WHEREAS:  In 2013, more than 33,000 Americans were killed by guns and almost 90% of the gun homicide deaths involved handguns;

WHEREAS: A proven and effective tool to prevent gun violence is to require handgun purchasers to first obtain a license from the police after a background check. Research shows that licensing is a particularly effective way to achieve comprehensive background checks, and also deters illegal straw purchasers.

WHEREAS: Research by top national experts, notably on Missouri and Connecticut, strongly supports the effectiveness of handgun purchaser licensing. Rigorous studies have estimated that Missouri’s repeal of its handgun purchaser licensing law, which, among other things, meant that private sales of handguns no longer required purchasers to undergo a background check, led to a 25% increase in firearm homicide rates while Connecticut’s adoption of its handgun purchaser licensing law led to a 40% decrease in firearm homicide rates. (See;

WHEREAS: National polling shows that 77% of Americans, including 59% of gun owners, support licensing for handgun purchasers and faith and community leaders across the nation support it;

WHEREAS: Handgun purchaser licensing is fully consistent with the 2nd Amendment Right to Bear Arms as defined by the US Supreme Court in the Heller decision. No handgun purchaser licensing law has been successfully challenged in court, including the one most recently enacted in Maryland in 2013 after the Heller decision;

WHEREAS: In states which have had effective handgun purchaser licensing laws requiring background checks for decades, such as Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York, the vast majority of guns traced to crimes originated in other states, which supports the need for handgun purchaser licensing laws in every state; Now Therefore Be It,

RESOLVED: That the undersigned organization endorses handgun purchaser licensing everywhere in America to prevent gun violence and save lives.