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3 Senate Democrats reintroduce gun control bill that would require people to get a federal firearm license to procure a gun

JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

A trio of Democratic senators has reintroduced legislation that would require people to get a federal license in order to buy or receive a gun.

Would-be gun owners would have to jump though several hoops while seeking the license, including "a written test," "hands-on testing," and "a background investigation and criminal history check," according to the bill's text. People would also need to supply "proof of identity," as well as their fingerprints, information about the gun they aim to acquire, and the identity of the entity selling or transferring the weapon.

The proposal would allow an exception to the federal license requirement for people in a state that has a similar licensing system in place.

Sens. Cory Booker and Bob Menendez of New Jersey and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut are pushing the Federal Firearm Licensing Act, which was previously introduced in 2019 but failed to go anywhere.

"The Federal Firearms Licensing Act would put in place a certification process that includes firearm safety training and a thorough criminal background and identity check requiring the licensee be 21 years of age," Menendez said, according to a press release. "We have a moral obligation to prevent these senseless massacres in our schools, supermarkets, places of worship and shopping malls that are tearing communities and families apart. It is my hope that my Republican colleagues will once-and-for-all recognize the urgency of action and join us in passing this legislation before more lives are senselessly lost to gun violence."

"We need to adopt proven, common-sense measures that will address the scourge of gun violence and make our communities safer," Booker said. "This bill moves us in the right direction and is based on a simple concept - if you need a license to drive a car, you should need one to buy and possess a gun."

"This legislation will save lives and protect communities across the United States from the devastating impact of gun violence," Blumenthal said.

The proposal highlights an ongoing national debate between gun control proponents and gun rights advocates.

Responding to a tweet from The Hill about the proposed legislation, Andrew Wilkow commented, "That would literally be 'infringement'."

The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states, "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

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