Expanded background checks may well be among Vice President Biden's recommended gun policy reforms in response to the Newtown school shootings. They'd be aimed at closing the 'gun show loophole.' Here's what that would mean.
Vice President Joe Biden, after a week of meetings with almost every imaginable stakeholder in the Great American Gun Debate, is no doubt crafting the list of gun policy recommendations he is expected to deliver to President Obama on Tuesday. Among them, by most accounts, will be a proposal for “universal background checks” on prospective gun buyers.
The vice president himself was almost effusive regarding that notion, saying early Thursday that “there is a surprising, so far, recurrence of suggestions that we have universal background checks.”
But wait, you say, aren’t gun buyers already required to undergo criminal background checks? And what, skeptics ask, do such checks have to do with preventing massacres like the one last month at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in which the shooter himself never even bought a gun?
Here’s a background-check primer to help you understand the current law of the land, how it might change, and what a reform would – and wouldn’t – accomplish.
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