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House bill proposes universal background checks to buy ammunition

9mm hollow point ammunition. (PxHere/Released)
March 15, 2019

Universal background checks could be required prior to firearm ammunition purchases under a new bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The bill, “Jaime’s Law,” was introduced on Wednesday by Democrat Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and named for Jamie Guttenberg, who lost her life in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre on Feb. 14, 2018, according to the Sun Sentinel.

The bill would impose the same background check process as required for firearms, requiring a check for nearly all ammunition purchases, except for those at hunting camps or shooting ranges if the ammo will be used at the location.

“Even though ammunition is every bit as necessary for the operation of a firearm as the firearm itself, federal law does not require a background check to prevent prohibited purchasers from purchasing ammunition. Jaime’s Law will close this ammo loophole,” Wasserman Schultz said.

“We will relentlessly push to make sure Jaime’s Law becomes the law of the land,” Wasserman Schultz added, while speaking on the bill with Fred Guttenberg, Jaime’s father.

Guttenberg said, “We have a gun violence death rate in this country right now of approximately 40,000 per year. It is not normal. In the time that we do this press conference, somebody will learn they are a victim of gun violence, somebody will be buried who is a victim of gun violence and somebody will be planning the funeral for a victim of gun violence. I am not okay with that,” The Miami Herald reported.

Wasserman Schultz is co-sponsoring Jaime’s Law along with 54 members of the House. U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, Democrats from Connecticut, home to the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, were present at the bill’s announcement.

Jaime’s Law didn’t pass in the House last year after Wasserman Schultz tried to push it through, but Guttenberg said that this year he remains hopeful but not confident that it will pass.

He said, “Pass this legislation or we’ll flip the Senate on this issue.”

“Everyone always said to me on the other side of this, ‘You can’t do anything about gun safety because there’s already too many guns out there and the bad guys, they’re just going to continue to use their guns.’ You know what they don’t work without? Ammunition. But there is no requirement for a background check,” Guttenberg said.

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart said about the bill, “I don’t know what the implications are, I have to look at it. Debbie and I have a million disagreements, but I respect her as a legislator, so obviously I’ll look at it.”