Dear Friends,

This is a huge moment. The Senate has announced that it will hold a hearing on the Fix Gun Checks Act of 2011 on Tuesday.

For the first time since the tragic shooting in Tucson, our leaders will discuss real solutions to the deadly flaws in our background check system — and only because of relentless efforts of supporters like you.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is headed to Washington to testify on the urgent need to Fix Gun Checks, and he will hand deliver every petition we gather before the hearing.

To make the biggest impact possible at the hearing, the Fix Gun Checks campaign is coming to Washington, D.C. — joined by survivors of gun violence, their families, mayors and law enforcement officials.

More than 350,000 Americans have already added their names to the petition to Fix Gun Checks. Add your name today to make sure your voice is heard by Congress:




Together, we can send leaders in Washington an unforgettable message that we’re fed up with a system that allows 34 Americans to be murdered with guns every day.

Mayors Against Illegal Guns

The National Drive To Fix Gun Checks Heads To Washington

The Fix Gun Checks billboard truck launched a nationwide tour to raise awareness of the 34 people murdered with guns every day in America.

21 states. 56 public events. And now more than 350,000 Americans who’ve signed the petition urging Congress to Fix Gun Checks.

Be the first to get updates from The National Drive to Fix Gun Checks on Facebook and Twitter.

Dear Friends,

Four years ago this week, my younger sister Reema was murdered during her freshman year at Virginia Tech.

Reema was a star student with a 4.0 GPA. She loved being with friends and family and spent her free time with different groups on campus including the Contemporary Dance Ensemble.

Four years have passed since she was murdered, and sadly, the laws that allowed it to happen haven’t changed much.

The fact remains that Reema’s killer never should have been able to buy a gun. The federal background check system should have prevented him from getting his hands on one, but his mental health records hadn’t been entered into the database. So, like many other dangerous people, my sister’s killer was able to slip through a flaw in our gun laws, pass two background checks, and buy two guns which he later used to kill my sister and 31 other innocent students and faculty members.

The saddest part is that the solution to this problem isn’t complicated. There’s already common-sense legislation in the U.S. Senate to Fix Gun Checks by closing loopholes in the system and requiring background checks for all gun purchases.

I’ve been driving across the country since February to raise awareness of this legislation and the 34 people — the equivalent of the Virginia Tech Massacre — who are murdered with guns every day in America.

Our National Drive to Fix Gun Checks has been to dozens of states, and it’s deeply moving to see how many people have come out to participate in our events. Not just gun violence survivors and family members, but also elected officials and ordinary people who support our effort. Together, we’re calling on our leaders in Washington to fix our flawed national background check system.

I recently talked to survivors of the violent tragedy in Tucson, Arizona, and their pain is so similar to what my family has been dealing with for the past four years.

It’s clear to me that the way I can send a real message to our leaders is to continue growing support to Fix Gun Checks. Every person who signs our petition and every supporter who shows up at an event brings us closer to closing the loopholes that let dangerous people get guns.

You can strengthen our movement by taking a minute to watch this brief video about the National Drive to Fix Gun Checks and sharing it with your friends and family.

Thank you for your support,

P.S. – You can get updates on the National Drive to Fix Gun Checks by following us on Facebook.


Message from Mayors Against Illegal Guns:

Michael Bloomberg, New York City Mayor: “Call on Congress to pass the Fix Gun Checks Act.”


Dear Friend,

Yesterday on Capitol Hill, I joined members of Congress to announce the introduction of the Fix Gun Checks Act of 2011 in the House of Representatives. This marks another milestone in our mission to fix the national gun background check system.

I want to take this moment to thank you for your support – and to ask for your help in the work to come.

The Fix Gun Checks campaign has reached a critical stage. As we work to get this legislation passed and signed into law by President Obama, our representatives in Washington need to hear that communities across the country demand swift action to stop dangerous people like the Tucson shooter from getting their hands on guns.

Today, 34 Americans will be murdered by a killer with a gun. Tomorrow, it will be another 34. That is why we must call on Congress to pass the Fix Gun Checks Act.

Call your Representative today and speak out for the Fix Gun Checks Act.

Tell Your Representative to Fix Gun Checks Now

The bill we announced yesterday would take two critical steps to fix our background check system:

  • Get all the names of dangerous people who should be prohibited from buying guns into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
  • Require a background check for every gun sale in America.

Earlier this week, President Obama signaled his support for fixing background checks, adding to our campaign’s growing momentum.

But now that legislation has been introduced, we need to work harder than ever to ensure that Washington hears our clear message: we will not stand idly by while 34 Americans are shot and killed each day.

Right now, we have a moment of opportunity to make real change. I hope you’ll join me in asking Congress to do its part to keep our communities safe.

Thanks for standing with us.

Michael Bloomberg
Mayor, New York City

Message from Mayors Against Illegal Guns:

Please join us in telling the Obama administration to get serious about keeping U.S. guns out of the hands of the Mexican drug cartels. Send your message now.


Dear Friend,

Monday is the last day to weigh in on whether the Obama administration should take action to help end rampant gun smuggling across the U.S. border.

The administration is taking public comments before making a final decision on a new initiative to track bulk sales of semi-automatic assault rifles — and your voice can make a big difference.

For Mexican drug cartels, AK-47s and other semi-automatic assault rifles are the weapons of choice and we’re the go-to sellers.

In a drug war that’s claimed the lives of 30,000 people in just four years, 90 percent of guns recovered and traced in Mexico have come from U.S. gun dealers– and the violence is spilling back over the border into the United States.

There’s a simple way to fight back — without any new legislation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) can require licensed dealers to report whenever a person buys multiple assault rifles along the U.S.-Mexico border. ATF has asked the White House to exercise this authority to help ATF stop gun smugglers in their tracks.

But with opposition coming from the usual suspects and little public attention, the Obama administration has delayed putting this rule in place. With your help, we can show the public support behind this measure and put an end to the lawlessness that’s arming the drug cartels.

Send a message to the White House and tell them to stop the flow of assault rifles to Mexico.

Stop Mexican Drug Cartels from Getting U.S. Guns: Send your message now.

Just two weeks ago, the ATF charged 34 people with trafficking over 700 guns to Mexico. One individual from Phoenix, Arizona bought more than 100 AK-47s in a single month.

With this new measure in place the ATF will have more tools to do what’s needed to catch these smugglers more often and more quickly. Dealers already report these types of sales of handguns – and it’s about time we did the same for deadly assault rifles.

Since last year, Mayors Against Illegal Guns has called for this reporting rule and recently, an investigation by the Justice Department recommended it’s adoption. But the public comment period is closing on Monday, February 14. And that means supporters like you have to make your voice heard.

Please join us in telling the Obama administration to get serious about keeping U.S. guns out of the hands of the Mexican drug cartels:

We have a crucial opportunity to crack down on the flow of deadly weapons across our border.

Thanks for getting involved,
Mayors Against Illegal Guns

Send a powerful message to President Obama and Congress to Fix Gun Checks – sign the petition.

Message from Mayors Against Illegal Guns:

Dear Friend,

The push to fix gun checks is quickly gaining momentum. More than 200,000 Americans have joined our call to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people.

And now Newsweek reports that “in the next two weeks, the White House will unveil a new gun-control effort in which it will urge Congress to strengthen current laws.”1

President Obama has a crucial opportunity to bring the nation together and call for common sense steps to prevent senseless shootings.

We need supporters like you to make sure the President steps up to take on this challenge. Please sign the petition and let President Obama know that it’s time to fix America’s broken background check system and prevent more senseless shootings.

Send a powerful message to President Obama and Congress to Fix Gun Checks.

Mayors Against Illegal Guns deals with the impact of gun crime every day. So as the Obama Administration begins crafting a proposal to close the gaps in our gun laws, we have two recommendations to stop dangerous people from getting their hands on guns:

  1. Get all the names of people who should be prohibited from buying guns into the background check system.
  2. Require a background check for every gun sale in America.

It’s hard to believe, but even in the wake of a mass gun murder that shocked our nation, there are those who still oppose fixing this broken system. That’s why we’re counting on supporters like you to raise your voice and strengthen our call for action.

Add your name to Fix Gun Checks today:

Lives depend on whether people like you will speak out at this time of crisis. Make sure you join our call today and keep up the pressure on our leaders in Washington.

Thanks for getting involved,

Mayors Against Illegal Guns

1Newsweek Article by Daniel Stone, January 27, 2010.

Message from Yoko Ono Lennon:


Dear Friends

Many lives will be saved by Mayor Bloomberg’s sensible proposal to improve background checks for the purchase of guns.

I fully support Mayor Bloomberg’s wise proposal. Thank you, Mayor.

We New Yorkers are all very proud of you for your wisdom and courage.

With deep respect and love,

Yoko Ono Lennon
24 January 2011


The recent shootings in Tucson have once again exposed flaws in America’s efforts to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, drug abusers, the mentally ill and other dangerous people.

I am joining more than 550 U.S. Mayors in calling on Congress to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people by taking two critical steps:

  1. Get all the names of people who should be prohibited from buying guns into the background check system.
  2. Require a background check for every gun sale in America.

Every day in America, 34 people are murdered with guns.

We can’t accept the flaws in our background check system that lead to these tragic deaths.


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Message from Mayor Michael Bloomberg:


Dear Friend,

In 1968, two extraordinary leaders were gunned down by assassins: Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy.

Today, I was joined by Martin Luther King III and survivors, family members and friends of the victims of the shootings in Tucson, Virginia Tech, and Columbine, along with people affected by the nearly three dozen gun murders that happen every day but never make the headlines.

We came together to ask Washington to fulfill a promise made 43 years ago after the King and Kennedy assassinations. Back then, Congress passed legislation to prohibit felons, drug users, and the mentally ill from possessing guns.

Years later, Congress added a background check system to strengthen our existing gun laws. But the flaws in this system have been exposed again and again, first in the massacres at Columbine and Virginia Tech, and now in Arizona.

I’m writing to ask you to join me in calling on Congress and President Obama to fix our broken background check system before another tragic shooting claims more innocent lives.

Please sign the petition and tell Congress it’s time to stop dangerous people from buying guns.

Every day in America, 34 people are murdered with firearms. They’re often humble and quiet people — the kind of Americans that King and Kennedy tirelessly championed.

In fact, since 1968 more than 400,000 Americans have been killed with guns. But Congress can fix gun background checks and stem the tide of violence by taking two critical steps:

  • Get all the names of people who should be prohibited from buying guns into the background check system.
  • Require a background check for every gun sale in America.

These common sense reforms will save the lives of thousands of Americans each year. That’s why 550 Mayors from across the country are calling on Congress to take action right now.

Tell Congress that we need a genuine, credible background check system for all gun sales:

We can’t afford more gun murders because of the flaws in our background check system.

Thanks for helping to stop these senseless shootings,
Mayor Michael Bloomberg


Mayors Launch National Campaign to Collect Missing Records and Close Loopholes to Prevent the Next Mass Shooting and the Killing of 34 People Per Day With Guns

Campaign Launched Online at

The bi-partisan coalition of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, led by New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, was joined by Martin Luther King III and dozens of survivors and family members of gun violence victims to launch a national campaign urging Congress to take two simple but critical steps to fix our nation’s broken background check system: 1) fulfill the letter of the historic 1968 gun law and ensure that all names of people prohibited from buying a gun are in the background check system; and 2) fulfill the intent of the historic 1968 gun law by subjecting every gun sale to a background check.

“The time has clearly come to finally fulfill the intent of the common sense gun law passed after the 1968 assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bobby Kennedy, by creating a loophole-free background check system for the sale of firearms,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Every day, 34 Americans are murdered with guns – and most of them are purchased or possessed illegally.”

“There are those who fail to truly read the 2nd amendment,” said Mayor Menino. “They ignore the need for a common sense approach to guns in our communities. The best way to respond to the heinous acts of violence we have seen in our nation’s history is to prevent them from ever happening again. Lax screening in response to these tragic shootings is no virtue.”

“For decades we have tolerated senseless gun violence, which has struck down too many of our fellow citizens, particularly our young people,” said Martin Luther King III, President and CEO of the King Center. “If we want to create a nonviolent society, we must enforce our public safety laws to keep the angry and dangerous few from destroying the peace and harmony of the many. I wholeheartedly join Mayor Bloomberg in calling on the President and Congress to finally deliver on the long unfilled promise to make sure that every gun buyer passes a background check. It is unconscionable to do anything less.”

“President Kennedy and Senator Robert Kennedy, my uncle and my father, dedicated their lives to serving their country,” said Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, former Lieutenant Governor of Maryland and eldest child of Robert F. Kennedy. “But because of assassins armed with guns, they both made the ultimate sacrifice, and their lives of service were cut short. The 34 Americans whose lives are cut short by a gun each day may not be presidents or senators, but each life is a future cut short, a life of accomplishments left undone, and a family torn apart. We owe a duty to each victim to make their life, and their sacrifice, a part of the national movement to fix our gun background check system so it is thorough, complete and comprehensive.”

“We’ve learned from recent shootings that it is vital that the federal gun background check system have accurate and complete information on people prohibited from possessing firearms,” said former Attorney General Michael Mukasey. “President Bush supported and Congress passed a piece of the necessary reform in 2007 after Virginia Tech, and it has had a significant impact by more than tripling the number of mental health records in the system. But it is clear, particularly after Tucson, that it was just one step on a longer path toward the effective and comprehensive background check system we need. I applaud America’s mayors for their efforts to build a better system.”

“As Governor of Vermont, I received an A-rating from the NRA and I strongly support the right of law-abiding Americans to own a gun,” said Howard Dean. “I also believe with equal strength that felons, drug abusers, and the mentally ill have no right to guns. In fact, that’s been the law in our country for 43 years since the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy. What we need now is a background check system that works to enforce the law – one that ensures that every record is in the system that belongs there and that every gun buyer goes through a background check. I stand with America’s mayors in their effort to make the system work.”

Historic 1968 Legislation

In 1968, after the assassinations of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Senator Robert F. Kennedy, Congress, at the urging of President Johnson, passed a law establishing the common-sense concept that certain categories of people including convicted felons, the mentally ill, and known drug abusers should not be allowed to possess or purchase guns.

Because no system was created for actually translating its intent into reality, the effectiveness of the 1968 act was undermined. It was not until 1993, when President Clinton signed the Brady Bill, that a national instant background check system, designed to prevent mentally unbalanced people from obtaining firearms, was created to help enforce the 1968 law.

It has become clear that the Brady Bill was not enough to fulfill the intent of the historic 1968 gun law. The Columbine High School shooters used guns that were purchased without a background check at a gun show. The Virginia Tech shooter passed a background check when he should have failed it due to his record of mental health problems.

In April 2007, after the Virginia Tech massacre which claimed the lives of 32 people, Congress passed the NICS Improvement Act to submit all the required records into the background check system. Congress has failed to provide enough funding to support these efforts. In FY 2010, Congress allocated $20 million to support state initiatives to submit records to the background check system, only 5% of the $375 million authorized by the NICS Improvement Act.

Millions of records of individuals who are prohibited by law from buying guns are still missing from the database. Ten states have not submitted any mental health records to NICS and 18 states have submitted fewer than 100 mental health records.

Two Simple Ideas

Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a bipartisan coalition of more than 550 mayors, proposes that the U.S. fulfill the intent of the 1968 law by fixing the broken background check system.

First, the system should contain all the records of felony convictions, domestic violence incidents, drug history, and determinations of mental illness that would prevent those categories of troubled people from buying guns. The new Congress should set a goal of getting this job finished within three years.

Second, Congress should subject every gun sale to a background check by closing the loopholes that permit guns to be sold without them. Licensed gun dealers are covered by the Brady Bill. But “occasional sellers,” for example those that sell firearms at gun shows, through classified ads or even on the internet, do not have to conduct background checks. The only way to prevent guns from falling into the hands of violent criminals, the mentally unstable, and other already prohibited dangerous persons is through a comprehensive national background check system with no loopholes. Reasonable exceptions would include, for example, transfers of guns within families, or by wills, or to people who have a valid state-issued gun permit issued within the last five years that meets or exceeds the Federal background check standard.

The Mayor and Martin Luther King III were joined by a number of survivors and family members of gun violence victims to call attention to the fact that 34 people in the United States lose their lives to gun violence every day. Among them were: Tom Mauser, father of Daniel Mauser, a victim of the 1999 Columbine High School tragedy; Omar and Randa Samaha, whose sister was shot and killed at Virginia Tech in 2007; Lynnette Alameddine, whose son was killed at Virginia Tech in 2007; Lori Haas, whose daughter survived 2 gun shots in the back of the head at Virginia Tech; and Jeannette Richardson, whose son was killed in the front yard of her home in Virginia in 2003; Toby Hoover, whose husband, Dale Stone, was shot in 1973 in Ohio; Sally Sheasby, whose son was shot and killed in Ohio in 2005; Deborah Sohovich, whose sone was shot and killed in Columbus, Ohio; Rebecca Pryor, whose friend was shot and killed in Pennsylvania; Rev. Donald and Kim Odom, parents of Steven Odom who was shot and killed in 2007; and Bryan Miller, brother of Mike Miller, an FBI agent who was shot and killed in 1994 and director of public advocacy for Heeding God’s Call.

New York City area family members and survivors include: Steven and Patty McDonald, Steven is a NYPD police officer who was shot in the line of duty, his wife, Patty McDonald, is the Mayor of Malverne, NY; Vada Vasquez, a student at Bronx Latin High School who was shot as she walked home from school in 2009; Tatyana Timoshenko, mother of Russel Timoshenko, an NYPD officer who was shot and killed in 2007; Kenny McLaughlin, a teacher at Grand Street Campus High School in Brooklyn, who was shot during a 1996 mugging in Brooklyn; Arlene and Jack Locicero, parents of Amy Locicero Federici, who was shot and killed in the 1993 Long Island Rail Road massacre; Gloria Cruz, whose 10-year niece was shot and killed, and established the Bronx chapter of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence; Devorah Halberstam, whose son was murdered in 1994 in a terrorist attack on the Brooklyn Bridge; and Shaina Harrison, whose cousin was shot and killed in 2009 and is working with New Yorkers Against Gun Violence;

Also, joining the group was Rev. James Coen, Pastor of the Oak Ridge Presbyterian Church, where Phyllis Schneck, one of the Tucson victims was an active member.

Mayors Against Illegal Guns today launched a new online advocacy campaign, to call attention to the glaring problems in our nation’s gun background check system, and allow citizens to join a movement to fix it.

Poll Finds Strong Support for Common Sense Improvements

The week after the Tucson shooting Mayors Against Illegal Guns released the results of a poll conducted jointly by Momentum Analysis, a polling firm with Democratic clients, and American Viewpoint, a polling firm with Republican clients. The poll reveals that Americans and gun owners strongly support a sensible approach to gun laws that protects the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans while also keeping criminals and other dangerous people from accessing firearms

The poll of over 1,000 registered voters was conducted the week after the Tucson shooting. According to the poll, 90 percent of Americans and 90 percent of gun owners support fixing gaps in government databases that are meant to prevent the mentally ill, drug abusers and others from buying guns. Also according to the poll, 86 percent of Americans and 81 percent of gun owners support requiring all gun buyers to pass a background check, no matter where they buy the gun and no matter who they buy it from.

About Mayors Against Illegal Guns

Since its inception in April 2006, Mayors Against Illegal Guns has grown from 15 mayors to over 550. Mayors Against Illegal Guns has united the nation’s mayors around these common goals: protecting their communities by holding gun offenders and irresponsible gun dealers accountable, demanding access to trace data that is critical to law enforcement efforts to combat illegal gun trafficking, and working with legislators to fix gaps, weaknesses and loopholes in the law that make it far too easy for criminals and other prohibited purchasers to get guns.


Bloomberg’s Press Office (212) 788-2958
Mayor Menino’s Press Office (617) 635-4461

Mayors announce plans to fix gun checks

24 January 2010


In 1968, assassins gunned down Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy. In the wake of that double tragedy, Congress passed the first federal laws to limit access to guns, by prohibiting dangerous people, like felons, drug abusers, and the mentally ill from purchasing or possessing guns. In 1993, Congress passed the Brady Bill, named for President Reagan’s press secretary James Brady, who had been critically wounded in the assassination attempt on President Reagan. The Brady Bill created a system of background checks that helped to make real the purpose of the 1968 law.

Unfortunately, incomplete records and loopholes in the law have stopped background checks from doing their job:

  • The Columbine killers got around the system by using guns bought at a gun show from an unlicensed seller: no paperwork, no questions asked.
  • At Virginia Tech, a killer got a gun he should have been prohibited from buying because his records were never reported to the FBI’s gun background check system.
  • The shooter in Tucson also got a gun he should have been prohibited from buying because his records weren’t in the database – and then got a second gun because lax federal regulations frustrated the intent of the law.

Most murders that take place with illegal guns do not make the headlines. Every day, 34 Americans are murdered with guns, and most of them are possessed illegally. Since, 1968, more than 400,000 Americans have been killed with guns.

The system needs to be fixed. Creating a comprehensive system to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people requires two steps:

Step one: Get all the names of people who should be prohibited from buying a gun into the background check system.

Step two: Close the loopholes in the background check system by requiring a background check for every gun sale.



Context: NICS, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which is used to conduct background checks on prospective gun buyers, is missing millions of records. Federal law requires records concerning the mentally ill, drug abusers, perpetrators of domestic violence, and other people who are forbidden, under current state and federal law, from having guns to be included in the system. The problem of missing records became obvious in 2007, when Seung Hui Cho, who was prohibited from owning a gun due to mental illness, was not listed in the background check system and was therefore able to buy two guns to commit the Virginia Tech massacre. Congress responded by passing the NICS Improvement Amendments Act, which encourages states to share records. As a result, the number of records in NICS’ Mental Defective File increased significantly under the new law, from nearly 300,000 in 2006 to more than 1.1 million today. The murders in Tucson, however, show that problems persist. The shooter, Jared Loughner, was able to buy a shotgun less than a year after admitting to the U.S. Army that he was a regular drug abuser because the armed forces had not forwarded his name to NICS. Today, there are just over 2,000 people listed as drug abusers in NICS.

Revised legislation would strengthen the NICS system in six ways:

Funding: Fully fund the NICS Improvement Amendments Act to help agencies and states cover the costs of gathering records and making them electronically available to the FBI.

The legislation, enacted in 2008, is failing to achieve its goals in part because Congress has supplied only 5.3% of the authorized amount from Fiscal Year 2009 through Fiscal Year 2011. That money was supposed to be available to states to help cover the cost of gathering and supplying records.

The revised law would guarantee full funding to states and federal agencies to comply with reporting requirements to the NICS database.

Penalties: Establish tougher penalties for states that do not comply with the law by cutting more of their Justice Department funding.

The NICS Improvement Amendments Act establishes only minor penalties for non-compliance. It sets out a timeline, and in each year starting in Fiscal Year 2011 states are required to turn over a target percentage of the records they have naming people who should not be allowed to buy guns under federal law. If they do not comply, they could face cuts to a portion of their federal justice assistance funding. The potential cuts are small, however: only 3% to 5% of a single grant (Byrne Justice Assistance Grants or JAG), which provides about $300 million a year nationwide to states. Furthermore, DOJ has almost total discretion to reduce or waive them.

Revised legislation would put in place tighter deadlines and stricter penalties for states to comply with the law and submit records. States would be required to turn over 75% of their records within two years of enactment and 90% of their records within six years or they would face cuts not only to JAG grants, but also to other Justice Department programs that normally guarantee a share to each state, such as the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP, $249 million a year); Title II grants for juvenile justice ($60 million a year); Juvenile Accountability Block Grants (JABG, $46 million a year), and Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws Block Grants ($20 million a year). Furthermore, these penalties would rise to 50% of each grant.

Why it matters: Across the country, the total potential penalties that face all states combined under the current NICS Improvement Amendments Act are only about $15 million.

Federal reporting: Require every federal agency to certify to the Attorney General twice a year that all relevant records have been submitted.

Under the NICS Improvement Amendments Act, each Federal agency must provide to DOJ, at least quarterly, the name of any person it is aware is federally prohibited from buying guns. Current law does not, however, hold any person accountable for guaranteeing an agency’s compliance. And federal agencies are not following the law. For example, only three agencies have sent any records on drug abusers to the FBI.

Revised legislation would hold agencies accountable for quarterly reporting by requiring the head of each agency to report to the Attorney General, twice a year, about the number of records it has shared in each category of prohibited person. Each report would include the agency head’s written certification that all relevant records have been transmitted.

Why it matters: Even though Jared Loughner admitted to the U.S. Army that he regularly abused drugs, the Army did not submit his name to the FBI for inclusion in NICS as required by law, and less than a year later, Loughner was able to pass a background check and buy a shotgun. Later, Loughner bought the Glock he used to kill six people and injure 13 others.

Mental health definitions: Clarify the definition of mentally ill people who are prohibited from having guns to ensure that dangerous people are included in NICS.

Two critical changes are needed to ensure that people who are mentally ill are listed in NICS. First, the system should include people who have been suspended or expelled from a federally funded college or university because of mental illness. Second, it should include people who are compelled by a court to take medication for mental illness or to get other mental health care, even if they are not “committed” to in-patient treatment, as the ATF currently interprets the law.

Why it matters: Jared Loughner was deemed too mentally ill to come to school without a note from a mental health professional, but safe enough to buy a gun.

Drug abuse definitions: Clarify the definition of drug abusers who are prohibited from having guns to ensure that dangerous people are included in NICS.

Since 1968, federal law has prohibited anyone “who is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance” from possessing any gun. The revised law would do two things to enforce that prohibition. First, it would reverse the overly narrow interpretation that ATF and the FBI now give to the law. They interpret it to apply only to people who have had a drug-related arrest, a drug-related conviction, a failed drug test, or an admission of drug use within the previous year. The revised law would change that one-year prohibition to a five-year prohibition. Second, the revised law would require federal courts to report to NICS anyone sentenced to mandatory drug treatment even if the requirement was part of a diversionary program that does not result in conviction.

Due process: Safeguard the rights of people who are listed in NICS.

The revised legislation would continue to ensure that individuals who were wrongly included in NICS as a prohibited purchaser are able to seek relief and be removed from the list of prohibited gun purchasers. For example, those who were arrested on a drug charge within the past five years but can show they have recovered from their addiction would be able to regain their gun rights. So would people who had been mentally ill but have recovered and no longer present a risk.



Context: Even if the NICS database included the name of every person prohibited from having a gun under federal or state law, it would still be easy and legal to obtain guns with no background check, no questions asked. That is because the current law only applies to gun sales by federally licensed dealers.

Under current federal law, only persons “engaged in the business” of selling guns are required to get a license, keep paperwork, and conduct background checks. People who maintain they are collectors or only occasionally sell guns are not required to do these checks. Such sellers often congregate at gun shows, which is why many refer to this exception as the “gun show loophole.” But felons can exploit the loophole whether they are at a gun show or not – buying guns with no background checks at unlicensed sellers’ homes, via classified ads, or even in some cases on the internet. Experts estimate that over six million guns a year – perhaps 40% of all sales – are made by unlicensed private dealers not subject to the law.

Background checks:

The new law would require that non-licensed people selling guns ensure that the buyer has undergone a background check in NICS. Sellers would be able to do so in three ways. First, the seller can go to a licensed dealer to have a background check run on the buyer. The revised law would cap the fee for conducting these background checks on behalf of private sellers at $15. Second, the seller can inspect a permit issued to the buyer by a state or local government that confirms they have passed a background check within the previous five years. Third, the seller can go to or contact a law enforcement official for the background check at the time of purchase.

Why it matters: ATF has reported that over 27% of the guns involved in its criminal trafficking investigations were tied to trafficking by unlicensed sellers, and over 30% were tied to trafficking at gun shows.

Reasonable exceptions:

Similar to the Brady Law, revised legislation would exempt certain gun permittees and some types of transactions from background checks:

    • Sales to a federally licensed dealer, manufacturer or wholesaler (including sales of curio or relic firearms to a licensed collector);
    • Sales to law enforcement;
    • Transfers of guns to an immediate family member, grandchild, or grandparent;
    • Inheritance of guns; and
    • Sharing guns while hunting, at a shooting range, or at a competition.


About is a project of Mayors Against Illegal Guns — a bi-partisan coalition of 550 American mayors, co-founded by Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York and Mayor Tom Menino of Boston.

The coalition has come together around a simple, straightforward idea: respect the rights of responsible law-abiding Americans and keep guns out of the hands of criminals, drug abusers, the mentally ill, and other dangerous people.

For more information on Mayors Against Illegal Guns, please visit our website at

Breaking News from Mayors Against Illegal Guns: Officer Down

Message from Mayors Against Illegal Guns:

Dear Friend,

Just before he was murdered, police officer Timothy Brenton was doing what he did best: teaching a rookie how to serve and protect the Seattle community.

The two officers were sitting in their patrol car and discussing a routine traffic stop when, according to the police, Christopher Monfort pulled alongside and opened fire.  Rookie officer Britt Sweeney was wounded, and Timothy Brenton died instantly.

Monfort bought the rifle that killed Officer Brenton from an illegal gun trafficker who repeatedly sold guns to violent criminals at gun shows – no background check, no questions asked.1

All across the country, states with lax gun laws are seeing their police officers pay the price.  It’s time to protect the men and women who put their lives on the line for us.

Visit to find out how tough your state is on illegal guns and spread the word about the urgent need to close these deadly loopholes.

How tough is your state on illegal guns?  Find out now at

As part of their groundbreaking investigation The Hidden Life of Guns, the Washington Post has tried to track down the firearms used in the 511 fatal shootings of U.S. law enforcement officials since January of 2000.2

Only two-thirds of the guns could be traced, and the findings on them were bleak.

More than 200 of the shooters owned their guns illegally. In fact, 45 were on probation or parole and at least four had been previously convicted of murder or manslaughter.  And 16 times, the killer used a “straw purchaser” to get their gun for them — yet fewer than half of these straw buyers have ever faced prosecution.

The facts are clear: too many police officers die each year because state laws aren’t tough enough to keep criminals from getting guns.  These brave men and women deserve better.

See if your state has laws in place to protect your community from illegal guns:

There’s no excuse for more police officers to lose their lives to illegal guns.  Let’s make sure our state lawmakers get serious about gun crime.

Thanks for keeping our communities safe,

Mayors Against Illegal Guns

1 Feds arrest gun dealer…, Seattle Times, November 19, 2010. Article available here.

2 Guns used to kill police officers, The Washington Post, November 21, 2010.  Article available here.

Message from Mayors Against Illegal Guns:

Dear Friends,

Thousands of supporters joined over 500 Mayors from across the country in calling on President Obama to nominate a top cop on illegal guns.

And yesterday, President Obama answered our call, nominating a Director to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, a position that has been vacant for four years.

Thank you for taking action and urging President Obama to take this critical step.

Since the Senate still has to confirm Mr. Traver, our fight isn’t over yet. But it’s clear that when supporters like you come together and speak out against illegal guns, our leaders in Washington pay attention.

Let’s keep up this powerful momentum and keep our communities safe.

Thanks for raising your voice,

Mayors Against Illegal Guns

Donate Now

Call brave leaders in Congress who fought to get more resources to combat illegal gun trafficking & say THANKYOU!

Message from Mayors Against Illegal Guns:

In the last 3 years, 22,000 people have been murdered in the Mexican cartel wars — and violence is spilling into the U.S.  Just last weekend, a violent gun battle broke out just south of the border in Ciudad Juarez — so close to the U.S. that a stray bullet actually struck a building at the University of Texas in El Paso.

The police don’t yet know the source of the guns. But, what we do know is that 90% of guns recovered and traced from Mexican crimes come from gun dealers in America.

There is some good news however. Recently, Congress authorized $37.5 million in additional funding to help curb gun trafficking across the Mexican border.

It’s a big step that was recommended by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, but it couldn’t have happened without the trailblazing work of four Members of Congress.

Call to thank these brave leaders in Congress who fought to get more resources to combat illegal gun trafficking:

Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) – (202) 224-5521
Rep. David Price (D-NC) – (202) 225-1784
Rep. Ciro Rodriguez (D-TX) – (202) 225-4511
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) – (202) 224-6542

Tell them “thank you” for supporting increased funding to help stop gun trafficking across the Mexican border and encourage them to consider other recommendations from Mayors Against Illegal Guns to curb illegal gun trafficking.

This important step is commendable, but we cannot stop fighting illegal gun trafficking. As long as illegal guns get into the hands of criminals, our work is not done.

That’s why we need to recognize our leaders when they stand up to do the right thing.

Call these Congressional leaders today.

Mayors Against Illegal Guns

P.S. Mayors Against Illegal Guns recommended additional funding as one of its 40 recommendations in the Blueprint for Federal Action on Illegal Guns. Read the full list of recommendations here (PDF).

Stamp Out Gun Crime - Join 100 NY Mayors to tell Albany: Help Police Catch Violent Criminals

100 mayors and 83 police departments and law enforcement organizations from all across New York are calling on the State Senate to pass new handgun microstamping legislation that would help police officers track down violent criminals.

It’s a powerful effort, but it can’t succeed without your help. That’s why we’re launching to rally support and encourage the NY State Senate to take action.

Sign the petition today and tell your State Senator to vote yes on microstamping.

Microstamping technology leaves a unique code on bullets when they’re fired from a handgun. Those codes help police identify the gun that was used during a crime.

Microstamping is 25 times more effective than our outdated ballistics identification system.  That means more guns identified and more criminals brought to justice.

This crucial new technology respects the 2nd Amendment rights of gun owners. Its only purpose is to find the guns used in violent crimes, and to get those criminals off the street.

Add your name to the petition and make sure your State Senator knows that microstamping technology is a crucial step in the fight against gun violence:

Together, we can protect New York families from gun crimes by making sure Albany passes this important new law.

Thanks for standing up to gun crime,
NY Mayors Against Illegal Guns



Yoko Ono Lennon, May 4th, 2010

We are gathering here this evening with one concern all of us have. What can we do to stop Hiroshima and Nagasaki from being repeated again to destroy the lives on this planet? This time, it will not be two cities. It will be the world.

It seems the choices we have are either to blow up the planet with all its lives, or stay alive maimed, and slowly die from cancer or other unpronounceable ailments we don’t have the cure for yet. Of course, there is another choice. A good one, the one we are all hoping for. But it’s up to us to do something about it. There is no big powers we can count on.

The governments of the world owe their very existence to the backing of powerful corporations, so, sadly, their initial allegiance will have to be to the corporations, not to the people.

Remember Mad Cow disease? It was covered up for ten years in the United Kingdom, while people were dying from it and not knowing why. At the midst of it, a minister demonstrated on TV to show how it was safe for him and his son to eat beef. This was made as a strong gesture of assurance to the people! People were in a shock, watching that program on TV, still not wanting to believe that a minister of a powerful position may have to comply to the wishes of corporations even at the risk of endangering people’s lives – and in this case, his son’s. Yes. All of us are good at burying our heads in the sand.

I’ve read a very interesting article a few years ago by Michael Fitzgerald called Militarism:

Fitzgerald spoke of being the son of a working class Navy man, and has realized how millions of Americans depended on the permanent war economy for their livelihoods – not limited to people in the military, but people who worked as defense contractors and their employees. “A person cannot be elected to be the President of the country, unless they are supported and voted by the military and defense Industries,” he says. Therefore, “if the President does not take the nation to war, he will not be able to stay President.” The article refers to the fact that Lyndon Johnson said, privately, he feared impeachment if he pulled out of Vietnam. Well, that’s a hell of a statement. If some people immediately wished to bury their heads in the sand again, I understood why.

Most recently, last week, to be exact, the State of Arizona shocked the world by announcing a new law, which seemed predictablly, to point to a very grave future of this country, and for the people who are still holding on to the American dream. The American dream once was a dream for all world citizens. And this announcement from Arizona confirmed the worst to us. John Cory immediately hit back with a strong article called “STORY IN SIX WORDS.” . He mentioned that there was a legend that a colleague once bet Hemingway he could not write a story in ten words or less. Hemingway used six: “For sale. Baby shoes. Never used.” John Cory wrote his own six words at the end of his article: “For sale – By owner – American Dream.”

But, when it was at the darkest, something incredible happened. Our dream was not over yet! It took such a sad situation for people of America to stand up. But we did.

An ocean of people protested Arizona’s new law on May Day in every American city right after the law was announced. One light, a big one, was lit in the world of darkness. Now we know where we are going – towards the light, together. No more burying our heads in the sand!

In such a historical moment, it is very important that the tragedy of Hiroshima and Nagasaki be brought up again as a reminder of what can happen to the world if we forget, and fall back to the world of darkness.

Mayors of the World, Thank you for being here in this room, at this very historical moment in America, to encourage and inspire all of us – that we can do it! What the big power of the government can’t do, we can. We of this planet are still in our embryonic stage. But with your efforts and the strong wishes of the people of the world, I know we can and we will create a peaceful world for ourselves and for this planet.

One day, not too far in the future, we will see ourselves living peacefully and having fun together on this planet without War. Let’s look forward to that day and start working intelligently, to make it happen. Clearly, if the whole world stood up and spoke out for World Peace, we’ll get it.

Please pass my message to the people of your towns and the cities – I say to them that we can do it. We can do it together. With your help, with the help of the mayors of the world, our voice will be made still stronger. We are the Family of Peace.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Thank you again, for your wisdom and courage to speak out as the Mayors of the World. You are opening the door to many professional people who will learn from your stand.

Let’s all stay well till we achieve World Peace.


Yoko Ono Lennon
May 2010, new york city.

Mayors for Peace reception at John Catsimatidis home with Michael Douglas and Yoko Ono

by Apostolos Papapostolou, Greek Reporter

Over eighty mayors, city officials, staff and donors took part in the Mayors for Peace Reception on May 4th in New York, hosted by John and Margo Catsimatidis at their Fifth Avenue apartment. Special guests of the reception were Michael Douglas and Yoko Ono, who endorsed Mayors for Peace and its 2020 Vision Campaign.

At first, Steve Leeper, Chairperson of the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation, introduced Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba, President of Mayors for Peace, who thanked the attendees for their interest and commitment toward nuclear disarmament. It was an occasion for Mayor Akiba to reaffirm his strong ties with America and the American people, established as a high school and college student, and during his academic career. Mayor Akiba also mentioned the growing relationship with the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM), the official nonpartisan organization of US cities with populations of 30.000 or more. In his speech, he quoted Pope John Paul II, who said: “To remember the past, is to commit ourselves to the future”. He concluded his speech with an appeal to get rid of nuclear weapons by 2020.

Michael Douglas also spoke out in favor of nuclear disarmament by 2020, stressing his Belarusian origins and the fact that his ancestral home was downwind from Chernobyl. He has been personally involved in this issue for 40 years. He underlined the fact that he was born in 1944, one year before the A-bombs exploded in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and that he was told at school that if there was “a bright, white flash, to crawl under the desk”. He concluded by saying: “The issue about nuclear disarmament by 2020 is so important – we are racing against time”.

Yoko Ono showed her long-term peace activism by delivering a speech that she entitled “Power to the People”. Her concerns were expressed by the following words: “What can we do to stop Hiroshima and Nagasaki from being repeated again to destroy the lives on this planet? This time, it will not be two cities. It will be the world”. For Ms Yoko Ono, the role of civil society remains critical in addressing the issue of nuclear disarmament: “It is up to us to do something about it. There is no big powers we can count on. In such a historical moment, it is very important that the tragedy of Hiroshima and Nagasaki be brought up again as a reminder of what can happen to the world if we forget, and fall back to the world of darkness”. In her conclusion, she brought a message of hope by saying: “One day, not too far in the future, we will see ourselves living peacefully and having fun together on this planet without War. Let’s look forward to that day and start working intelligently, to make it happen. Clearly, if the whole world stood up and spoke out for World Peace, we’ll get it”.

Other guests included the famous academic activist Jonathan Schell, Chris Cox, grandson of Richard Nixon, Jaimie Colby, correspondent and anchor at Fox News Channel, and Jim Luce of the Huffington Post. The reception was also an occasion to raise funds for the 2020 Vision Campaign: around 40.000 dollars were collected from an auction and private donations.

The last intervention was made by Shigeko Sasamori, a hibakusha, one of the 25 girls known as the “Hiroshima Maidens” that were brought to New York by Norman Cousins for reconstructive surgery. Her speech as a survivor was powerful and inspiring. She recalled the moments when the A-bomb exploded and buried one quarter of her body, and brought destruction in the whole city of Hiroshima: “I saw the airplane. There was a beautiful blue sky. Then I felt a force that knocked me down. None of us could breath. All of our clothes blew off. One-fourth of my body was burned, but I felt nothing. I was in shock. Then I saw how horrible everyone was around me. Such horrible stories. It still makes me cry to talk about it. My friend was alive but half of her body was buried by a burning home. Her mother could not save her and had to say goodbye to go save her other two children”. Ms Shigeko Sasamori was able to come to American. She had been told that Americans were monsters, “but they were very kind to me. They looked different, but their hearts were the same. So many Americans apologized to me, but I said: For what? You did not do this to me! Don’t be sorry”. Hibakushas are not looking for revenge, and with their wisdom they give a testimony of what happened, to make sure that nobody ever allows to drop a bomb on humans again. The final appeal is the one that completely shows the sense of our Campaign: “The world is headed for destruction if we cannot abolish nuclear weapons. Thanks to Mayors for Peace headed by Mayor Akiba — with support from thought leaders such as John Catsimatidis, Michael Douglas, and Yoko Ono — we have a chance. Give peace a chance. Join their voices in the call for nuclear disarmament by 2020!”

Yoko Ono helps Mayors for Peace

from New York Post

Yoko Ono and Michael Douglas joined the mayors of Nagasaki and Hiroshima at the Upper East Side apartment of John and Margo Catsimatidis the other evening to help Mayors for Peace, the international group dedicated to the abolition of nuclear weapons. The reception included mayors from Britain, France, New Zealand, Israel, Croatia and Spain.

Listen to the Families

27 April 2010, NY Times Editorial

There are two tragic anniversaries this month. It is 11 years since two Colorado students gunned down 12 of their fellow classmates and one teacher at Columbine High School and three years since 32 students and faculty members were gunned down at Virginia Tech.

Those horrors haven’t slowed the gun lobby’s relentless push to weaken the nation’s already far too weak gun laws — or Congress’s eagerness to do the gun lobby’s bidding. Last week, House Democrats had to pull back legislation that would have finally given the District of Columbia a voting representative in Congress because of amendments tacked on to the bill that would have gutted local gun laws.

The only bright spot in all of this is that gun victims’ families and Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a bipartisan group co-led by Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City, are fighting back. They have begun a campaign to get Congress to close the loophole that has allowed criminals, troubled teens and the mentally ill to evade federal background checks and purchase weapons from unlicensed private dealers at weekend gun shows.

The Columbine shooters used four high-powered weapons obtained by a friend, no questions asked, from “hobbyist” gun-show dealers. These shows are a leading source of illegally trafficked guns — a large number of guns recovered in crimes come from states that do not require background checks at gun shows.

Senators Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, Jack Reed of Rhode Island and Dianne Feinstein of California, all Democrats, have introduced a bill that would close the loophole nationally. It now has 17 sponsors. Shamefully missing from the list are Senator Mark Udall of Colorado and Senators James Webb and Mark Warner of Virginia.

In a newspaper ad last week, Tom Mauser, whose son Daniel was murdered at Columbine, called on Senator Udall to sponsor the legislation. Relatives of victims and a survivor of the Virginia Tech massacre took out their own ad.

“Every day in the United States, 35 people are murdered with guns — that’s a Virginia Tech-sized massacre every single day,” they wrote in an open letter to the two senators from Virginia. “We have seen firsthand the incredible toll that gaps in the federal background check system have on public safety, and we live with the personal toll every single day of our lives.”

The mayors’ group also ran TV ads last week, pressing the three senators, and several others, to support the bill. In the House, meanwhile, three Virginia representatives have circulated a letter seeking co-sponsors for their pending Gun Show Loophole Closing Act.

Before any more tragedies happen, lawmakers need to stop listening to the gun lobby and start listening to their constituents. Mr. Udall? Mr. Warner? Mr. Webb?

After years of inaction in Washington, people from all across the country are coming together to push for common sense gun laws, and we’re closer than ever to reaching our goal.

Today’s editorial is right: Now is the time for our elected officials to act. But to get the votes we need, it’s going to take more people, more energy, and more voices raised together.

Help us reach 50,000 signatures to Close the Gun Show Loophole:

Thanks for all you’re doing,
Mayors Against Illegal Guns

The Gun Show Loophole

Did you know that if gun dealers call themselves “private sellers” at gun shows, they can ignore the law and sell their guns to anyone — no background check, no records made, no questions asked?

It’s called The Gun Show Loophole, and it’s how violent criminals get their hands on guns.

Join me in calling on Congress to close the Gun Show Loophole and require criminal background checks every time a gun is sold.

It’s time to close the loophole and protect innocent Americans from gun violence.

Sign The Petition. Close The Loophole.

Background Checks for all sales at Gun Shows.

See more regional ads
Massachusetts (Sen. Scott Brown)| Ohio (Sen. George Voinovich) | Maine (Sen. Olympia Snowe and Sen. Susan Collins) | Colorado (Sen. Mark Udall) |Virginia (Sen. Mark Warner and Sen. Jim Webb)

Dear Family of Peace
Too many innocent people & children are victims of tragic shootings.
Let’s stop criminals getting guns.
Yoko Ono Lennon

April 20th, 1999: Columbine High School





About the Gun Show Loophole

The Gun Show Loophole is a serious gap in our nation’s gun laws, which allows individuals to buy guns without passing a background check. Over the years, this loophole has resulted in countless tragic shootings — including the one at Columbine High School and the recent shooting of Pentagon police officers.

As concerned citizens, we stand with over 500 mayors from all across America in asking Congress to step up and close the Gun Show Loophole.

It is critical that criminal background checks are conducted on all purchasers at gun shows — including people who buy from private sellers.

As we commemorate the tragedies at Columbine and Virginia Tech, we are reminded that legislative action is long overdue.

More and more innocent victims of gun violence are hurt or killed every day. It’s time for Congress to take action and close the Gun Show Loophole.

Undercover Videos

A recent multi-state undercover investigation of private sellers at gun shows demonstrates just how easy it is for criminals to take advantage of the Gun Show Loophole. The investigation of 7 gun shows in 3 states involved undercover buys from 47 gun sellers using hidden cameras.

Watch hidden camera videos from the investigation to see how easy it is for criminals to take advantage of the Gun Show Loophole:

To learn more about the investigation, visit

The investigation found:

  • Private sellers illegally engaged in the business: The investigation found private sellers were selling numerous guns, admitted to frequenting many gun shows, and some even had employees. These private sellers were apparently engaged in the business of selling guns while avoiding the requirement to perform background checks.
  • Gun sales to people who may not be able to pass a background check: Even though private dealers are not required to perform background checks, they cannot sell to someone who they have reason to believe is prohibited from buying guns. 19 of 30 private sellers – 63% – broke the law by completing a sale to a buyer who they thought could not pass a background check.
  • Straw Sales: Licensed dealers cannot allow someone to fill out the paperwork and undergo a background check if the dealer knows the person is not the actual buyer of the gun. This is a “straw sale” and it is a federal felony. 16 of 17 – 94% – of licensed dealers were willing to sell to someone who appeared to be a straw purchaser, in violation of federal law.

More Information

What is the Gun Show Loophole?
There are two types of gun sales in the U.S. – licensed, regulated sales, and private, unregulated sales.

Responsibilities of Licensed Sellers: Dealers engaged in the business of selling guns must have a federal firearms license (FFL) and they must run the names of buyers through the National Instant Background Check System (NICS) to make sure that the person is not a convicted felon, domestic violence offender, mentally unstable, or other another type of prohibited purchaser. FFLs must keep records so that if the gun is later found at a crime scene, law enforcement can trace it to the buyer.

Responsibilities of Private Sellers: People who say they are hobbyists or collectors and claim to make only occasional sales can sell firearms without a license. Unlike licensed sellers, federal law does not require these private sellers to conduct background checks on buyers or retain sales records.

The Problem: “Gun Show Loophole” refers to the fact that current federal law allows private sellers to sell firearms without conducting background checks or keeping sales records. This loophole gives criminals and gun traffickers an easy source of guns. While private sellers are exempted from running background checks no matter where they make the sale, this loophole is associated with gun shows because they are the largest and most central marketplace where these private sellers can easily connect with purchasers who wish to avoid detection.

Click here to download a fact sheet about the Gun Show Loophole.

Key Facts About the Gun Show Loophole:

  • According to Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), 30% of illegally trafficked guns are connected to gun shows. 1
  • An undercover investigation of private sellers at gun shows found that 63% of private sellers broke the law by selling to people who they thought could not pass a background check. 2
  • States that have not closed the Gun Show Loophole export guns involved in interstate trafficking at twice the rate of states that require background checks by private sellers at gun shows. 3

Who Supports Closing the Gun Show Loophole?

  • The Public: 87% of Americans support closing the Gun Show Loophole.4
  • Gun Owners and NRA Members: 85% of gun owners and 69% of National Rifle Association (NRA) members agree with closing the Gun Show Loophole.5
  • Mayors Against Illegal Guns: More than 500 members of Mayors Against Illegal Guns have called on Congress to close the Gun Show Loophole. Read the coalition’s letter to Congress.


1- U.S. Department of Treasury, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Following the Gun: Enforcing Federal Law Against Firearms Traffickers (2000)
3- The Movement of Illegal Guns in America, Mayors Against Illegal Guns Report, December 2008,
4- 2008 Greenberg, Quinlan, Rosner Poll
5- December 2009 poll by Republican pollster Frank Luntz. Download PDF


In 2009, murders of police officers including guns increased by 26%

85% of gun owners support closing the Loophole.

63% of private sellers sold guns to people even when they said they couldn’t pass a background check.

According to ATF, 30% of illegally trafficked guns are connected to gun shows.