Should the United States have universal background checks on gun sales?

Screenshot from MSNBC's YouTube video: Background Checks Have Wide Approval: Congressman Chris Murphy | Morning Joe | MSNBC

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Recently, Senator Chris Murphy, along with Senator Richard Blumenthal and others,  introduced a bill in the Senate to strengthen the background check laws for gun sales in this country. The law would require that private sales of guns, such as the ones that take place at gun shows and online, would require background checks. However, you would not have to get one if you are giving a gun to a family member or loaning one to a friend for use on, say, a hunting trip. Both Senators Murphy and Blumenthal are Democrats and represent the state of Connecticut where the tragic Sandy Hook elementary school shooting took place. Their bill raises the question: Should we have universal background checks on gun sales?

Those who are in favor of the universal background checks feel that background checks save lives. They feel that by having a background check, criminals and people who are mentally unstable will not be able to acquire guns. They say that there are polls out there showing that over 90 percent of the country favor background checks, so Congress should act and make them required. People feel that the amount of gun violence in this country is a danger to our society, and background checks are a necessary first step in stopping the violence.

People against universal background checks argue that they just don’t work. They feel that criminals will find a way to get their hands on a gun if they want one badly enough and a background check will not stop that. They contend that, to make background checks even have a chance of working, you will have to make a firearm registry, and that is illegal. Finally, many people do not trust the federal government and, if background checks are made universal, then that is giving the government even more power.

The amount of gun violence in this country is horrific. People are killed or wounded every day. We, as a society, must find a way to, if not stop it, then at least reduce it in some way. Would universal background checks help with that?

Here is Senator Chris Murphy on Morning Joe talking about background checks and other gun laws after the Las Vegas shooting:

The Issue

Should the United States have universal background checks on all gun sales? Would background checks save lives, or would they be a first step to an illegal federal firearm registry?

In support of universal background checks

People who support universal background checks on gun sales say that they will save lives. They feel that it will be a huge help in keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and people who are mentally unstable.

In opposition to universal background checks

People who are against the background checks say that they are fundamentally illegal. They feel that, to have them, a firearm registry would have to be made, and that is giving way too much power to the government.

Do you support or oppose universal background checks on gun sales?

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