Jan. 14, 2013 CNN
The "universal background checks" now being pushed by some gun control supporters is code for closing federal loopholes on such checks at gun shows and other private sales.
U.S. law requires background checks for all people who try to buy firearms from federally licensed dealers. But federal law does not require background checks for "private transactions," like sales at gun shows. Many states have their own statutes requiring such checks for private sales.
The issue has risen high in the national conversation after the shock ignited by December's mass shooting of six adults and 20 children at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.
Expanded background checks now enjoy the support of mayors in some of the largest cities in America. The idea has been embraced bygun violence survivor Gabrielle Giffords, a self-described gun owner. It's also being considered for possible legislation by a White House task force led by Vice President Joe Biden. The task force is expected to include universal background checks as part of its recommended legislation.