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Background checks on private gun sales could be coming
By Amy Cherry/Mellany Armstrong

Updated Thursday, March 7, 2013 - 8:12am

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Governor Markell explains the legislation that would require background checks on private gun sales.

Governor Markell gets behind legislation that expands background screenings for private gun sales as part of the package of gun reforms he rolled out after the Sandy Hook school shooting.
WDEL's Amy Cherry reports.

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"What this is about is reducing the carnage in our communities."

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That's why state Homeland Security Secretary Lew Schiliro says background checks are necessary for private gun sales, closing a well-known loophole.

"It is about looking for ways that will improve our ability to keep firearms out of the hands of those who simply should not have access to weapons that are capable of causing irreparable harm," says Schiliro.

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Current law only requires a background check from licensed gun dealers.

"There's no reason to require a background check when a dealer sells a gun, but not when everybody else does. It puts our citizens at risk," says Markell.

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Former Congressman Mike Castle has believed in this cause long before many did. He says this legislation won't solve all the problems, but it certainly will help.

"Now people are going online, they're getting guns; they're getting high-level ammunition, that kind of thing online, and it's become a bit of a different problem," says Castle.

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Bob Miller of Miller's Gun Center in New Castle says he supports the bill.

"My brother and I are very much in support of a universal background check. My family has been in the business for 54 years. We're looking for legislation that works," says Miller.

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The law, however, stops short of being a universal background check law because it excludes gun sales between immediate family members, law enforcement, and the sales of antique guns.

But Miller hopes to see this loophole closed since he's long been advising his customers not to get nabbed by it.

"We advise people everyday, if you're going to transfer a firearm to someone, even if you know them, it may be a coworker, it may be a neighbor, it's within your best interest to have it transferred to a licensed dealer to protect yourself, and so you know the person you're delivering the firearm too is not a prohibited person," says Miller.

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The legislation is sponsored by House Majority Leader Val Longhurst, who's expecting opposition.

"The NRA is not 100-percent behind it, but what I can tell you is we do have 3,500 people in the last six years that were declined guns."

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