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Rep. Quigley Co-Authors Bipartisan King-Thompson Background Check Bill

Oct 6, 2015
Press Release
Legislation closes loopholes in the current background check system to help keeps guns from criminals, domestic abusers and the dangerously mentally ill

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley (IL- 05) co-authored H.R. 1217, the bipartisan King-Thompson background check legislation, officially known as the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act of 2015. The bill expands the existing background check system to cover all commercial firearm sales, including those at gun shows, over the internet or in classified ads while providing reasonable exceptions for family and friend transfers.

“Congress needs to stop following thoughts and prayers with inaction while gun violence becomes our country’s new normal,” said Rep. Quigley. “We have a bipartisan bill to expand background checks ready for a vote. It respects our Second Amendment rights and will help save lives by stopping criminals, domestic abusers or the dangerously mentally ill from getting guns. I urge my colleagues to bring this bill to the floor.”

Under the legislation, the current background check system would be expanded to require comprehensive and enforceable background checks on all commercial gun sales, such as those made at gun shows, over the internet or through classified ads. Studies show that every day where background checks are used, the system stops more than 170 felons, some 50 domestic abusers, and nearly 20 fugitives from buying a gun. However, no system is in place to prevent these same prohibited purchasers from buying identical guns at a gun show, over the internet, or through a newspaper ad with no questions asked because background checks are not required for these kinds of sales. The King-Thompson bill closes these loopholes.

The legislation also supports the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners. It bans the government from creating a federal registry and makes the misuse of records a felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison. It provides reasonable exceptions for firearms transfers between family members, friends and hunting buddies. It allows active military personnel to buy guns in the state in which they are stationed. It permits interstate handgun sales from licensed dealers. And, under the bill, background checks would continue to be conducted in the same manner as they have for more than 40 years.

The bill also help strengthen the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) by incentivizing states to improve reporting of criminals and the dangerously mentally ill and by directing future grant funds toward better record-sharing systems. The bill will reduce federal funds to states that do not comply. 

As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Quigley has lead bills to increase funding to public safety and combat gun violence in the Chicago area. He has called on Congress to stand up to the gun lobby in America and believes Chicago’s gun violence demands a federal response. His signature legislation, the TRACE Act, cracks down on the illegal gun market by improving gun tracking data and provides law enforcement the tools it needs to enforce current gun laws. Rep. Quigley is also an original sponsor of the Buyback our Safety Act to bolster gun buyback initiatives.