1. S. 2135: Fix NICS Act of 2017
Sponsor(s): Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT)
Purpose of bill: While the bill has been popularly described as a background check bill, Fix NICS (or the National Instant Criminal Background Check System) actually focuses on strengthening the overall background check system. Federal agencies would be liable “if they fail to upload records into the background check system,” which many believe was a problem seen with the Sunderland Springs shooting.
2. Manchin-Toomey Background Checks Proposal
Sponsor(s): Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA)
Purpose of bill: The Manchin-Toomey bill was first introduced in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting, according to the Washington Post. However, it was mentioned during one of President Trump’s listening sessions on gun control in late February where Manchin pointed out the bill has been vetted for five years. Since then, CNN has reported that Manchin believes President Trump would sign the bill.
The bill includes expanding background checks to gun shows and Internet sales, directing grant money to states for expanding NICS, and reducing federal funds to states that didn’t comply. The bill also calls for a “creation of a commission to study the causes of violence, including mental health, guns, school safety, and portrayals of violence in the media.”
According to The Atlantic, the U.S. Center for Disease Control is currently unable to pursue gun violence research due to the Dickey Amendment.
3. Age 21 Act
Sponsor(s): Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ)
Purpose of bill: The Age 21 Act would change the minimum purchase age for AR-15s, AR-47s, and other assault weapons from 18 to 21.
On March 7, the Florida House of Representatives voted to pass a bill with similar provisions, Time reported. The state bill would raise the minimum age for purchasing a firearm from 18 to 21, and would create a waiting period on weapon sales, ostensibly to help run more thorough background checks. The bill also aims to arm some teachers with guns, which many educators have denounced as an ineffective response to gun violence in schools. The NRA has filed a lawsuit against the state for the bill. Advocacy group Gays Against Guns has also condemned the bill, which Governor Rick Scott signed into law on March 9, calling it “a dishonest compromise which, at its core, contains an unacceptable and dangerous concession to the NRA and gun lobby: the arming of school staff.”
4. S. 2095: Assault Weapons Ban of 2017
Sponsor(s): Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
Purpose of bill: The bill would amend “the federal code to make it a crime to knowingly import, sell, manufacture, transfer, or possess a semiautomatic assault weapon (SAW) or large capacity ammunition feeding device (LCAFD).”
NBC notes that the bill is a follow-up to 1994’s Federal Assault Weapons Ban, a bill for which Feinstein is often credited as being the “architect,”. Some of the criticisms of the ‘94 bill lacking specificity would be addressed in this 2017 version, with specific assault weapon models being listed in the bill’s language.
5. S. 1916: Automatic Gunfire Prevention Act
Sponsor(s): Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
Purpose of bill: The Automatic Gunfire Prevention Act bill was introduced by Feinstein in October in the immediate aftermath of the Las Vegas shooting with the intention of banning bump stocks, ABC News reported. The bill would “ban the sale, transfer, importation, manufacture or possession of bump
stocks, trigger cranks and similar accessories that accelerate a semi-automatic rifle’s rate of fire.”
6. S. 2009: Background Check Expansion Act
Sponsor(s): Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT)
Purpose of bill: Murphy’s bill would “require background checks for the sale or transfer of all firearms from one private party (i.e. a person who is not federally licensed) to another.” The bill would also “expand federal background checks to the sale or transfer of all firearms by private sellers, with certain reasonable exceptions.” Currently, private and unlicensed sellers are not required by federal law to do background checks.
Murphy has stated he doesn’t believe his bill will pass. As reported by the Connecticut Mirror, Murphy introduced the bill with stricter measures as a way to encourage Republicans to negotiate the terms.