Why We’re Supporting S42

We have been getting questions about why we are asking Senator Toomey to sign onto SR 42, the Senate version of the background check bill that passed the House earlier this year (HR 8) and rather than supporting an effort to reintroduce the Manchin-Toomey bill of 2013. The answer is that several provisions in Manchin-Toomey make it a much weaker bill than SR 42.

It’s 2019, and we want a strong background check bill, not one that leaves critical loopholes and weakens other aspects of our firearms laws.

Issue

SR 42

Manchin-Toomey

Universal Background Checks? Closes our background check loopholes and covers private sales (sales by unlicensed dealers). Expands background checks only to cover sales conducted at gun shows or advertised online or “in a publication.” Leaves many loopholes and does not require background checks for most private sales.
Time to Complete a Background Check Current law is 72 hours. HR 1112 which passed the House earlier this year, expands that to 10 business days. Shortens the time frame, providing only 24 hours to conduct background checks at gun shows.
Effect on Interstate Sales Current law prohibits the purchase of handguns in a state other than that in which you live. This bill leaves those restrictions intact. Weakens current prohibitions and allows out-of-state gun dealers to conduct business at any gun show in any state.
Effect on Immunity of Gun Industry The gun industry enjoys a unique immunity from lawsuits. This bill neither improves nor exacerbates this problem. Expands gun industry immunity to private sellers, gun show organizers, and online gun marketplaces.

 

Does the Bill Create a Universal background Checks System? Current federal law regulates gun sales — and requires background checks for sales — only by federally licensed dealers, and private sales or sales by unlicensed dealers are regulated by the states. Some states require background checks in all private sales, some, like Pennsylvania, require them only for handguns but not long guns, and some states don’t require background checks for any private sales. This has created many loopholes, including sales between friends, at yard sales, through connections made on the Internet, and in some states (though not PA) a gun show loophole.

SR 42 actually closes our background check loopholes and covers private sales (sales by unlicensed dealers).

By contrast, Manchin-Toomey would leave gaps and loopholes in place to allow people to buy weapons without any background check. It only expands background checks to cover sales conducted at gun shows or advertised online or “in a publication.”

How much time to complete a background check? Generally, background checks are completed in minutes, with a clear “proceed” or “do not proceed” being communicated to the seller on the spot. However, on some occasions, it takes a little longer. Under current federal law, if there is not a clear “proceed,” there is a 3 day period during which a sale cannot occur while the background check continues. However, after that 72 hours, the seller may proceed even in the absence of a clear “yes.” (Under PA law, the sale cannot proceed until a clear yes is issued.)

Earlier this year, the House passed H.R. 1112, the Enhanced Background Checks Act, with bipartisan support to extend the time in which background checks may be completed to 10 business days. SR 42, in tandem with HR. 1112, would ensure that prohibited purchasers are successfully prevented from getting their hands on guns.

Manchin-Toomey actually reduces the time for background checks to be completed to 24 hours for gun shows. This would counteract the new safeguards of HR 1112.

Effect on the regulation of interstate handgun sales? Under current federal law, there are strict regulations on how an individual may purchase a handgun from a dealer in another state.

SR 42 does not change this.

By contrast, Manchin-Toomey weakens the current law and also allows out-of-state gun dealers to conduct business at any gun show in any state.

Effect on the immunity of the gun industry from litigation? It is extremely difficult to sue gun manufacturers and gun dealers in the U.S. because of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act of 2005 (PLCAA), which provides an immunity from a civil lawsuit that no other industry enjoys.

SR 42 neither weakens or strengthens PLCAA.

Manchin-Toomey expands PLCAA to provide immunity for private sellers, gun show organizers, and online gun marketplaces, such as Armslist.