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Beyer Introduces Keeping Guns from Criminals Act

Congressman Don Beyer introduced the Keeping Guns from Criminals Act to close a loophole in federal law that allows straw purchasers and gun traffickers to funnel firearms to felons, juveniles, and other restricted purchasers with little to no risk of being prosecuted.

“This is not a complicated issue: No one wants guns in the hands of dangerous criminals," said Rep. Beyer. "Time and again Congress fails to make meaningful progress to prevent gun violence in the face of overwhelming national demand to do so. The Keeping Guns from Criminals Act will ensure that only responsible gun owners are able to purchase a firearm. There is no reason for us to wait for another tragedy to make this commonsense idea a reality to protect our families.”

"This common-sense bill encourages every gun seller--including unlicensed sellers doing business online or at gun shows--to do a Brady background check before selling a gun," said Brian Malte, Senior National Policy Director for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence in Washington, D.C. "The consequences of providing a gun to a felon, fugitive, domestic abuser, or drug addict are deadly, and this common-sense bill will hold unlicensed sellers responsible for putting a gun into dangerous hands without doing a Brady background check." 

The Keeping Guns from Criminals Act would streamline law enforcement efforts to ensure safe firearms transfers between lawful owners. The Act would make it easier to prosecute private sellers who make irresponsible sales by requiring them to prove that the purchase was approved by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) or that the purchaser ​held a concealed weapons permit in the state of transfer. 

“In the wake of yet another gun tragedy, what this nation needs is fresh thinking and a new approach to reforming our toothless and unenforceable gun laws,” said Sarah Trumble, Senior Policy Counsel at Third Way. “The Keeping Criminals from Guns Act is a smart, common sense way to prevent people from unintentionally selling their guns to criminals and to crack down on those who are taking advantage of existing loopholes in the law to intentionally arm those who are prohibited from buying or owning a gun. By encouraging gun owners to do the responsible thing and run a background check before selling their guns, especially if they are selling to a stranger, the bill will ensure that fewer guns fall into the hands of those who will use them to harm others.”

NICS background checks are available through most Federal Firearm Licensees (FFL) for a nominal fee of around $30. According the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, there are nearly 130,000 FFLs nationwide.