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Donnelly Statement on Gun Rights Legislation, Background Checks

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Today, Senator Joe Donnelly released the following statement as the Senate considered a series of proposed amendments to legislation designed to strengthen the gun rights of law-abiding citizens and help keep weapons out of the hands of terrorists, felons, and the mentally ill.

"I am a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment and am proud to stand up for all law-abiding Hoosiers who exercise their right to keep and bear arms," said Donnelly. "Over the last 14 years, more than 3.5 million Hoosiers have purchased a firearm using the background check system. Currently, however, too many individuals with criminal records or serious mental illnesses are getting guns by exploiting loopholes in the current system and, in the process, endangering the lives of others and the rights of law-abiding gun owners.

"After all, history shows that Congress begins reexamining proposals that would infringe on citizens' 2nd Amendment rights, like the assault weapons ban, which I oppose, only when someone who shouldn't have had guns in the first place uses them to commit mass murder. By improving our system of background checks as Senators Manchin and Toomey proposed, we would increase the likelihood that terrorists, felons, and the seriously mentally ill won't be able to jeopardize the rights of law-abiding citizens."

This evening, Donnelly continued his longtime support for Hoosiers with licenses to carry to have those licenses recognized in every state in the union. While in the House, Donnelly co-sponsored legislation that would have made state-issued concealed firearm carrying permits or licenses valid across state lines as long as they followed that state's laws on where concealed weapons can be carried. In November 2011, a bipartisan majority of the House of Representatives passed this legislation with Donnelly's support.

Further, Donnelly supported reaffirming current law that no one can create a national gun registry and voted to add criminal penalties, up to 15 years in federal prison, to this law.

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