It’s apparently not enough for Americans to undergo background checks when they purchase firearms. Now Democrats have introduced new legislation requiring background checks for the purchase of ammunition.
The bill – which was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and in the House by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla. – would close a so-called “loophole” in federal law that bans convicts, domestic abusers and mentally ill people from buying ammunition but doesn’t mandate background checks to stop those individuals from making the purchases.
“Ammunition sales should be subject to the same legal requirements as firearm sales, and that includes instant background checks,” Blumenthal said in a statement reported by the Washington Examiner Monday. “The same laws that prevent dangerous individuals from purchasing firearms also prohibit them from amassing arsenals of ammunition, with one major loophole: there are no background checks for ammunition sales to enforce the law. Closing this ridiculous loophole is a common sense component of a comprehensive strategy to reduce gun violence.”
Under the legislation, if someone wants to buy ammunition, he or she would have to pass a background check run through the National Instant Background Check System by federally licensed gun dealers.
A few U.S. states already have laws on the books that require background checks for ammunition purchases, like California and New York.
Others require buyers to get a permit to purchase or possess ammunition, including New Jersey, Connecticut, Illinois and Massachusetts.
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The Democratic lawmakers claim the state laws aren’t enough. They want more laws governing ammunition purchases on the federal books, too.
“It takes more than just a gun to take an innocent life. It also takes bullets,” Wasserman Schultz said, according to the Examiner. “We need to do all we can to make sure neither of them ends up in the wrong hands.”
Wasserman Schultz held a news conference announcing the legislation. Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School surrounded her as she said: “Unlike firearm purchases, someone who wants to go into a store that sells ammunition can buy as much ammunition as they want without so much as being asked their first name. This is just such a gaping and grave and dangerous loophole that I could not wrap my mind around it when I was told that that was the case.”
Last Friday, Congress approved a 41.3 trillion omnibus spending bill that included two gun-related measures. The first increases state reports to the National Institute background Check system. The second provides a clarification on a federal law that lets the Centers for Disease Control research gun violence.