Today, after reviewing President Obama's Executive Actions to reduce gun violence, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos offered her support for common sense measures to protect Illinoisans. Bustos, who previously co-sponsored the bipartisan King-Thompson bill in Congress to expand criminal background checks to gun shows, internet sales and classified ads (H.R. 1217), issued the following statement:
"Every day, we lose an average of more than 30 mothers, fathers, sons and daughters to gun violence in our homes, on our streets and in ever increasing incidents of mass shootings," said Congresswoman Cheri Bustos. "During the past several months, I've reached out to law enforcement officials across Illinois, gun violence experts and community organizations on the front lines of providing services to victims to better understand how we can address this scourge. With their guidance, last month I co-sponsored a bipartisan proposal that would make it harder for convicted criminals, the dangerously mentally ill and perpetrators of domestic violence to access deadly weapons by closing loopholes and expanding the use of criminal background checks. As the wife of a Sheriff and mother of hunters, I support the Second Amendment, and these executive actions respect the rights of law-abiding gun owners."
The bipartisan H.R. 1217, authored by Rep. Pete King (R-NY) and Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA), expands the existing criminal background check system to cover all commercial firearm sales, including those at gun shows, over the internet or in classified ads while providing reasonable exceptions for family and friend transfers.
Studies show that every day where criminal background checks are used, the system stops more than 170 felons, some 50 domestic abusers, and nearly 20 fugitives from buying a gun. However, no federal system is in place to prevent these same prohibited purchasers from buying identical guns at a gun show, over the internet, or through a newspaper ad with no questions asked because criminal background checks are not required for these kinds of sales. The King-Thompson bill closes these loopholes.
In December, Bustos also signed a discharge petition that would have forced a vote on a different bill to prevent suspected terrorists from purchasing guns. The petition has not yet reached the required 218 signatures to force a vote and Republican leadership has refused to bring the bill to the floor for a vote thus far.