Congress considering universal background checks for gun sales

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Updated: 2/15/2013 4:43 pm Published: 2/15/2013 4:40 pm

Congress is considering requiring universal background checks for anyone buying a gun.

Supporters say it could help prevent the next mass shooting. FOX23’s Jacqueline Fell investigates how easy it is to buy a gun, no questions asked.

“I just take cash and there you go!” A five minute phone call, a simple handshake, a few hundred dollars cash and someone has purchased a Ruger mini 14 rifle. It’s that easy to purchase a gun in a private sale, where background checks aren’t always required.

A New York City undercover investigation found men not allowed to own guns easily purchasing one from a private seller. Agents actually told sellers in 14 states that they could not pass a background check.

SELLER: No background check, no nothing.
INVESTIGATOR: Good because I probably couldn't pass one.
SELLER: Really? Don't say that, I don't want to hear that. 

It is a felony to sell a gun to someone if the seller has reason to believe the buyer can’t pass a background check.

Undercover officers also purchased a gun online, with no background check.

President Barack Obama wants background checks for all firearm sales except between family members. The group ‘Mayors Against Illegal Guns’ says universal background checks would stop felons who know they aren’t allowed to buy guns.

“The checks that are done at licensed dealerships have stopped about two million people who are too dangerous to own guns from getting them,” says Mark Glaze of Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

Gun rights supporter, Larry Ward, says universal background checks aren’t enforceable, “If you look hard enough to find a gun, you’ll find it. The government has no business in that type of sale.”

The senate will likely consider whether to mandate universal background checks. Senator Tom Coburn’s office tells FOX23 the senator could support background checks, but it depends on how it’s structured.

Coburn told FOX23 he will be introducing legislation in the near future.

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