Ruppersberger Supports Bill Requiring Ammunition Background Checks Amid Violent Streak in Baltimore
(Washington, D.C.) – Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (MD-02) today announced his support for federal legislation requiring gun dealers to conduct instant background checks before selling ammunition. Congressman Ruppersberger has signed on as a cosponsor of H.R. 5383, The Ammunition Background Check, which is a bicameral proposal that will simply enforce existing law with no effect on law-abiding gun owners.
Federal law already prevents anyone prohibited from purchasing a firearm – violent felons, domestic abusers and the severely mentally ill – from also purchasing ammunition. But retailers have no way of determining which customers are legally barred from buying ammunition. Criminals who have illegally obtained a firearm can walk out of a store with unlimited rounds of ammunition without even providing their name.
“The NRA has repeatedly requested that we ‘enforce the laws already on the books,’ and that’s exactly what we are trying to do,” Congressman Ruppersberger said. “It takes both guns and bullets to end a life. This is a common sense bill that will close a dangerous loophole, ensuring both stay out of the wrong hands.”
Nearly three-quarters of Americans support the idea, according to a 2016 Morning Consult poll. And one study estimated that universal background checks for ammunition purchases could reduce the national firearm mortality rate by 81 percent.
The announcement comes amid a particularly deadly strike in Baltimore, including four murders and five injuries in the last three days alone. Police suspect some of the bloodshed is a result of warfare between gang members.
“We have gone far too long without action,” Congressman Ruppersberger said. “This bill is one component of what must be a broader strategy to reduce gun violence in America, including mental health treatment, banning bump stocks, high-capacity magazines and assault weapons.”