Mike Thompson (D-CA) introduced this bipartisan legislation (H.R. 1565), which is identical to the bipartisan agreement on background checks struck by Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Pat Toomey (R-PA).

The bill greatly reduces the number of places where a criminal can buy a gun. Right now, in many other states, a criminal can buy a firearm in the parking lot of a gun show, over the internet, or through a newspaper ad without needing a background check. H.R. 1565 bill closes these loopholes while ensuring that background checks are conducted in the same way that federally licensed dealers have conducted them for more than 40 years.

The legislation also strengthens the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners by banning the government from creating a federal registry and makes the misuse of records a felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison. It provides reasonable exceptions for family and friend transfers and allows active military personnel to buy guns in the state in which they are stationed. It lets gun owners use a state concealed carry permit issued within the last five years in lieu of a background check and permits interstate handgun sales from licensed dealers.

Finally, the bill also improves 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 those states that fail to comply with proper record-sharing.