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Everytown Asks: What is President Trump’s Position on Criminal Background Checks for All Gun Sales?

February 22, 2018

Following the School Shooting in Parkland, Florida, President Trump Expressed Openness to Supporting Modest Fix NICS Act, Which Is Different Than Comprehensive Background Checks on All Gun Sales, Which 97 Percent of American Voters Support

Gun Violence Survivors, Gun Violence Prevention Leaders, Policy Experts and Moms Demand Action Volunteers Available for Interviews

WASHINGTON – Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a part of Everytown for Gun Safety, released the following statement today after President Trump tweeted his support of “comprehensive background checks.”

What remains unclear is whether President Trump supports requiring criminal background checks on every gun sale, or is advocating for the much more modest Fix NICS Act.


“Strengthening the current system is important, but President Trump owes it to Parkland’s families – and to all Americans – to say whether he supports expanding background checks to every gun sale. Criminal background checks on all gun sales are the foundation of any comprehensive strategy to reduce gun violence, and they must be the President’s first priority if he truly wants to lead on this issue.”

Earlier this week, the White House said that President Trump was open to supporting the Fix NICS Act, and referred to unspecified “edits” to the bill to follow. But the Fix NICS Act does not expand the background check requirement to cover unlicensed sales. It simply incentivizes states and federal agencies to put prohibiting records into the system. In other words, it compels federal agencies to follow existing law and continues the work of pressing states to improve.

Comprehensive background check legislation, by contrast, would expand the criminal background check requirement to include unlicensed sellers who operate at gun shows or online. Even if the Fix NICS Act passed, felons and other prohibited people would still be able to buy guns from unlicensed sellers, at gun shows or online, without a background check, in more than 30 states.

Congress also must fully reject the NRA’s top legislative priorities — a bill to gut silencer safety laws and concealed carry reciprocity, a bill that would make communities less safe by forcing every state to allow untrained people, people with no background check or permit, and people with dangerous histories to carry hidden, loaded handguns in public — and ensure that bump stocks are prohibited.

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