A day after a gunman killed five people at a Sikh temple in Minnesota, Florida lawmakers are considering expanding the background check process for gun purchases.
The House on Tuesday approved legislation that would allow a licensed gun dealer to conduct background checks on prospective gun buyers.
The legislation, H.R. 1617, would expand the definition of what constitutes a “restricted firearm,” which would include “assault weapons, large capacity magazines, high-capacity magazines, military-style assault weapons, and any type of semi-automatic rifle that is capable of feeding more than 10 rounds of ammunition, and those designed to accept more than 15 rounds of ammo.”
The legislation would expand that definition to include certain rifles and shotguns that are not designed to be carried in the hands of a single individual, and they would be exempt from a background check.
Under the legislation, a gun dealer who conducts background checks would be required to report the results of the checks to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which would then issue a gun transfer record.
The bill also would expand a state law that currently prohibits anyone under the age of 21 from purchasing a firearm, including those in private possession.
It also would allow licensed gun dealers to charge a fee for a background-check transaction and would require that any guns they acquire be transferred to another licensed gun retailer, which is required under state law to have a license to sell firearms.
The National Rifle Association opposes the expansion, arguing that the bill would be unconstitutional.
“Congress should pass legislation to keep firearms out of the hands, or at least out of their hands of people who shouldn’t have them,” NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said in a statement.
“Congress should stop allowing the NRA to create a law that is so sweeping and intrusive that it is unconstitutional.”