Police chiefs across the nation are fighting for universal background checks for anyone trying to purchase a gun, saying that most Americans support stricter gun sale measures.
More than 14,000 public safety officers met Oct. 24-27 at the International Association of Chiefs of Police Annual Conference in Chicago, where senior law enforcement officials agreed that enforcing universal background checks would keep guns out of dangerous hands, particularly people with criminal backgrounds, Al Jazeera reports.
Federally licensed firearm dealers must follow current background check rules, but approximately 40 percent of sales come from private parties or gun shows that do not require those checks, according to the chiefs.
McCarthy and his fellow officers are calling to expand background checks so that they cover all purchases, notes Reuters. They are also fighting for a stronger background check system, so that all agencies have the same records, including criminal and mental health backgrounds.
"This is a no-brainer, this is the simplest thing in the world," Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said. "It troubles me all the time."
McCarthy found himself passionate about gun control after working for four years in Chicago, a city with more shootings and killings than other comparable metropolitan areas such as New York and Los Angeles, where police seize illegal guns much more often.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that there were roughly 464,033 gun deaths between 1999 and 2013, notes Al Jazeera.. Approximately 45 percent of those were homicides and 55 percent were suicides.
A recent Pew Research poll found that 85 percent of Americans supported expanded background checks. The National Rifle Association and pro-gun groups argue that background checks infringe on Second Amendment rights of bearing arms, Reuters reports.
Several organizations have backed the gun control effort, including the Major Cities Chiefs Association, campus law enforcement administrators, and groups that advocate for women, Hispanic and African-American law enforcement executives and police chiefs.
"We took on the tobacco industry years ago," McCarthy said. "We're not going to give up, it's the most obvious thing in the world what we have to do in this country. I have more faith in America."