Las Vegas, NV — Sen. Chris Murphy assured gun owners that a universal background check law will not lead to a registry of firearms.
Gun rights advocates say that in order for universal background checks to be effective, a gun registry of some kind will be needed in order for law enforcement to check against to ensure the firearm was bought in accordance with the law.
"Law enforcement is able to trace gun sales, today, without a registry," Murphy said after his remarks at the "2020 Gun Safety Forum" on Wednesday.
"Right now guns are traced back through the manufacture. The problem is when a gun is sold through the secondary market without a background check, you lose the ability to be able to trace that gun," the Connecticut Democrat continued. "So the importance of applying background checks to private sales and the gun show sales is, first and foremost, to make sure that we don't sell guns to criminals and people who are seriously mentally ill, but also to make sure that we can trace back crime guns more effectively."
Murphy said the government does not need an "online registry" in order to enforce universal background checks, pointing to his support of the 2013 Manchin-Toomey bill, where there would be penalties if authorities created a registry.
"And I would imagine in order to get Republican support for a background checks bill this year or next year, you're gonna also have to create some assurances that there's not going to be a national registry," he said.
The National Rifle Association, citing the National Institute of Justice, has said there would need to be a registry for universal background checks to work.
"There is also the important question of how the government could enforce a 'universal' background check law, given that private gun owners (unlike FFLs) are not required to identify themselves to the U.S. government," they said. "This has led experts, including President Obama’s own Justice Department, to explain that 'universal' background checks are unenforceable without a comprehensive national registry of firearms."