What: All Issues : Justice for All: Civil and Criminal : Equal Access to Justice : S. 1805. Gun Industry Liability/Vote to Require All Gun Dealers at Gun Shows to Conduct Criminal Background Checks on Potential Firearms Buyers. (2004 senate Roll Call 25)
 Who: All Members
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S. 1805. Gun Industry Liability/Vote to Require All Gun Dealers at Gun Shows to Conduct Criminal Background Checks on Potential Firearms Buyers.
senate Roll Call 25     Mar 02, 2004
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Win

Individuals who attend gun shows can purchase firearms from either federally-licensed dealers or unlicensed dealers. If a gun is bought from a licensed dealer, then current law requires the performance of a criminal background check before the sale is completed. If, however, a gun is purchased from an unlicensed dealer, then no criminal background check is required. Naturally, then, criminals seeking guns will buy from unlicensed dealers because their criminal backgrounds will not be discovered (by law, convicted criminals are not allowed to buy guns). To close this so-called "gun show loophole" around criminal background checks, Senator McCain (R-AZ) proposed an amendment to the gun industry liability bill which would require criminal background checks on all firearms transactions at gun shows where at least 75 guns are displayed for sale. Progressives voted in favor of McCain's amendment as a way to close what they characterized as a gaping hole in the laws governing gun ownership. In the view of Progressives, guns should be kept out of the hands of convicted criminals. Conservatives voted against McCain's amendment. Senator Craig (R-ID), an NRA board member, characterized McCain's proposal as an "effort to create a blanket Federal policy across 1,000 gun shows, attended by millions of people annually, which is legal, responsible commerce." In the view of Conservatives, states rather than the federal government should decide how to regulate gun shows. Eight Republicans joined an overwhelming majority of Democrats in support of McCain's proposal, the measure was adopted 53-46, and the McCain language was added to the underlying gun industry liability bill. (Note: Amendments to the gun liability bill-especially the renewal of the assault weapons ban and the closing of the so-called "gun show loophole"-caused the National Rifle Association and its allies in the Senate to turn against the underlying gun liability measure and the bill was soundly defeated 8-90.)

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