Saturday, May 18, 2013

Universal Background Checks Prevent Criminals From Getting Guns

Oregon Senate Bill 700 requires a background check before a gun is sold or transferred between private parties, except transfers to immediate family members and domestic partners.  Enacting SB 700 will make it more difficult for criminals and other dangerous people to obtain firearms.

Unlike most states, under current Oregon law, licensed dealers and sellers at gun shows must run a background check on the prospective buyer before selling a fierarm.  Background checks, conducted by the Oregon State Police, reveal whether the potential buyer is a felon or a fugitive, has been adjudicated mentally ill, has been convicted of domestic violence, or can't lawfully own a gun for other reasons.  But private sellers (everyone other than licensed dealers) who are not at gun shows may sell or give guns to anyone without first running a background check.  Does that make any sense?  No.

Oregon Senate Bill 700 will change Oregon law by requiring that most gun sales between private parties be preceded by a background check, and it will therefore establish universal background checks in Oregon.  Ceasefire Oregon supports SB 700 because:

  • Universal background checks are the easiest, most efficient way to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, people who are dangerously mentally ill, and others who should not have guns.
  • Universal background checks will not prevent law-abiding citizens from buying or owning firearms.
  • Universal background checks have overwhelming public support.  A January 2013 poll found that 81% of Oregonians support universal background checks on all gun sales.

Background checks work.  From 1994 through 2008, background checks prevented 1.8 million prohibited people in the United States, including felons and the mentally ill, from buying guns (according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics).

If you live in Oregon, tell your legislators to support SB 700.