Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) on Monday introduced a bicameral piece of legislation, known as the Ammunition Background Check Act of 2018, that would require background checks for anyone wanting to purchase ammunition.
According to Wasserman-Schultz's office, the legislation would "close a loophole" that allows "criminals, domestic abusers, and dangerously mentally ill individuals" from purchasing ammo.
If passed, the legislation would require ammo purchases to undergo a background check through the National Instant Background Check System (NICS), the same system that is used to conduct background checks for firearms purchases.
Every retailer who sells ammo would be required to conduct a background check system through the NICS system, which isn't a problem for most gun stores who are federal firearms licensees (FFLs). The potential issue would be from stores who sell ammunition but not firearms and do not possess an FFL. They would either have to partner with an FFL to conduct the background checks or they would have to go through the process to become an FFL.
“This common-sense legislation simply enforces existing federal law, and will make it harder for criminals to amass hundreds of rounds of ammunition without so much as sharing their first name with a gun store clerk,” Wasserman Schultz said in a statement. “Closing this absurd loophole will not by itself stop the next mass shooting tragedy. But this popular approach must be part of our larger strategy for ending gun violence. Studies show it can help keep ‘bad guys with guns’ from perpetrating another mass slaughter like the one we witnessed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in my Broward County community, or the thousands of other acts of gun violence that devastate communities across the country. It takes more than just a gun to take an innocent life. It also takes bullets. We need to do all we can to make sure neither of them ends up in the wrong hands.”
Sen. Blumenthal took to Twitter to explain why he partnered with Wasserman-Schultz on the legislation:
Without background checks on ammunition sales, there’s nothing to stop dangerous people – barred from buying guns – from amassing vast ammunition arsenals. This ludicrous loophole puts lives at risk.— Richard Blumenthal (@SenBlumenthal) March 26, 2018
I’m introducing the Ammunition Background Check Act w/ @DWStweets. This commonsense measure will enforce federal law by requiring background checks on sales of ammunition.— Richard Blumenthal (@SenBlumenthal) March 26, 2018
Background checks on ammunition sales will make it harder for dangerous people to circumvent law and acquire the resources to commit gun violence. We should pass this simple, commonsense fix right away.— Richard Blumenthal (@SenBlumenthal) March 26, 2018
Currently, multiple states participate in ammunition background checks including California, District of Columbia, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York and Washington State.
The legislation is backed by Professor Michael Siegel, MD, MPH at the Department of Community Health Sciences at Boston University; University of Central Florida Sociology Professor Jay Corzine; and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Professor Stephen Teret.