Press Release

AG Shapiro: Congress Must Close Ammunition Loophole

September 23, 2019 | Topic: Peoples AG

Jaime’s Law extends background check requirements to include ammunition sales

HARRISBURG — Attorney General Josh Shapiro today led a coalition of 20 other Attorneys General in sending a letter to Congressional leaders urging their support of legislation that extends existing background check requirements on firearm sales to also include ammunition sales. The Attorneys General argue these background checks would decrease gun violence by stopping individuals who are prohibited from purchasing a gun from also obtaining ammunition.

“Gun violence is a public health and public safety crisis that is devastating communities across the nation,” said Attorney General Josh Shapiro. “Jaime’s Law is a common sense approach to decreasing gun violence by closing the loophole that does not require background checks for ammunition purchases. This reform will help prevent dangerous individuals from obtaining ammunition and will assist law enforcement in keeping our neighborhoods safe.”

Jaime’s Law is named after Jaime Guttenberg, who was 14 years old when she was one of 17 students and teachers killed in a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The bill would make it illegal for individuals who are already “prohibited purchasers” under federal law—including convicted felons, domestic abusers, and individuals with serious mental health conditions— to purchase or possess ammunition. Under existing law, a prohibited purchaser could obtain a gun through straw purchasing—when someone purchases a firearm on behalf of someone who cannot purchase one for themselves legally—or other illegal means, yet the prohibited purchaser would still be able to walk into a store and purchase ammunition without a background check.

To enforce this requirement, individuals would either have to be licensed to own a firearm or undergo a background check to purchase ammunition. Federal law already places these requirements on firearms sales; extending those same requirements to ammunition can reduce gun violence and suicide.

“This legislation was made possible because of Fred Guttenberg, who has channeled his grief from the loss of his daughter Jaime into fearless advocacy for stronger laws to save other people’s lives,” said Attorney General Shapiro. “I’m proud to lead my colleague Attorneys General in urging Congress to honor those lost in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and the victims of gun violence across the nation by supporting this long overdue legislation.”

Jaime’s Law is currently with the House Judiciary Committee. The Attorneys General ask the Committee to give the bill their support and urge the House and the Senate to ensure this important bill is passed to help law enforcement keep communities safe.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro led the coalition which also included the Attorneys General of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.

A copy of the letter can be found here.

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