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house Bill H.R. 4240

Strengthening Background Checks & Requiring Them For All Commercial Gun Sales

Argument in favor

This is an anti-criminal, pro-Second Amendment bill with bipartisan support that would require background checks for all commercial gun sales — including at gun shows and online — while ensuring that relevant criminal records are reported to the background check database.

Diwa's Opinion
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03/01/2018
This isn’t to BAN guns. It’s to strengthen back ground checks so that someone with a mental illness does not get one in hand. It’s very necessary, and it’s not taking away the 2nd amendment, it’s just giving guns only to those who are mentally capable of having one.
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···
03/01/2018
I am a gun owner, as is my husband, & we are about to become NRA members, but I fully support this. I feel that the 2nd amendment is still protected. As much of a hassle that reporting all sales or trades would be, we would know who had what so as an example; if any of the shooters from the last few years had gotten one from an unsuspecting friend or a gun show, & the person wanting to obtain the gun had reported mental issues or that the police had been called to his house 3, 4, or more times, that might raise a red flag. One that should start getting noticed & paid attention too! What we could have is a special section on our Drivers License—or a special license (besides CC)—that shows we have already passed all background checks & can legally buy a gun, good for a few years, before renewal, to hopefully catch any mentally unstable behavior or increasing anger or erratic behavior.
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Scott 's Opinion
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03/01/2018
There should be a check for all gun sales
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Argument opposed

While changes are needed to the nation’s background check system, this bill goes too far by requiring gun buyers to undergo background checks at gun shows, for internet purchases, or for transfers between friends. That is too great an infringement on their rights.

libertas.aut.mors's Opinion
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03/01/2018
Not one school shooting was the direct result of these so called loopholes. This just further infringes on the 2nd amendment rights of law abiding citizens.
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Adam's Opinion
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03/01/2018
How about the FBI and Sheriffs do their jobs first?
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Aaron.Christopher's Opinion
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03/01/2018
Criminals don’t obey the law and it makes no sense to create more restrictions on law abiding citizens. This restricts the ability of citizens to defend themselves against criminals who don’t obey the law to begin with. Gun-control is not the answer.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
      Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security
    IntroducedNovember 3rd, 2017

What is House Bill H.R. 4240?

This bill would expand the background check system to cover all commercial firearm sales, including those at gun shows, over the internet, or in classified ads while providing reasonable exceptions for family and friend transfers. It would also aim to strengthen the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) by incentivizing states to improve their reporting of relevant criminal records to the system with grant funding, which would be reduced if states don’t comply.

Background Check Reforms

This section of the bill would seek to enhance the current background check to ensure criminals and the mentally ill are not able to buy guns. It would prohibit the transfer of guns at gun shows, over the internet, or through classified listings except in the following circumstances:

  • The purchaser has a valid permit issued within the last five years by a state (or its subdivision) allowing the individual to possess, acquire, or carry a firearm that was obtained after a government official indicated that the individual’s possession of a firearm wouldn’t violate federal, state, or local law.

  • The transfer is between two unlicensed individuals residing in the same state, and the Attorney General certifies that the state has requirements that are generally equivalent to this bill’s requirements and that the transfer was in compliance with state law.

  • The transfer is made between spouses, between parents or spouses and their children or spouses of their children, between grandparents or their spouses and grandchildren or their spouses, between aunts and uncles or their spouses and their nieces or nephews or their spouses, or between first cousins and the transferor doesn’t have reasonable cause to believe the transferee is prohibited from possessing a firearm under federal, state, or local law.

This bill would prohibit the establishment of a national gun registry. It would prohibit the Attorney General from consolidating or centralizing records of the acquisition or disposition of firearms maintained by licensed individuals or unlicensed transferors who meet existing criteria, or the possession or ownership of a firearm maintained by medical or health insurance entities.

Any person who makes or attempts to make a transfer of a firearm in violation of this legislation to a person who is prohibited from possessing a firearm would be fined or imprisoned for up to 5 years, or both. Any person who knowingly violates the prohibition on the establishment of a national gun registry would be fined or imprisoned for up to 15 years, or both.

NICS Improvement

This section of the bill would reauthorize the NICS program, and provide $100 million in funding for grants to improve it in each of fiscal years 2018 through 2021. States or Indian tribal governments applying for grants to improve their reporting to NICS would be required to establish a four-year implementation plan to ensure maximum coordination and automation. States would be ineligible for grants if they fail to establish a plan. Relevant entities would be granted authority to disclose limited health information protected by HIPAA to NICS.

Penalties for failing to meet benchmarks in those plans would lead to a 10% reduction in grants in the first year, 11% in the second, 13% in the third, and 15% in the fourth year. Identical penalties would be imposed for states which fail to implement a relief from disabilities plan that reports information restoring the eligibility of a previously prohibited person to federal authorities administering the NICS system.

NICS improvement grants could be used to:

  • Carry out assessments of the capabilities of state and tribal courts to automate the transmission of arrest and conviction records, court orders, and mental health adjudications or commitments to federal and state record repositories.

  • Implement policies, systems, and procedures to transmit the above records to federal and state record repositories.

  • Create electronic systems that provide accurate and up-to-date information which is directly related to checks under NICS, including court disposition and corrections records.

  • Assist states or tribal governments in establishing or enhancing their own capacities to perform background checks using NICS.

  • Develop and maintain the relief from disabilities program, which would be a required component of state implementation plans

NICS index statistics would be made publicly available within 180 days of this bill’s enactment, and would be reported biannually thereafter.

Impact

Gun buyers; gun sellers; law enforcement agencies and courts; and the Dept. of Justice.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 4240

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthSponsoring Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) introduced this bill to expand the existing background check system to cover all commercial firearm sales and improve the reporting of criminal records to the background check database:

“This is an anti-criminal, pro-Second Amendment bill. Background checks are the first line of defense in our efforts to keep guns from criminals, domestic abusers and the dangerously mentally ill. The American people have had enough of thoughts and prayers. They want leaders to act. Congress should immediately take up and pass our bipartisan bill to close the system’s loopholes and to strengthen our background check system.”

Original cosponsor Rep. Peter King (R-NY) added:

“There is no single law that can put an end to mass shootings or gun violence, but there are certainly proactive steps we can take to keep guns out of the hands of felons, domestic abusers, and the dangerously mentally ill. When background checks are used, they keep guns out of the hands of people we all agree shouldn’t have guns. As government officials it is our responsibility to protect our citizens, and when it comes to gun violence we must do more. The majority of Americans want to see action, and we owe it to the victims and their families to prevent such tragedies from occurring again.”

This legislation has the support of 197 cosponsors in the House, including 186 Democrats and 11 Republicans.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: Hailshadow / iStock)

AKA

Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act of 2017

Official Title

To protect Second Amendment rights, ensure that all individuals who should be prohibited from buying a firearm are listed in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, and provide a responsible and consistent background check process.

    This isn’t to BAN guns. It’s to strengthen back ground checks so that someone with a mental illness does not get one in hand. It’s very necessary, and it’s not taking away the 2nd amendment, it’s just giving guns only to those who are mentally capable of having one.
    Like (344)
    Follow
    Share
    Not one school shooting was the direct result of these so called loopholes. This just further infringes on the 2nd amendment rights of law abiding citizens.
    Like (113)
    Follow
    Share
    I am a gun owner, as is my husband, & we are about to become NRA members, but I fully support this. I feel that the 2nd amendment is still protected. As much of a hassle that reporting all sales or trades would be, we would know who had what so as an example; if any of the shooters from the last few years had gotten one from an unsuspecting friend or a gun show, & the person wanting to obtain the gun had reported mental issues or that the police had been called to his house 3, 4, or more times, that might raise a red flag. One that should start getting noticed & paid attention too! What we could have is a special section on our Drivers License—or a special license (besides CC)—that shows we have already passed all background checks & can legally buy a gun, good for a few years, before renewal, to hopefully catch any mentally unstable behavior or increasing anger or erratic behavior.
    Like (146)
    Follow
    Share
    There should be a check for all gun sales
    Like (119)
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    I think it should include ‘family and friends transfers’ too. You can’t transfer a car without re-registering it even among family (or friends). The time for casual gun ownership is OVER.
    Like (105)
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    This is a common sense measure.
    Like (91)
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    How about the FBI and Sheriffs do their jobs first?
    Like (66)
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    It is a privileged right to possess a firearm that should be looked at carefully especially in today’s society, government should have nothing but confidence in the background checks that pass in the legal sale of a firearm.
    Like (52)
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    Criminals don’t obey the law and it makes no sense to create more restrictions on law abiding citizens. This restricts the ability of citizens to defend themselves against criminals who don’t obey the law to begin with. Gun-control is not the answer.
    Like (41)
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    And then do something about this or we can just get people in there to do it for you in November. In 1996, the Republican-majority Congress threatened to strip funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention unless it stopped funding research into firearm injuries and deaths. The National Rifle Association accused the CDC of promoting gun control. As a result, the CDC stopped funding gun-control research — which had a chilling effect far beyond the agency, drying up money for almost all public health studies of the issue nationwide. Also this isn’t about more or less govt. or about the 2nd amendment. This in no way restricts you from owning a gun as long as your aloud to posses one. So, no infringement on the 2nd amendment. As far as the government goes. It’s not a question of more or less. It’s always been how much or what kind of regulation. Every thing we do is regulated and for good reason. You want everyone to drive like idiots with no over-site? Neither do I. You want to know what your getting in your food when you buy it? Yeah, me to. There was a time when certain businesses wanted you to believe smoking was good for you and look how long it took to change that perception. You know how that happened? Studying the problem and believing in the science. It’s all regulated. It’s up to us to vote for the people who will help to make common sense regulations and to stop large groups from make us believe it’s all about more or less government.
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    In actuality, this bill doesn't go far enough. However, I will take anything we can get at this point. There will always be room to improve and go further in the future, this is just the groundwork.
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    Requiring background checks for all commercial gun sales is the least we can do but it is a step in the right direction.
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    But there also needs to be a minimum age requirement, ban of bump stocks and military grade weapons.
    Like (19)
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    It’s a start, but why not require a background check for ALL gun sales? Not doing so leaves a loophole big enough to drive a dump truck through, and it’s one already being exploited far too much.
    Like (17)
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    I am not your conscience, but I am the consequence if you do nothing!
    Like (16)
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    Background checks for all gun sales and ban assault guns like we ban grenades and tanks for public use! Let them keep their other guns for hunting and protection.
    Like (15)
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    Background checks only work if others do their job. Nicholas Cruz could have been arrest a dozen times but was not due to various reasons. Had any one of those arrests been made, it would have shown up on the background check. In addition the gang member selling guns out of his car will not be doing background checks. This just burdens law abiding citizens more. Beef up law enforcement of current laws.
    Like (13)
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    Background checks are very ineffective at controlling violence. They put an undue burden on law abiding citizens, but don't limit who steal guns or get
    Like (13)
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    We owe this to the victims of Parkland. And Pulse. And the Charleston Church. And Las Vegas. And Sandy Hook. And Columbine. And so many others. This measure is long overdue.
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    This is a yes!!! This keeps no one from owning a gun, except those who should never have them in the first place. I would say it’s fair to take it a step further and have this data base constantly monitored and updated so we’re aware of those people who become dangerous and already have guns. We can then act accordingly, whether they are closely monitored or (preferably) disallowed from having guns.
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