US police chiefs call for background checks in all gun sales

US police chiefs ask for expansion of background checks for all gun sales, saying proliferation of firearms leading to rise in homicide rate

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

An exhibit booth for firearms manufacturer Smith & Wesson is seen on display at the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in Chicago, Illinois, October 26, 2015.

US police chiefs on Monday called for background checks in all gun purchases.

At a conference of the International Association of Chiefs of Police in Chicago, senior law enforcement officers said the spread of firearms is playing an important role in the increasing US homicide rate.

“This is a no-brainer, this is the simplest thing in the world," Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said in the meeting.

Licensed gun dealers have to run background checks before making sales but people can buy firearms from other individuals or gun shows without any checks. About 40 percent of the gun sales in the US are done without background checks.

Police chiefs said that most Americans support universal background checks and urged Congress to act.

According to a poll by Pew Research Center, 85 percent of US citizens favour the expansion of background checks in gun sales.

Despite strong advice by President Barack Obama for several years, the US Congress has not passed legislation for stricter gun controls, thanks mostly to the lobbying efforts of the National Rifle Association, a pro-gun organisation with about 5 million members across the country.

After a gunman killed nine people at a community college in Oregon on Oct. 1, Obama again urged for stricter gun control laws, saying he is giving his 15th speech on gun violence.

"Each time this happens, I am going to say that we can actually do something about it but we’re going to have to change our laws. And this is not something I can do by myself," Obama said.


According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 280,000 people were killed by firearms between 2005 and 2013.

"We are the only advanced country in the world that sees these mass shootings every few months," Obama said.

The US ranks as number one country for gun ownership in the world, with 270 million guns owned by about 320 million US residents.

TRTWorld and agencies