U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) released the following statement today to commemorate the 13th anniversary of the Columbine massacre. As one of the Senate's leading voices for gun safety, Senator Lautenberg has worked to pass legislation that would close the gun show loophole by requiring background checks on all sales at gun shows.
"What happened at Columbine 13 years ago was a tragedy none of us can forget. Our sadness and anger over these senseless deaths was only intensified when we learned that guns used in this massacre were purchased at a gun show, without a background check," said Senator Lautenberg. "Yet while gun shots continue to ring out across the country, the gun show loophole still remains. We must not stop in our efforts to stand up to special interests and stop guns from falling into the wrong hands."
Senator Lautenberg is the author of legislation to close the gun show loophole--a significant loophole in U.S. law that allows guns to be sold, even to criminals and terrorists, without background checks by unlicensed sellers at gun shows. Three of the weapons used in the Columbine shootings were purchased at gun shows without a background check. Sen. Lautenberg's bill would require that sellers at gun shows perform the same background checks that licensed gun dealers are required to perform under the Brady Law.
Sen. Lautenberg has been working to close the gun show loophole since 1999, when he first introduced legislation to require background checks at gun shows. Later that year, in the wake of the Columbine tragedy, the Senate passed Sen. Lautenberg's legislation as an amendment to a juvenile justice bill. The legislation passed by one vote, with Vice President Gore casting the tie-breaking vote. However, the gun lobby killed the legislation in House-Senate conference.