Payne Co-Sponsors Bipartisan Gun Background Check Legislation

May 10, 2013
Press Release

WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Rep. Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10) co-sponsored bipartisan legislation to help prevent guns from falling into the hands of criminals and the mentally ill. Expanding the existing background check system to cover all commercial firearm sales, H.R. 1565, the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act of 2013 ensures that criminals, terrorists, and the dangerously mentally ill cannot slip through background check loopholes that endanger the safety and rights of every American. 

“This legislation is desperately needed, and a strong majority of New Jerseyans want common sense legislation that prevents criminals, terrorists, and the dangerously mentally ill from getting their hands on guns,” said Rep. Payne, Jr. “This bill is anti-crime, it will save lives, and it will strengthen the rights of law-abiding gun owners.  The victims of gun violence and their families are waiting for Congress to act, and they deserve a vote on this bill in the House right away.” 

Reps. Peter King (R-NY) and Mike Thompson (D-CA) introduced this bipartisan legislation (H.R. 1565), which is identical to the bipartisan agreement on background checks struck by Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Pat Toomey (R-PA). 

The bill greatly reduces the number of places where a criminal can buy a gun. Right now, a criminal can buy a firearm in the parking lot of a gun show, over the internet, or through a newspaper ad without needing a background check. The bill closes these loopholes while ensuring that background checks are conducted in the same way federally licensed dealers have for more than 40 years.

The legislation also strengthens the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners by banning the government from creating a federal registry and makes the misuse of records a felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison. It provides reasonable exceptions for family and friend transfers and allows active military personnel to buy guns in the state they are stationed. It lets gun owners use a state concealed carry permit issued within the last five years in lieu of a background check and permits interstate handgun sales from licensed dealers.

The bill also improves the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) by incentivizing states to improve reporting of criminals and the dangerously mentally ill and by directing future grant funds toward better record-sharing systems. The bill will also reduce federal funds to states that do not comply.