Last updated on: 9/9/2019 1:09:07 PM PST
Should Universal Background Checks for Gun Purchases Be Made Law?
Federally licensed firearms dealers are required to perform background checks on anyone purchasing a firearm. Purchases made at gun shows and flea markets, via online ads, or arranged privately are not subject to background checks in most states.
Implementing universal background checks would require that most purchases take place through a licensed dealer, who would run the background check prior to the transaction. For more information, visit gun-control.procon.org.
"In the months ahead, Biden will also detail his plan to tackle the public health epidemic of gun violence in America, starting with universal background checks and bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Biden’s plan to reduce gun violence will address not only mass shootings but also daily acts of gun violence that don’t make national headlines."
Source: Joe Biden, "Justice," joebiden.com (accessed Aug. 27, 2019)
"I defend the individual right of law-abiding citizens to own pistols, rifles, and shotguns for self-defense, hunting, and sport shooting while also supporting the public right to regulate the ownership and operation of guns in the interests of public safety.
I advocate the following specific gun safety and law enforcement reforms to address gun violence and white nationalist terrorism:...
--Universal background checks for gun and ammunition buyers, including closing the loophole for private sales and sales at gun shows, with sales and background check records maintained indefinitely in a central registry."
Source: Howie Hawkins, "How to Confront the US Culture of Violence," howiehawkins.us, Aug. 11, 2019
"No. The right to protect yourself and your family is a fundamental right. I support the repeal of every law that violates your right to self-defense."
Source: Communication from the Jorgensen campaign to ProCon.org on Aug. 26, 2020
Now Not Clearly Pro or Con
Q: “Your position on background checks.”
Trump: “So Congress is looking at it very strongly bipartisan. I put in certain parameters, which you somewhat know about. I’m also very very concerned with the Second Amendment. Moreso than most presidents would be. People don’t realize we have very strong background checks right now. You go in to buy a gun, you have to sign up. There are a lot of background checks that have been approved over the years. So I’ll have to see what it is. But Congress is meeting bipartisan. Lot of people want to see something happen. But just remember this big mental problem and we do have a lot of background checks right now.”
Q: “So you’re not willing to support universal background checks right now?”
Trump: “I’m not saying anything. I’m saying Congress is going to be reporting back to me with ideas. And they’ll come in from Democrats and Republicans and I’ll look at it very strongly. But just remember, we already have a lot of background checks.”
Source: Zack Ford, "Trump Drops Support for Enhanced Background Checks Two Weeks after Mass Shootings," thinkprogress.org, Aug. 19, 2019
[Editor's Note: Trump previously expressed a PRO opinion on this question. Read Trump's former positions on whether universal background checks should be made into law.]
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