In the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting in Connecticut, there has been a call from the general public, legislatures, and the President for stricter gun laws. Initially the debate centered around an assault weapons ban, similar to the ban of 1994, which lapsed in 2004.1
This week has brought news headlines about the new proposed stricter gun laws on Capitol Hill. The issue of background checks, whether it is when a background check is required, or how in depth the background check is, has been hotly debated, possibly more so than the proposed assault weapons ban.2
Advocates of more background checks believe that requiring more background checks for firearms purchases would close some loopholes in the system that allow convicted felons, domestic abusers and the mentally ill to purchase firearms. The opposition has stated that more background checks are not a solution to the problem, would be ineffective, and would threaten the Constitutional Second Amendment right to gun ownership.3
Both sides of the aisle (Republican and Democrats) have come together to draft proposed legislation that would require expand full background checks for firearms purchases to include purchases made over the internet and at gun shows.4
It is believed that this agreement will spark a major Senate debate over the issue.
Recent national surveys indicate that 86% of Americans support some type of expansion of required background checks for firearms sale and purchase transactions. However, the question is where to draw the line. Some fear that more in depth background checks opens the door to a national firearms registry which would serve to limit legal ownership of firearms, and ultimately blur the constitutional lines. While others believe that the stricter background checks laws will do nothing to stop criminal from obtaining firearms, but instead place serious burdens on those attempting to obtain a firearm lawfully.
We hope that this blog post has been helpful in understanding the current gun laws debates in Congress. We hope to keep you informed and updated as new legislation is proposed and/or passed. Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. practices throughout the state of Indiana. This blog post was written by attorney, Lori Schmeltzer.