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Senate Democrats Asking Gun Dealers For Help In Expanding Background Checks

Senate Democrats eager to expand background checks are reaching out directly to those vendors since their bills that chip away at Second Amendment rights was rightfully blocked in 2013. Gun dealers with a federal firearms license must conduct background checks for all gun purchases; the law requires it. Yet, Everytown and their allies in the Senate, are pushing vendors, like Cabela's and Bass Pro Shops, to voluntarily withhold transferring firearms if a background check is incomplete, which is a rare occurrence (via the Hill):


Senate Democrats are appealing directly to gun retailers in a renewed push to expand background checks in lieu of congressional action on the divisive issue.

Gun safety advocates in Congress have long called for lawmakers to close background check loopholes that allow criminals to buy guns online and at gun shows, but to little avail.

Now, they’re turning their attention to gun retailers such as Cabelas and Bass Pro Shops in hopes of convincing them to tighten their policies. They’re asking these stores to voluntarily refrain from selling guns to people who have not passed background checks.

“That’s a voluntary decision by the gun dealers,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) told reporters Tuesday. “It’s a voluntary decision to enable a killer; it’s a voluntary choice to empower a murder.”


At issue are existing regulations that allow people to purchase guns at retail stores without completing a background check.

These stores must submit information about prospective gun buyers to the FBI so it can run background checks on them before the sale is made. In many cases, the background checks are instant and the sale is made on the spot. But sometimes it takes longer to complete.


This marks a change in strategy for gun safety advocates. They have long pressed for lawmakers to strengthen background checks, but amid a gridlocked Congress they are now turning their pleas to industry.


According to the FBI, this is called a delayed response, where a would-be purchaser’s information matches that of someone with a similar name and description that has a criminal record which prohibits ownership of a firearm. This is a rare occurrence. Even Everytown’s petition to Cabela's mentions it. The FBI has three days to procure additional information to either deny or approve the transaction. Yet, after three days, if no additional information is found, the transfer could legally go through with incomplete information, though the dealer isn’t required to do so. In cases where the background check is completed ending with the buyer being denied, the personnel at the National Instant Background Check System [NICS] inform the dealer. If the firearm was transferred, the ATF takes over, handling the matter as a “firearm retrieval referral.”

So, this isn’t exactly a loophole. Government seems to be asking businesses that deal in firearms to abide by a law that they … already follow. If gun dealers want to do this, that's fine, but it should be their decision. It should not be because pro-gun control groups who are finding their base of support–in government and society at large– dwindling (for now) pressure them to do so.


Moreover, in general, there's no statistical evidence that waiting periods reduce gun violence. 

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