BACKGROUND CHECK BILLS PASS HOUSE, LIKELY DOA IN SENATE

The 2018 election saw the Democratic party take a majority of seats in the United States House of Representatives, and many of the victorious candidates ran on a platform that included support for stricter gun control measures.  One of the first actions taken by the house majority was to advance legislation affecting background checks for the sale or transfer of firearms in the United States.

A pair of bills have moved quickly through committee approval and votes in the House.  The two bills would mandate background checks for all firearms sales as well as most non-sale transfers in the United States, and would alter the law governing background checks to close a purported “loophole.”  Currently the law allows a firearm to be sold or transferred if a background check comes back as a “proceed,” or if three business days pass without a “proceed” or “do not proceed” result.  The current bill would amend that law by extending the time period to a minimum of ten business days and would add additional steps that the seller must take before a firearm is transferred. 

Both bills have passed full votes in the House this week, but they remain unlikely to become law.  The bills had some bipartisan support in the House, and despite continued Republican control of the Senate, Senators from states particularly impacted by recent shootings (such as Florida) may face pressure to support the bills.  In any event, it is likely that Majority Leader McConnell will prevent the bills from coming to a vote to avoid such conflicts.  President Trump has also vowed a veto if the bills pass the Senate, and neither bill has sufficient support to override a veto.

However, the past few years have certainly showed that nothing in Washington is certain, and as the stage is set for these bills to enter the Senate, we will continue to keep you informed with the “Renzulli Run Down.”

We will continue to monitor legal and legislative developments that impact the industry.  For questions about these proposed bills, or laws and regulations across the United States, please contact John Renzulli (jrenzulli@renzullilaw.com) or Chris Renzulli (crenzulli@renzullilaw.com).