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The White House is in the midst of deciding whether or not an app should be used to facilitate background checks for gun buyers.
According to CNN, the app would be directly connected to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) and would be used to do checks on anyone making private sales. The checks would not apply to purchases made through commercial dealers.
The plan is one of several devised by those on Capitol Hill and in the White House and reflects the ongoing effort to curb gun violence across the nation. Trump has been under immense pressure to clarify his stance on gun control measures but continues to decline to offer specific information.
Currently, a bipartisan measure on expanded background checks, proposed by Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), is on the table, but it is unclear whether or not it will be supported by Trump. What is clear, however, is that Trump is also facing pressure from the National Rifle Association (NRA) to decline the expanded background check proposal, despite the mass gun violence America uniquely faces.
In a span of one weekend in August, a combined 31 lives were claimed in two separate mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. And that wasn’t even the most recent mass shooting in the U.S. A few weeks after that, another seven lives were claimed in Odessa and Midland, Texas. Overall, 53 people died in mass shootings in August alone.
As of right now, private sales are not forced to undergo federally mandated background checks–and many see this as a gun purchasing loophole. Gun rights activists have already begun to raise concerns about possible security breaches that may be a threat if an app is adopted to do background checks.
“This proposal reveals one important fact from the White House: they recognize the problem of the private sale loophole that allows 20 percent of guns to be sold with no background check at all. … We agree the private sale loophole must be fixed, but it should be fixed in a way that allows meaningful enforcement, not easy circumvention that endangers lives,” Kris Brown, the president of a gun violence prevention advocacy group, told CNN.
There are other measures currently in consideration. Some include plans to allow minors’ records to be included in the background check database, alerts for local authorities when someone fails a background check, and applying bigger penalties to those who buy guns.
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Tiffanie Drayton is a geek culture and lifestyle reporter whose work covers everything from gender and race to anime and Xbox. Her work has appeared in Complex, Salon, Marie Claire, Playboy, and elsewhere.