Universal Background Checks Policy Was Once Supported By the NRA

The NRA used to want background checks for gun purchases — now Democrats are introducing a bill to see it through.

“Way back in the 1920s, a relatively new organization called the National Rifle Association proposed that states should pass laws regulating handguns — the sales of which were starting to explode all across America,” explained Connecticut senator Chris Murphy. “Only suitable people with a good reason for owning a gun should be able to possess a gun, said the NRA, and only after a reasonable waiting period.”

In 1993, Congress passed the Brady background checks law to establish the national instant criminal background check system. But the NRA was eventually taken over by right-wing extremists who detested the idea that anyone should be banned from owning guns.

Since being enacted, the Brady Bill has prevented the sale of handguns to more than 3 million potentially dangerous individuals. But the bill only requires background checks by licensed gun dealers, not private sellers who push guns online or at gun shows.

Many states have passed measures to expand these background checks, but until federal laws catch up, criminals will continue to exploit their loopholes.

Murphy and other members of the House teamed up to create the Background Check Expansion Act, which would require a background check for every sale of a firearm.

“[It’s] a public policy that 97% of American support, that we know saves lives,” he explained. “Why the hell aren’t we getting this done?”