WASHINGTON – This week, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) sponsored two bills aimed at protecting Virginians from gun violence through expanded background checks on gun sales and banning military-style assault weapons.
“We owe it to the victims and families affected by gun violence in communities across the Commonwealth and the nation to take a commonsense approach to prevent future tragedies,” said Sen. Warner. “While these bills won’t stop every mass shooting, they include much-needed and widely-supported steps to prevent guns from falling into the wrong hands and will save lives.”
The Background Checks Expansion Act will expand federal background checks to all gun sales. Under current federal law, unlicensed or private sellers are not required to conduct a background check prior to transferring a firearm. Ninety-seven percent of Americans support comprehensive background checks, but research indicates that as many as a quarter of all gun sales in the United States may occur without a background check. The bill will extend the background check requirement to all unlicensed sellers, whether they do business online, at gun shows, or out of their home, with commonsense exemptions for transfers between law enforcement officers, loaning firearms for hunting and sporting events, and transfers between family members. Text for the bill is found here.
The Assault Weapons Ban of 2019 will ban the sale, transfer, manufacture and importation of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines. The bill exempts by name more than 2,200 guns for used for hunting, household defense or recreational purposes while ending the sale of assault weapons and military-style firearms that have been used in several recent U.S. mass shootings, including the tragic events in Newton, CT, Parkland, FL and Las Vegas, NV. Recent polls have found that 67 percent of Americans support restricting sale of military style assault weapons. Text for the bill is found here.
Sen. Warner continues to advocate for commonsense steps to curb gun violence. Last year, Sen. Warner penned an op-ed outlining his support for an assault weapons ban to help curb gun violence while still respecting the rights of law-abiding gun owners.