Definition and Purpose
Universal background checks on gun sales and transfers requires almost all firearms transactions in the United States to be recorded and go through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, closing the private sale exemption. Under current federal law all licensed firearm dealers must run a background check on customers to screen for a criminal history or severe mental illness. This law, however, does not apply to private or unlicensed dealers. Currently, private firearm sales and transfers do not require any background checks in 38 states. Proponents argue universal background checks could prevent unfit individuals from accessing guns and thus decrease gun violence and death.
A Brief History
Universal background checks on all gun sales and transfers of ownership exist in several countries including the U.K and Australia, but U.S. federal legislation has not passed any bill on the topic into law. Currently California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and the District of Columbia require universal background checks at the point of sale for all sales and transfers of all classes of firearms.
For Universal Background Checks
Decrease domestic violence and homicide
Decrease law enforcement deaths
Combat drug cartels
Ineffective at saving lives
Against Universal Background Checks
Fail to keep guns out of criminal hands
Violate the Fifth Amendment
Recent Events and Reformation
- Michigan State Senator Rosemary Bayer and Representative Jon Hoadley introduced Senate Bills 678-680 and House Bills 5275-5277, Dec. 5. These bills proposed universal background checks on all gun sales and transfers of ownership in Michigan.
An estimated 90 percent of the American public supports some kind of background checks for all gun sales.
Source: Giffords Law Center