U.S. Reps. Mike Thompson (D-CA) and Pete King (R-NY) today released the following statement on the growing momentum in support of the H.R. 1565, the King-Thompson bipartisan compromise to expand the current background check system to all commercial sales. The bill currently has more than 150 co-sponsors. Joining them are original co-authors Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Pat Meehan (R-PA), Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) and Peter Defazio (D-OR).
"The support we have received for this commonsense legislation that will strengthen the Second Amendment rights of lawful Americans, and keep guns from criminals, terrorist and the dangerously mentally ill has been overwhelming. We're more than half-way home, but we still have a lot of work to do. We're not giving up. The American people deserve for this bill to be signed into law," said Thompson and King.
The bipartisan King-Thompson legislation is identical to the bipartisan agreement on background checks struck by Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Pat Toomey (R-PA).
The legislation helps prevent guns from falling into criminal hands and reinforces the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners. It expands the existing background check system to cover all commercial firearm sales, including those at gun shows, over the internet or in classified ads. By closing these loopholes, the legislation greatly reduces the number of places that criminals and the dangerously mentally ill can buy guns. Right now, a criminal can buy a firearm at a table or out of someone's trunk at a gun show, over the internet, or through a newspaper ad because no background check is required for these kinds of sales. Under the bill, background checks will continue to be conducted though a licensed dealer in the same manner as they have for more than 40 years.
The legislation also strengthens the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners by banning the government from creating a federal registry and makes the misuse of records a felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison. It provides reasonable exceptions for family and friend transfers and allows active military personnel to buy guns in the state they are stationed. It lets gun owners use a state concealed carry permit issued within the last five years in lieu of a background check and permits interstate handgun sales from licensed dealers.
The bill also improves the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) by incentivizing states to improve reporting of criminals and the dangerously mentally ill and by directing future grant funds toward better record-sharing systems. The bill will also reduce federal funds to states that do not comply.
The bill has been referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary and the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs.