Democrats introduce measure requiring background checks on ammunition sales

On Monday, The Hill reported that Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., introduced legislation that if passed and signed into law, would require background checks for anyone attempting to purchase ammunition.

“Ammunition sales should be subject to the same legal requirements as firearm sales, and that includes instant background checks. … Closing this ludicrous loophole is a common-sense component of a comprehensive strategy to reduce gun violence,” Blumenthal said of the bill, known as the Ammunition Background Check Act of 2018.

“Studies show it can help keep ‘bad guys with guns’ from perpetrating another mass slaughter like the one we witnessed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in my Broward County community, or the thousands of other acts of gun violence that devastate communities across the country,” Wasserman Schultz added, calling it a piece of “common-sense legislation.”

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“Unlike firearm purchases, someone who wants to go into a store that sells ammunition can buy as much ammunition as they want without so much as being asked their first name. This is just such a gaping and grave and dangerous loophole that I could not wrap my mind around it when I was told that that was the case,” she said.

According to The Hill:

Under the legislation, federally licensed sellers would run the checks for ammunition sales through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

According to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, six states include a background check as part of their efforts to regulate firearms and ammunition, with two — California and New York — requiring a background check to purchase ammunition.

The legislation comes after thousands protested in Washington, and throughout the United States, on Saturday as part of March for Our Lives, which was organized in the wake of the Parkland, Fla., high school shooting.

Stricter gun control or background check legislation faces an uphill battle in a Republican-controlled Congress which has already passed new school safety measures and a bill to bolster the federal background check system as part of a massive omnibus measure, The Hill added.

Moreover, there’s nothing to suggest that such a measure would actually prevent shootings like that which took place in Florida last month.

WND said that some states, specifically, New Jersey, Connecticut, Illinois and Massachusetts require buyers to obtain a permit to purchase or possess ammunition.

The Giffords Center says that Illinois residents are required to obtain a Firearm Owner’s Identification (“FOID”) card before they can lawfully purchase or possess ammunition. No person may transfer firearm ammunition in Illinois unless the transferee displays a currently valid FOID card, the site says.

USA Today reported on March 1 that shooting incidents in Chicago “have decreased by 28% through the first two months of 2018 compared with the same point last year, according to police department data…”

That drop, however, was largely attributed to law enforcement efforts.  The USA Today report did not mention the ammunition requirement:

“The progress we have made over the last 12 months to reduce gun violence in Chicago could not have been achieved without the hard work and dedication of our police officers who carried out our data-driven, technology-led crime strategy,” said Superintendent Eddie Johnson. “Despite this progress, our work is not yet complete.”

But this seems to be just the beginning.  The Hill said that “Senate Democrats are expected to press for a wider gun control debate once Congress returns to Washington next month, including tighter background checks and a debate over an assault weapons ban.”

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