The Hill | The Hill: A candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination is using his position to push for stricter gun control, and gun control advocates are taking note.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is pushing a bill to expand background checks to online gun sales and for universal background checks for gun transfers.
The bill, which was introduced Thursday, calls for universal, criminal background checks that would include background checks on all gun sales.
But Sanders’s bill does not apply to gun shows, online sales, private transfers or purchases from private sellers.
In addition, Sanders’s proposal would ban all sales of firearms to felons, domestic abusers and those with severe mental illness.
In a statement, Sanders said, “This commonsense gun safety measure would help prevent mass shootings.
It also allows our law enforcement agencies to enforce the law, keep the public safe and stop criminals from obtaining firearms.”
He also said the bill would allow the federal government to spend $20 billion a year to fund gun safety and training.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.
Va.), would also ban “federal, state or local governments from imposing or enforcing gun control laws that are in direct conflict with the Second Amendment.”
In the wake of the December attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., that left 20 children and six educators dead, the gun control advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety has urged Sanders to push the proposal as an amendment to the Senate’s health care bill.
Sanders, a senator from Vermont, is the second Democrat to introduce a gun control measure, after Sen. Chris Murphy (D) introduced a measure in the Senate in June.
Murphy said Sanders was working on a new measure.
Sanders’s proposal is expected to face a difficult road in the Republican-led Congress.
Many Republican senators are on record in opposition to background checks.
A number of other Republicans have said they want to see more data collected on gun purchases before any universal background check system is implemented.
On Wednesday, Sanders introduced a proposal that would expand background check requirements to private gun sales to prevent gun traffickers from selling firearms to people with criminal records or mental illness, which is currently prohibited.
The plan also would expand gun background checks at gun shows.
The White House has said President Barack Obama supports expanded background checks, but is concerned that the current system isn’t adequate.