January 08, 2019

Cortez Masto, Senators Reintroduce Background Check Expansion Act to Reduce Gun Violence

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) joined Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and 39 other senators in reintroducing the Background Check Expansion Act to expand federal background checks on all gun sales. Under current law, unlicensed or private sellers are not required to conduct a background check prior to transferring a firearm. 97% of Americans support comprehensive background checks. Research indicates that as many as a quarter of all gun sales in the United States may occur without a background check.

“I’m proud to join Senator Murphy in introducing legislation that closes the loophole that allows the purchase or transfer of guns without a background check. This is an essential first step toward ensuring we reduce the number of mass shootings in America, keep guns out of the hands of criminals, and save lives,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “We owe it to victims and families affected by gun violence – in Las Vegas, Newtown, and across America – to pass this common sense gun safety measure to help address the epidemic of gun violence.”

“97% of Americans agree—if you can’t pass a background check, you shouldn’t be able to buy a gun. I’m proud to introduce the Background Check Expansion Act as my first bill. Voters stood up this fall and made it clear they want Congress to do more to keep our kids safe from gun violence. We need to listen to them and pass our bill to save lives,” said Senator Murphy.


The Background Checks Expansion Act will require background checks for the sale or transfer of all firearms. This requirement extends to all unlicensed sellers, whether they do business online, at gun shows, or out of their home. Exceptions to the Background Check Expansion Act include transfers between law enforcement officers, temporarily loaning firearms for hunting and sporting events, providing firearms as gifts to immediate family members, transferring a firearm as part of an inheritance, or temporarily transferring a firearm for immediate self-defense.

In addition to Murphy and Cortez Masto, U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Timothy Kaine (D-Va.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) cosponsored the bill.

Full text of the bill is available here.