Calls for expanded background checks grow, but checked guns traced back to crimes across U.S., records show

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- In the aftermath of last weekend's massacres in El Paso and Dayton, a number of lawmakers have renewed their calls for expanded background checks for gun purchases.

That includes U.S. Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., who renewed his call Tuesday.

“What we can do and can do quickly is to pass this legislation,” he said. “It's not going to answer all of it, it may only answer a small part. We don't know. But we do know it will save lives. And it will start to make it harder and harder for people who are the most dangerous to obtain weapons."

King's bill would prohibit, 'a firearm transfer between private parties unless a licensed gun dealer, manufacturer, or importer first takes possession of the firearm to conduct a background check.'

[Click here to read the ATF's recorded list of Firearms Sourced and Recovered in the United States and Territories]

That bill and another House-passed measure that would extend the current background check period from three days to ten days, have not been taken up by the U.S. Senate.

Supporters contend tighter background checks would improve public safety, but ATF figures show even lawfully purchased guns, with background checks, are being used in crimes around the country.

Alabama was 10th per capita in 2017in guns found at crime scenes traced by the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms.

Figures show guns from Alabama were recovered after crimes all over the country in 2017. From a pool of more than 5,000 weapons traced by the ATF from crime scenes back to the original owner, many Alabama guns traveled primarily among Alabama's neighboring states Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee. Others traveled as far as California, New York, Illinois, and Texas.

Recently in Alabama, federal investigators found a surprising problem.

For about three years, residents in Alabama who had a concealed carry permit were allowed under federal law to skip the background check process when purchasing a firearm. That privilege was revoked last month after federal investigators found Alabama sheriff’s who issued the permits had also given them, in some cases, to convicted felons and others that would be barred from ownership by federal law.

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