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Chuck Schumer, Michael Bloomberg Seek To Bolster Gun Checks


First Posted: 02/24/11 01:42 AM ET Updated: 05/25/11 07:35 PM ET

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has announced legislation that would require all gun buyers to undergo a background check and increase penalties for states that fail to comply.

Schumer made the announcement on Wednesday alongside New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, co-chair of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, who recently launched a campaign to raise national awareness regarding flaws the coalition of 550 U.S. mayors sees in the federal system of background checks for firearm purchases.

"Two of the most heinous acts of gun violence in the last four years were perpetrated by individuals, who under the law, should have absolutely no access to a gun," said Schumer in a statement. "Despite this fact, lax reporting by states and federal agencies has allowed guns to get into the hands of dangerous individuals with consequences that have been tragic and deadly. This legislation does nothing to impinge upon gun owners' rights, but it does provide greater incentive for reporting individuals who should not have access to guns to a national do-not-sell list."

Under Schumer's legislation, all gun sales, including those by private sellers, would be subject to a background check, effectively closing the so-called gun-show loophole.

The legislation would also require that states submit a higher percentage of their records on individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Financial penalties for states that fail to comply with the background check system would be increased: instead of having 3 percent of federal justice funds cut, as is currently the law, non-compliers would face a 25 percent cut in federal justice funds by 2018.

"I think these efforts are long overdue, but, given the strength of the gun lobby and the Republican House, it will be difficult to get passed," Ian Bartrum, professor of constitutional law at Drake Law School, told HuffPost in an interview Wednesday evening.

The bill, which is still in the process of being drafted, does not currently have any co-sponsors.

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