Sens. Frank R. Lautenberg of New Jersey and Jack Reed of Rhode Island unveiled their proposal at a Washington news conference, using last April's Virginia Tech shooting in which 32 students and teachers were killed, to strengthen their case, the Los Angeles Times said.
A similar proposal to change state law failed in Virginia.
"It defies common sense that a loophole in federal law lets unlicensed dealers sell firearms at gun shows without running a background check on the buyer," Lautenberg said. "Our legislation would require background checks for every gun purchased at every gun show across America. Without this change in the law, felons, fugitives and severely mentally ill people will continue to be able to buy guns -- no questions asked."
As it now stands, only federally licensed gun dealers, such as those at sporting goods retailers or gun shops, are required to conduct background checks.