Tell Senators: Pass Strong Bill for Background Checks on Gun Sales

April 10, 2013

TAKE ACTION: Please send an email message to your senators as soon as possible to urge that they vote for comprehensive legislation requiring background checks on all gun sales and enacting tough new criminal penalties for straw purchasers and gun traffickers.

In addition to reducing this nation's high level of gun violence, NOW believes that these measures will better protect victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking, who are often the target of perpetrators with guns. The Senate is expected to vote on a package of firearms-related bills Thursday, April 11, and we need to build pressure on senators who are currently not committed to backing these critically-needed restrictions. Please take action right away.

BACKGROUND:

NOW has just learned that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) believes he has enough votes to overcome a filibuster and will try to move an omnibus bill which requires background checks for private-party gun sales in commercial settings, including at gun shows and on the internet; improvement of background check procedures and record keeping; and, providing for felony punishments of those who fail to do the required background check.

Nearly 1,500 women are murdered each year by a man they know, and in those cases where the weapon could be determined, more than half were caused by a firearm (based on 2010 data, Violence Policy Center). Studies show that access to a firearm results in a three to five-fold increase in intimate partner homicide -- proof that having a gun does not offer protection against a violent partner. The solution is to prevent violent individuals from buying or owning a firearm.

At the same time, all data about persons having protective orders against them must be submitted to the National Instant Criminal Background Check system. The National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence reports that from 1998 to 2001, more than 2,800 people with misdemeanor domestic violence connections were able to purchase guns without being identified by the background check system, and there is little doubt that this failure continues to the present.

NOW hopes that everyone can contact their senators and urge that they support a comprehensive background check mandate and improvement of data collection for the National Instant Criminal Background Check system.