Jaime’s Law Reintroduced in Congress to Require Ammunition Background Checks

House and Senate sponsors held virtual event to discuss need for and impact of proposed law.

April 20, 2021

Washington, DC — Today, Representative Lucy McBath (GA-06) joined Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23), Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Ted Deutch (FL-22) for a virtual press conference announcing the reintroduction of the Ammunition Background Check Act of 2021, also known as Jaime’s Law. This common-sense, bicameral piece of legislation would require instant background checks to prevent individuals from illegally purchasing ammunition. Full video of the press conference is available here.

Jaime’s Law is named in honor of Jaime Guttenberg, one of 17 victims in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018. Key sponsors of the legislation, Representatives Ted Deutch (FL-22) and Joe Neguse (CO-02), are also slated to attend. Each have had constituents impacted by mass shootings. Jaime’s father, Fred Guttenberg, will also attend the press conference, as will Brady United President Kristin Brown.

“Since my son Jordan was killed and long before I was a Member of Congress, I’ve been working as a survivor and an advocate to pass common-sense legislation that will save American lives. My work is deeply rooted in the fight to prevent the violence and heartbreak that forever changes communities, devastates the families, and took my only son,” said McBath. “We know that universal background checks on all gun sales will save lives, and continuing to ensure that everyone who buys ammunition must also pass a background check keeps us all much safer. It is another piece of common-sense legislation that will prevent families from knowing the pain of losing a loved one to gun violence. Jaime’s law is for families like mine, for families like the Guttenbergs, and for families across the country who are terrified that one day they’re going to send their children off to school and never see them come home.”

“To impose background checks on purchases of ammunition is really the epitome of common sense. It’s the reason why six states, including Connecticut, have imposed such life-saving background checks,” said Blumenthal. “There is no infringement on the Second Amendment, and there’s no inconvenience involved. The purchase of ammunition is seamless and quick for people who are law abiding. The point is to keep ammunition, as well as guns, out of the hands of people who are dangerous to themselves or others. We are inspired to work to pass Jaime’s Law and to make it the law of the land.”

“No person should endure the agonizing pain of losing someone they love to gun violence. Families in towns and cities across the country who have been touched by this agonizing epidemic are joining Fred Guttenberg and other gun safety advocates to demand Congress address this public health crisis,” said Wasserman Schultz.“Jaime’s Law is a crucial piece of the multifaceted approach needed to end the gun violence epidemic. Closing the ammunition loophole and requiring background checks for ammunition purchases can save lives.”

“My daughter Jaime was murdered over 3 years ago. Since then, our failure to address the reality of gun violence has only become more challenging as we see more instances of gun violence. The gun surge unleashed during the pandemic has resulted in over 400,000,000 weapons on our streets,” said Fred Guttenberg, founder of Orange Ribbons For Jaime. “Unfortunately, as we are seeing every day now, many in the hands of someone who intends harm and wants to kill. The way to deal with this reality is to pass Jaime’s law and extend background checks to ammunition. The reality of gun violence in America will not fix itself. We need this life saving legislation or we will continue to face our current daily reality of gun violence and loss of life. We are better than this. THE TIME IS NOW!!! Let’s save lives together and pass Jaime’s Law.”

“I am proud to stand with my friends Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz and Fred Guttenberg every day to demand action that will save lives in honor of Fred’s daughter Jaime. It is simply outrageous that it is illegal for some people to possess or purchase guns and ammunition, but we only run background checks on guns,” said Deutch. “Every time someone buys a bullet is an opportunity for law enforcement to check that those bullets aren’t going to end up in the headlines the next morning because of another mass shooting, another intimate partner murder, another suicide, another of the 40,000 gun violence tragedies in this country every year. We need to fix our gun laws. And the time is now.”

“No parent should endure the pain of losing a child, as Fred has, to gun violence. No community should have to experience the tragedy and anguish of a mass shooting. Inaction on gun violence prevention is not an option,” said Neguse. “We must act, we have to. I’m proud to join Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz and Senator Blumenthal to unveil Jaime’s Act today, a common-sense bicameral measure that will help us save lives. Ammunition sales should be subject to the same legal requirements that govern firearm sales. It’s pretty simple. This is an important measure that will protect our communities and we must get it done.” 

“It defies logic that we have outlawed the sale of ammunition to prohibited individuals since the 1960s, but do not conduct background checks for ammunition sales,” said Brady President Kris Brown. “This loophole creates a toothless standard where prohibited purchasers can still purchase and amass ammunition, despite being legally barred from doing so. The Ammunition Background Check Act, Jaime’s Law, would fix that glaring flaw. Thank you to Sen. Blumenthal and Rep. Wasserman-Schultz for championing this common-sense bill. And thank you to my friend Fred Guttenberg for continuing to fight for all of our children and families and to create a world free from gun violence.“

Many states – including Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey, California, and New York – have led the way in requiring a background check to obtain a license to purchase or possess ammunition. However, it is clear that gun safety measures save far more lives when they are enacted nationwide, and don’t allow purchasers to evade background checks by crossing state lines, or shopping for lax state regulations.

Various experts point to enforcement of existing ammunition prohibitions as one of the most non-invasive yet effective strategies for curbing gun violence. 

Under current law, certain dangerous individuals are prohibited from purchasing a firearm. However, unlike firearms, federal law does not require a background check to prevent the illegal purchase of bullets. Jaime’s Law would close this loophole by requiring all buyers of ammunition to undergo an instant background check using the FBI National Instant Background Check System (NICS), the same quick and easy process that applies to the purchase of firearms. Participants will discuss these and related issues.