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US Senators Reintroduce Bill to Expand Background Checks on Gun Sales

© AP Photo / Charles Krupa, File)In this April 10, 2013 file photo, newly made AR-15 rifles stand in a rack at Stag Arms in New Britain, Conn.
In this April 10, 2013 file photo, newly made AR-15 rifles stand in a rack at Stag Arms in New Britain, Conn. - Sputnik International
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - More than 40 US senators reintroduced legislation that would expand federal background checks on all gun sales, Senator Catherine Cortez Masto said in a press release on Tuesday.

"This is an essential first step toward ensuring we reduce the number of mass shootings in America, keep guns out of the hands of criminals, and save lives", Masto, one of the bill co-sponsors said.

Under current US laws, unlicensed or private gun sellers may transfer firearms without background checks. Research on the subject suggests that nearly 25 percent of all gun transfers in the United States happen without a background check.

READ MORE: US Gun Rights Watchdog Might Sue Over Decision to Ban Bump Stocks

The current proposal would expand federal background checks to all firearm transfers, excluding transfers between law enforcement officers, temporary loans, inheritance or gifts to immediate family members, according to the bill.

John Jackson, co-owner of Capitol City Arms Supply shows off an AR-15 assault rifle for sale Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013 at his business in Springfield, Ill. - Sputnik International
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Forty-one Democratic senators co-sponsored the bill, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Dick Durbin, Richard Blumenthal, and Dianne Feinstein.

The issue of gun violence in US schools has become an increasing concern in the country following several mass shootings, including one last February at the Stoneman Douglas school in Florida, where a former student killed 17 people.

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