WASHINGTON, D.C. - On Tuesday, April 21 at 11 a.m., Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ), Jack Reed (D-RI) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) will join Paul Helmke, President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence; and Omar Samaha, Colin Goddard and Suzanne Grimes, victims and family members of the Virginia Tech tragedy, to introduce legislation to close the nation's "gun show loophole." Omar was recently followed by ABC News into a gun show where he was able to purchase ten guns, including semi-automatic weapons, with no questions asked. The bill introduction follows the tenth anniversary of the Columbine tragedy and the second anniversary of the tragedy at Virginia Tech this week.
The bill would help keep guns out of the hands of criminals, terrorists, the mentally ill and gun traffickers by requiring background checks on all sales at gun shows. In 1993, the Brady Law was passed requiring prospective purchasers of guns sold by federal firearms licensees, like gun shops and pawn shops, to go through a background check. However, a loophole in current law allows people to purchase guns from unlicensed sellers at "gun shows" without going through any background check.
In 1999, Sen. Lautenberg introduced the first bill in Congress to close the gun show loophole. Later that year, in the wake of the Columbine tragedy, the Senate passed Sen. Lautenberg's legislation to close the gun show loophole as an amendment to a juvenile justice bill. The legislation passed by one vote, with Vice Al President Gore casting the tie-breaking vote. However, the gun lobby killed the legislation in House-Senate conference.
The ATF reports that between 25 to 50 percent of firearm vendors at gun shows are unlicensed.
Read the Opposing Views debate, Would Allowing Students to Carry Guns Make College Campuses Safer?