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Hickenlooper, Bennet, Colleagues Reintroduce Background Check Expansion Act to Reduce Gun Violence

Mar 3, 2021

National Bill Builds on Colorado’s Successful Background Check Law

Washington, D.C. — Colorado U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet joined 44 of their Senate Democratic colleagues in reintroducing the Background Check Expansion Act to expand federal background checks to all gun sales. Under current federal law, unlicensed or private sellers are not required to conduct a background check prior to transferring a firearm. 97% of American voters support universal background checks, and 22% of gun owners reported obtaining a gun without a background check. 

“Background checks save lives,” said Hickenlooper. “Washington needs to follow Colorado’s lead and keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people. Universal background checks, while not the sole solution, will be a big step forward.”

“After suffering too many devastating mass shootings, Colorado rose to the occasion and passed legislation to expand background checks,” said Bennet. “It’s past time for the Senate to follow Colorado’s lead. That’s why I’m joining my colleagues in introducing legislation to expand federal background checks to all gun sales. I didn’t grow up in a country where mass gun violence was a normal condition of American life. Our kids shouldn’t have to either.”

While Colorado, under a law signed by Hickenlooper, requires background checks on almost all gun sales, current federal law requires only federally-licensed dealers to conduct a background check. The Background Checks Expansion Act will require background checks for the sale or transfer of all firearms, similar to Colorado law. This requirement extends to all unlicensed sellers, whether they do business online, at gun shows, or out of their home. Exceptions to the Background Check Expansion Act include transfers between law enforcement officers, temporarily loaning firearms for hunting and sporting events, providing firearms as gifts to immediate family members, transferring a firearm as part of an inheritance, or temporarily transferring a firearm for immediate self-defense. 

In addition to Hickenlooper and Bennet, this legislation is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Christopher Murphy (D-Conn.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), and Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.).

The bill text is available HERE.

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