Rep. Lucy McBath among U.S. lawmakers proposing instant background checks for ammo

Several U.S. representatives advocated for what they view as "common-sense" legislation that would require instant background checks to prevent criminals from illegally purchasing ammunition. 

Georgia 6th District Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Ga., as well as Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., advocated for the bill named Jaime’s Law — named after one of 17 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting victims, Jaime Guttenberg — on Tuesday during a virtual press conference. 

Guttenberg's father, Fred Guttenberg, said his daughter would have been a senior this year.

"More weapons with no new safeguards leads to predictable and inevitable outcomes, and that's more dead Americans," Guttenberg said.

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Under current law, criminals, domestic abusers and dangerous mentally ill individuals are prohibited from purchasing a firearm as well as ammunition, but bullets currently don't require background checks. Jamie’s Law would require all buyer of ammunition to undergo an instant background check using the FBI National Instant Background Check System, which is used for firearms.

McBath, who lost her son Jordan Davis in a shooting, said her work is rooted in the heartbreak that changed her life.

"Over the past couple of months, we've continued to see — with terrifying frequency — just how much pain gun violence brings to our community and brings to our country," McBath said. "Americans are simply no longer going to accept the empty words and hollow gestures we hear over and over again."

McBath said she believes background checks for ammunition will increase public safety. 

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The U.S. House passed two bills in March largely along party lines that would expand and strengthen background checks for gun sales and transfers, a move that has broad public support. Most Republicans argue that strengthened checks could take guns away from law-abiding gun owners.

Wasserman Schultz said Jamie's Law creates an additional layer of protection against gun violence. She said there is currently a loophole that treats ammunition purchases differently from firearms. The law takes a multi-faceted approach to reduce gun violence by requiring a background check for ammunition purchases.

"No one deserves to ever feel this kind of loss and pain," McBath said. "Jamie's Law is for families like ours ... and for families across the country who are terrified one day they will send their children off to school and they are not going to return home."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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