Sunday, June 14, 2015

Democrats introduce new gun control legislation: Want photos, fingerprints, background check before handgun purchase

Maryland Congressman Chris Van Hollen, Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, and Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (all D-CT) have introduced the Handgun Purchaser Licensing Act of 2015.

Democrats claim this legislation would crack down on violence by helping states develop and implement licensing programs for the purchase of handguns, a process that keeps guns out of the hands of individuals who would not pass a background check.

“Of the thousands of Americans murdered every single year by firearms, nearly 90 percent of those deaths occur with a handgun. With mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, and friends dying every day because of guns, there is no question that gun violence is tearing at the fabric of our communities,” Rep. Van Hollen said.

“The evidence is clear: sensible handgun laws save lives. By encouraging states to adopt responsible handgun mandates, this measure makes life harder for dangerous criminals and safer for law-abiding gun owners and responsible gun dealers. All states require licenses to drive a car or hunt or fish – so why not handguns, which can kill? Requiring a license to purchase a deadly weapon is at least as important as requiring one to drive a car. This legislation should win broad, bipartisan support,” Senator Blumenthal said.

“Today’s research shows that Connecticut’s gun safety laws are working to reduce gun violence and save lives. In Congress, it’s time to listen to the voices of the mothers and fathers, friends and loved ones who have to endure the pain of gun violence every single day. Permit-to-purchase requirements for all handguns keep guns out of the hands of criminals and those who would fail a background check, and our bill would help other states develop programs similar to ours here in Connecticut.

"The time is now for Congress to pass this commonsense gun safety bill, as well as comprehensive federal background checks legislation, to make our streets, our schools, and our communities safer,” Senator Murphy said.

“In Connecticut, state leaders moved swiftly following the tragedy at Sandy Hook to enact bipartisan, commonsense laws that make our communities safer.

“The legislation we are introducing today is a critical reform that will allow other states to adopt lifesaving licensing programs and prevent gun deaths.

"I’m proud to join Senators Blumenthal and Murphy, and Congressman Van Hollen to introduce this much-needed bill, which I urge my colleagues in Congress to support,” Rep. Esty said.

The Handgun Purchaser Licensing Act would authorize a grant program at the Department of Justice to encourage states to establish permit-to-purchase requirements for all handguns, including at gun shows and with private sellers.

This grant would help offset the costs associated with the development, implementation, and evaluation of these programs. To be eligible, states must require individuals applying for a license to meet the following criteria:

-- Provide proof they are at least 21 years old and a lawful resident of the United States.

-- Apply for the license at a law enforcement agency within the state.

-- Submit to a background investigation and criminal history check.

-- Submit fingerprints and photographs with their application.

-- Be eligible to purchase a handgun pursuant to the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act.

"States require licenses to drive a car or even to fish in local rivers, so requiring a license to buy a deadly handgun is a commonsense step that could save countless lives. This legislation will help states develop responsible handgun licensing programs," Rep. Van Hollen, said.

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