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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons (both D-Del.) joined Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and 34 Democrats in a letter to Senator Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.), chairman of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, calling on him to hold hearings on universal background checks legislation, which is supported by 97 percent of Americans. Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the historic Bipartisan Background Checks Act. Senators Carper and Coons recently cosponsored the Senate counterpart bill, the Background Check Expansion Act, which is currently pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee. The legislation expands federal background checks to all gun sales. Under current federal law, unlicensed or private sellers are not required to conduct a background check prior to transferring a firearm. Research indicates that as many as a quarter of all gun sales in the United States may occur without a background check.

“We know that universal background checks save lives, and we know that 97% of Americans support them. We noted with interest your statement in the press that you intended to have the Committee work on ‘red flag’ legislation and potentially also background checks, both actions we would strongly support,” the senators wrote. “We respectfully request that you hold a hearing on this critical legislation as soon as possible.”

Joining Senators Carper, Coons and Murphy in signing the letter are U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Maggie Hasan (D-N.H.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.).

The text of the letter can be found here and below:

 

March 6, 2019

 

Honorable Lindsey Graham

Chairman

U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee

224 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20510

 

Dear Chairman Graham: 

Last week, in a huge bipartisan vote, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, by a vote of 240-190. 

A similar bill, S. 42, the Background Check Expansion Act, is currently pending in the Judiciary Committee. Statistics demonstrate that universal background checks save lives, and polls show that 97% of Americans support the implementation of these checks. We noted with interest your statements that you intended to have the Committee work on ‘red flag’ legislation and potentially also background checks, both actions we strongly support. 

As cosponsors of S. 42, we respectfully request that you hold a hearing on this critical legislation as soon as possible.

Thank you for your consideration. 

Sincerely,