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This legislative ask is designed to be shared with your members of Congress and their staff.

The gun violence epidemic facing our country is a public health crisis that can be avoided – but only if Congress takes action.

Support universal background checks for all gun sales.

Today, federally licensed firearms dealers are required to check the buyer’s background in a database that tracks criminal and mental health histories as well as civil orders. Since this process was enacted, over three million people have been denied firearms. However, it’s estimated that some 22 percent of U.S. gun owners acquired their most recent gun without a background check.

Current law does not require individuals buying guns from private sellers or on the internet to pass a background check. Universal background checks are a systematic way to prevent people who shouldn’t have guns from obtaining them. We urge Congress to pass legislation that would require federal background checks for all firearm purchases.

  • In states that required background checks for all handgun sales, 47% fewer women are shot to death by their intimate partners, there were 47% fewer firearm suicides, and 53% fewer law enforcement officers are shot and killed in the line of duty.
  • An estimated 22% of gun transfers take place without a background check, usually online or at gun shows.
  • Universal background checks would require unlicensed dealers, like those over the internet or at gun shows, to use the same background check system as licensed dealers.
  • The vast majority of Americans support universal background checks, with polls consistently showing more than 90% of gun owners and non-gun owners supporting the policy. Background checks also have strong support among NRA members, with at least 69% supporting comprehensive background checks.
Contact: Amelia Kegan, Legislative Director for Domestic Policy,