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New map shows 99.96 percent of Vermonters live within 10 miles of a gun dealer

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 licensed dealers.

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 12.

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 anyone."

The Vermont map, as well as a national map showing federally licensed gun dealers across the country, can be viewed at: www.DemandAction.org/dealers