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H.R.5383 - Ammunition Background Check Act of 2018

Representative Debbie Wasserman Shultz

To prevent the purchase of ammunition by prohibited purchasers.

You might favor this bill if:
►  You believe that an instant background check should be made every time gun ammunition is being sold. This wont prevent the next tragedy, but it is a strategy against gun violence that should be implemented.

You might oppose this bill if:
►  You believe that enforcing an instant background check on the sale of ammunition infringes on second amendment rights. Individuals should not be denied the ability to buy gun ammunition even if they are prohibited from purchasing a firearm.

The Ammunition Background Check Act would require instant background checks for the sale of gun ammunition. The legislation aims to prevent criminals from illegally purchasing ammunition.

This bill has a sibling legislation under the same name in the Senate, S.2627, sponsored by Senator Blumenthal, which has some minor differences.

Under current law, some criminals, domestic abusers, and dangerously mentally ill individuals are prohibited from purchasing a firearm, they are also prohibited from purchasing ammunition. However, unlike firearms, federal law does not require a background check to prevent the illegal purchase of bullets. The Ammunition Background Check Act of 2018 would close this loophole by requiring all buyers of ammunition to undergo an instant background check under the same FBI National Instant Background Check System (NICS), the same quick and easy process that applies to the purchase of firearms.

Those who oppose the legislation see it as another “gun restricting” measure which infringes on their second amendment rights, even though the legislation only enforces already existing federal law.

According to Wasserman Schultz’ press release, various experts point to the lack of enforcement of existing ammunition prohibitions as one of the most non-invasive yet effective strategies for curbing gun violence.

“Federal law currently has a gaping loophole: virtually anyone can buy ammunition without being subject to a basic background check. So, while Congress has set out a list of people who are prohibited from buying ammunition, nothing is being done to actually stop these people, including criminals, from purchasing ammunition. The NRA has long argued that we don’t need more gun laws; we just need to enforce the laws we have. In a sense, this is what this proposed legislation will do. It simply enforces the already existing federal law that prohibits people who shouldn’t have access to deadly ammunition from obtaining it,” said Professor Michael Siegel, MD, MPH at the Department of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health.

“This common-sense legislation simply enforces existing federal law, and will make it harder for criminals to amass hundreds of rounds of ammunition without so much as sharing their first name with a gun store clerk,” says sponsor of the bill Rep. Wasserman Schultz. “Closing this absurd loophole will not by itself stop the next mass shooting tragedy, but this popular approach must be part of our larger strategy for ending gun violence. Studies show it can help keep ‘bad guys with guns’ from perpetrating another mass slaughter like the one we witnessed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in my Broward County community, or the thousands of other acts of gun violence that devastate communities across the country. It takes more than just a gun to take an innocent life. It also takes bullets. We need to do all we can to make sure neither of them ends up in the wrong hands.”

“Ammunition sales should be subject to the same legal requirements as firearm sales, and that includes instant background checks,” says sponsor of the bill Senator Blumenthal. “The same laws that prevent dangerous individuals from purchasing firearms also prohibit them from amassing arsenals of ammunition, with one major loophole: there are no background checks for ammunition sales to enforce the law. Closing this ludicrous loophole is a common-sense component of a comprehensive strategy to reduce gun violence.”


Sponsored by: Rep. Wasserman Schultz, Debbie [D-FL-23].

Cosponsored by: 0 Rep / 35 Dem.

See list of cosponsors.

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