What is a "universal" background check?

Monday, January 21, 2013 - 6:43pm

Since President Obama made his announcement Wednesday, asking for universal background checks on all gun sales, universal background check has become a catchphrase. But what exactly is a universal background check?

Simply speaking, the universal background check would make it mandatory for anybody buying a gun to have criminal history checked through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, as it is official known.

Currently, gun shows and private sales and gifts don't require background checks, only buying guns at licensed dealers require one. The universal check would close loopholes allowing people to buy guns without a background check.

When in general, people support background checks, one local gun store owner wonders who will run criminal history for private sales; and who will pay for the extra paperwork in doing so. He worries that it will be him doing both of those.

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