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Why the U.S. Needs the Background Check Expansion Act

April 7, 2019

If S.42, or the Background Check Expansion Act, passes in the Senate, the loophole that allows gun show sellers to sell a gun without performing a detailed background check will close. With the passing of this act, American senators finally have the chance to prove they can act in the best interest of the country and ignore party loyalties.

When the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act passed in 1993, the intention of the bill was to have a national background check system, and a mandatory five-day waiting period. However, because the bill only addressed federally licensed gun sellers, giving gun show sellers  the ability to sell without performing a background check. S.42 seeks to close this loophole, since it was never the intention of the government and has become harmful to the well-being and safety of the American people.

According to Health.com, incidents of gun violence can increase up to 70 percent following some gun shows. This statistic most likely correlates to the fact that those who purchase their guns at shows do not have to pass a background check. This article also found that background checks reduce the overall suicide rate.

S.42 should pass for the simple reason that background checks reduce violence and prevent dangerous or mentally ill people from owning guns illegally. U.S. citizens want the bill as well. According to Politifact, 97 percent of gun owners support a universal background checks bill, and a poll taken in 2017 showed that 96 percent of the general public want a universal background check  as well. The only reason the bill has not passed as of yet rests on the National Rifle Association, who consistently oppose any gun legislation in the U.S. The NRA consistently influence senators who accept campaign donations from the NRA as long as they continue voting against new gun legislation.

When it comes to voting on a bill, the NRA should not influence senators’ decisions if U.S. citizens largely disagree with them. When 96 percent of the public want universal background checks, the bill should pass with no problem. If it does not do just that, it shows a clear representation of legislator priorities. Senators should give the American public what they want and vote yes on S.42.

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