Background checks for all gun sales would be fast, easy
and save lives, report says
Legislation sponsored by Senator Schumer would close the private
sale loophole by requiring private sellers to meet buyers at a
local dealer to conduct a background check.
Mayors Against Illegal Guns released a map Wednesday, March 13,
showing that 99.96 percent of Vermonters live within 10 miles of a
gun store, disproving the gun lobby's claim that background checks
would be a burden for private gun sellers and bolstering the case
for checks on all gun sales. There are 319 federally licensed gun
dealers in Vermont - 1.2 times the number of post offices - making
it fast and easy for private sellers to meet buyers at local gun
dealers to run a background check before completing a sale. 90
percent of background checks take just minutes to complete, further
illustrating the ease and convenience of a required check.
"The gun lobby has long argued that requiring background checks
would be burdensome for sellers - these maps definitively refute
that idea," said Mayors Against Illegal Guns Co-Chair and New York
City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. "It's clear that, no matter
where you live in America, getting a background check will be quick
and convenient - who wouldn't drive 10 miles to save a life?
Americans overwhelmingly support background checks for all gun
sales. It's time for Congress to make it a reality."
Under current law, federally licensed gun dealers are required
to conduct criminal background checks on all gun buyers, however,
around 40 percent of U.S. gun transfers are conducted by unlicensed
"private sellers" who are not required to conduct a federal check,
and who often do business at gun shows and on the internet.
This indicates that about 6.6 million guns were transferred in
the U.S. in 2012 with no background check for the buyer. This
loophole allows dangerous people who are prohibited from buying
guns - including felons, domestic abusers and the seriously
mentally ill - to avoid a background check by simply avoiding
The Protecting Responsible Gun Owners Act (S.374), sponsored by
New York Senator Charles E. Schumer, would require background
checks for all gun sales and would close the private sale
loophole. The bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee March
Recent polls by Mayors Against Illegal Guns showed likely voters
in a wide range of states and congressional
districts overwhelmingly support background checks for all gun
sales. The average support for background checks for all gun sales
among 41 congressional district polls was 89 percent; the average
among 21 statewide polls was 86 percent.
These findings are in line with recent independent polls that
have found more than 90 percent of Americans support background
checks for all buyers. Previous polling by Republican Frank Luntz
for Mayors Against Illegal Guns also found that 82 percent of gun
owners - including 74 percent of National Rifle Association members
- support requiring criminal background checks for anyone
purchasing a gun.
Mayors Against Illegal Guns recently released an
ad highlighting the NRA's flip-flop on background checks.
NRA President Wayne LaPierre recently testified before the
Senate Judiciary Committee that the Washington gun lobby no
longer supports background checks for all gun sales. The
coalition's ad highlighted previous LaPierre testimony before
Congress from 1999 in which he said that the NRA supported closing
background check loopholes, "No loopholes anywhere. For
The Vermont map, as well as a national map showing federally
licensed gun dealers across the country, can be viewed at: