Washington, D.C. — As the debate over gun-violence prevention continues after the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, two months ago today, the Center for American Progress released a video highlighting the importance of passing common-sense gun-safety measures such as universal background checks. An on-the-ground investigation from Colorado by ThinkProgress details how the tragedies of Columbine and Aurora have galvanized Coloradans around universal background checks in order to make their communities safer by keeping guns out of the hands of criminals.
Watch the video here.
After the Columbine massacre, Colorado closed its so-called “gun show loophole” through a state referendum in 2000. Still, another glaring loophole exists: private sales outside of gun shows. Even though private sellers at gun shows are required to run background checks, anyone can still purchase a weapon—no background check required—from private sellers online and elsewhere. In fact, up to 40 percent of all gun sales take place through unlicensed private sellers who do not have to conduct any background check.
As Don Macalady, founder of Hunters Against Gun Violence in Colorado, says in the video, universal background checks are just “something that should be done in the interest of public safety.”
Why do we need universal background checks?
- Every day an average of 33 people in the United States are murdered with guns.
- More than 6.6 million guns—40 percent of all gun sales—are sold each year by unlicensed private sellers, without a background check required under federal law. Simply closing the gun show loophole is not enough. Private sales will continue to be exempted.
- Background checks have stopped nearly 2 million criminals and dangerous people from buying guns.
- Eighty-two percent of all gun owners—including 74 percent of NRA members—support requiring a criminal background check for all gun purchases.
- CAP: “Preventing Gun Violence in Our Nation,” an issue brief by Neera Tanden, Winnie Stachelberg, Arkadi Gerney, and Danielle Baussan
- CAP: “Constitutionality of Proposed Firearms Legislation,” a report by Winnie Stachelberg, Arkadi Gerney, and Robyn Thomas
- ThinkProgress: Gun Show Attendees Explain 5 Reasons They Want Universal Background Checks by Scott Keyes
- ThinkProgress: Why Closing The Gun Show Loophole Isn’t Enough (Or How I Was Able To Buy 4 AR-15s In 20 Minutes) by Scott Keyes
- ThinkProgress: NRA Dismisses ‘Connecticut Effect,’ Suggests Grief Over Newtown Tragedy Will Be Short-Lived by Scott Keyes