The Slatest

Democrats to Propose Bill, Which Will Probably Fail, to Close Gun Loopholes

Debbie Stabenow Chuck Schumer
Sens. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan and Chuck Schumer of New York, shown here at the Capitol on June 1, 2015, described the plan in a letter to colleagues.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Senate Democrats plan to propose a bill to close a number of loopholes in the background check system for gun purchases, multiple outlets report. The bill will be similar to a bipartisan proposal put forward by West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin and Pennsylvania Republican Pat Toomey in 2013 after the Sandy Hook massacre; that bill failed in the Senate by a vote of 54–46 with five Democrats voting against it. Among the reforms outlined by Michigan’s Debbie Stabenow and New York’s Chuck Schumer in a letter to colleagues:

  • Expanding the background check system to cover guns sold at gun shows and online.
  • Extending the period, which is currently three days, after which a purchaser can get their gun even if a background check is not yet completed. (This is how Charleston, South Carolina, killer Dylann Roof got his weapon.)
  • Adding “abusive dating partners, individuals under a court-imposed restraining order and convicted stalkers” to the list of people banned prohibited from buying firearms.
  • Making it a crime to be a “straw purchaser” who buys a weapon for somebody else.

Senate Dems apparently plan to block action on other bills until the gun control measures are brought to a vote; Republicans hold a 54-seat majority in the chamber.