Last month, Democrats in the House of Representatives passed a plan to expand background checks on gun purchases.
Now, Parkland parent Fred Guttenberg and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz are offering a new plan to require universal background checks on ammunition purchases. The bill is named after Guttenberg’s daughter Jaime, one of 17 students and staff killed on Valentine’s Day last year at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
“We have a gun violence death rate in this country right now of approximately 40,000 per year. It is not normal,” Guttenberg said. “In the time that we do this press conference, somebody will learn they are a victim of gun violence, somebody will be buried who is a victim of gun violence and somebody will be planning the funeral for a victim of gun violence. I am not okay with that.”
The background checks for ammunition would work the same way as background checks for firearms. Every time someone of legal age attempts to purchase ammunition, the buyer would be subject to a background check, which Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy said would take 30 seconds to one minute to complete.
“Even though ammunition is every bit as necessary for the operation of a firearm as the firearm itself, federal law does not require a background check to prevent prohibited purchasers from purchasing ammunition,” Wasserman Schultz said. “Jaime’s Law will close this ammo loophole.”
Guttenberg acknowledged that the bill’s chances of passing the Republican-controlled Senate are low, though he thinks voters in 2020 will punish Senate Republicans who refuse to vote in favor of tighter gun restrictions. As evidence, Guttenberg stood next to freshman California Rep. Mike Levin, who replaced an 18-year Republican incumbent last year.