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Friday, March 8, 2013

Gun Control Proposals in the 113th Congress: Universal Background Checks, Gun Trafficking, and Military Style Firearms

William J. Krouse
Specialist in Domestic Security and Crime Policy

Congress has debated the efficacy and constitutionality of federal regulation of firearms and ammunition, with strong advocates arguing for and against greater gun control. The mass shooting in Newtown, CT, along with other mass shootings in Aurora, CO, and Tucson, AZ, has restarted the national gun control debate. Members of the 113th Congress could consider a range of legislative proposals, including several that President Barack Obama has announced his support for as part of his national gun violence reduction plan. The most salient of the President’s legislative proposals would (1) require background checks for intrastate firearms transfers between unlicensed persons at gun shows and nearly any other venue, otherwise known as the “universal background checks” proposal; (2) increase penalties for gun trafficking; and (3) reinstate and strengthen an expired federal ban on detachable ammunition magazines of over 10- round capacity and certain “military style” firearms commonly described as “semiautomatic assault weapons,” which are designed to accept such magazines. This report examines these proposals and provides an overview of federal firearms law.

Date of Report: March 1, 2013
Number of Pages: 20
Order Number: R42987
Price: $29.95

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