Booker Introduces Legislation to Address Vulnerabilities Within Federal Gun Background Check System

Booker Introduces Legislation to Address Vulnerabilities Within Federal Gun Background Check System


Washington, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced the Preventing Pretrial Gun Purchases Act, legislation that would address flaws in the background check process to keep firearms out of the hands of individuals that may pose a risk of harm to others. Companion legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives earlier this year by Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY-12th).


Current federal law requires licensed gun dealers to conduct a background check through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) before completing a firearm sale to ensure that the buyer is not a prohibited purchaser. Yet, the differences between various state and federal background check processes have exposed dangerous vulnerabilities that put Americans at risk. One such vulnerability is that different jurisdictions are unable to effectively and accurately report the pretrial status of individuals who were ordered by a court not to purchase or possess guns.


To address this, the Preventing Pretrial Gun Purchases Act would amend federal law to ensure that the NICS denies the sale of a firearm to any individual subject to a pretrial release order prohibiting them from purchasing or possessing a firearm. The bill also prohibits any person from knowingly selling or disposing a gun to individuals who fall in this category and authorizes $25 million in funding to be made available to states to pay for timely and accurate reporting of pretrial orders involving firearms restrictions to NICS.


“No community in our country is immune from the epidemic of gun violence. There are common sense steps we can take right now to spare people from the nightmare of losing a loved one or having their lives dramatically altered by a gun crime,” said Sen. Booker. “This bicameral legislation will ensure that guns are kept away from those individuals who shouldn’t have a firearm and authorizes vital federal funding to strengthen our background check system, helping to save lives and keep our communities safer.”


“I want to thank Senator Booker for his commitment to keeping our communities safe from the scourge of gun violence and for introducing the Senate companion of the Preventing Pretrial Gun Purchases Act,” said Rep. Maloney. “In too many instances, individuals who are barred from possessing firearms have circumvented our gun laws and court orders by taking advantage of shortcomings in the background check system. By closing this loophole, we can keep firearms out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them in the first place and keep Americans safe.”

The Preventing Pretrial Gun Purchases Act has been endorsed by the following national and state organizations:  Giffords, Brady, Newtown Action Alliance, Moms Demand Action, Violence Policy Center, Everytown, Community Justice Action Fund, Fred Guttenberg, Sandy Hook Promise, Gays Against Guns, Arizonans For Gun Safety, Women Against Gun Violence, Colorado Ceasefire, CT Against Gun Violence, Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence, Georgians for Gun Safety, Iowans for Gun Safety, Hoosiers Concerned About Gun Violence, Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, Hawaii Coalition to Prevent Handgun Violence, Maine Gun Safety Coalition, Michigan Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, Stop Handgun Violence(MA), Protect Minnesota, Grandparents for Gun Safety, Nebraskans Against Gun Violence, New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence, New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, North Carolinians Against Gun Violence, Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence, OK Gun Sense, Ceasefire Oregon, Ceasefire PA, Rhode Island Coalition Against Gun Violence, Safe Tennessee Project, Texas Gun Sense, Gun Violence Prevention Center of Utah, Gun Sense Vermont, Virginia Center for Public Safety, Washington Ceasefire, Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort, and Stop Handgun Violence.  

Full text of the legislation can be found here.

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